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Volume 71, issue 4
Geogr. Helv., 71, 319-329, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-71-319-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Power and space in the drone age

Geogr. Helv., 71, 319-329, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-71-319-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Standard article 18 Nov 2016

Standard article | 18 Nov 2016

Making the drone strange: the politics, aesthetics and surrealism of levitation

Peter Adey Peter Adey
  • Royal Holloway University of London, Surrey, TW20 0EX, UK

Abstract. In this paper I decentre the drone from a different kind of vertical figure that has its own prehistory and parallel history of being aloft and particular sets of aesthetic geographies we might productively deploy to reorder what we think about drones, and especially the human's place in or outside of them. The paper explores in what ways we might examine the drone from other points of view that are technical and political, but also theological, magical, artistic and aesthetic. The prehistoric or parallel aerial figure to be considered is the levitator, the subject or thing that floats without any attributable mechanical force, visible or physical energy source. The paper draws on notions of aesthetics and politics in order for the levitator not to be compared with the drone, but to enable its very different visual and aesthetic regimes to begin to redistribute quite a different set of drone geographies that are ambiguous, mystical, gendered and sexed.

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The paper explores in what ways we might examine the drone from other points of view that are technical and political, but also theological, magical, artistic and aesthetic. The paper draws on notions of aesthetics and politics, not in order to compare the drone with other flying figures and objects, but to enable very different visual and aesthetic regimes to begin to help us see a whole new set of invisible relations, from gender to sexuality, within which the drone is caught.
The paper explores in what ways we might examine the drone from other points of view that are...
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