The Aesthetics of Drone Warfare is a project generously funded by a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award for 2019-2020, hosted by the University of Sheffield.
Drones have now become commercial and readily available, with innovators promising unprecedented solutions to sectors as wide ranging as agriculture, energy, public safety, and construction. But this multi-billion-dollar industry is founded upon the technology’s origins in a military context, and drone warfare is rapidly redefining the meaning of war, peace, and their temporal and geographical boundaries. This project explores the issues surrounding drone warfare through the prism of aesthetics: aesthetics understood as art, and as the relationship between the body, the self, and the material environment. Combining surveillance with targeting, satellite imaging with ground-level intelligence, drones alter how war is experienced by pilot, target, and spectator.
To examine the impact of this information-based, algorithmic apparatus on the cultural consciousness, this project will bring together writers and artists, museum curators and NGOs, through three engagement events to reflect on the art of drone warfare:
- A public panel featuring leading artists and thinkers about drone warfare
- Film screenings featuring works about drone art and drone warfare, introduced by an expert and followed by post-screening discussions
- An international, interdisciplinary conference held at the Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield
In addition, this website will include blog posts of interviews with artists and writers working on the aesthetics of drone warfare, alongside event recaps and summaries.
Watch this space!