Drone imaginaries

The power of remote vision

Edited by Andreas Immanuel Graae and Kathrin Maurer

Drone imaginaries


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4593-2
  • Pages: 256
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £90.00
  • Published Date: June 2021
  • BIC Category: Society & social sciences / Cultural studies, POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies, Literature & literary studies / General, Society & social sciences / Warfare & defence, Society & social sciences / Media studies, Cultural Studies, Cultural studies, ART / History / General


There should no longer be any doubt: drones are here to stay. In civil society, they are used for rescue, surveillance, transport and leisure. And on the battlefield, their promises of remote protection and surgical precision have radically changed the way wars are fought. But what impact are drones having on our identity, and how are they affecting the communities around us?

This book addresses these questions by investigating the representation of civilian and military drones in visual arts, literature, and architecture. What emerges, the contributors argue, is a compelling new aesthetic: 'drone imaginary', a prism of cultural and critical knowledge, through which the complex interplay between drone technology and human communities is explored, and from which its historical, cultural and political dimensions can be assessed.

The contributors offer diverse approaches to this interdisciplinary field of aesthetic drone imaginaries. With essays on the aesthetic configurations of drone swarming, historical perspectives on early unmanned aviation, as well as current debates on how drone technology alters the human body and creates new political imaginaries, this book provides new insights to the rapidly evolving field of drone studies. Working across art history, literature, photography, feminism, postcolonialism and cultural studies, Drone imaginaries offers a unique insight into how drones are changing our societies.


Introduction - Andreas Immanuel Graae and Kathrin Maurer

Part I: Visions
1 Flattened vision: Nineteenth-century hot air balloons as early drones - Kathrin Maurer
2 Signature strikes, drone art, and world-making - Thomas Stubblefield
3 The drone of data - Jan Mieszkowski
4 Empathy and the image under surveillance capitalism: Interview with photographer Tomas van Houtryve - Tomas van Houtryve and Svea Braeunert

Part II: Bodies
5 Disappearing, appearing, and reappearing: Imaging the human Body in Drone Warfare - Svea Braeunert
6 The gender politics of the drone - Lauren Wilcox
7 Borders and migration as seen from above - Rasmus Degnbol and Andreas Immanuel Graae

Part III: Communities
8 Swarm of steel: Insects, drones and swarming in Ernst Jünger's The Glass Bees - Andreas Immanuel Graae
9 Artificial intelligence and the socio-technical imaginary: On Skynet, self-healing swarms and Slaughterbots - Jutta Weber
10 Stranger things: A techno-bestiary of drones in art and war - Claudette Lauzon
11 Eyes in the skies: Repellent Fence and trans-indigenous time-space at the US-Mexico border - Caren Kaplan
Coda: The life, death, and rebirth of drone art - Arthur Holland Michel



Andreas Immanuel Graae is Assistant Professor at the Royal Danish Defence College

Kathrin Maurer is Professor of Humanities and Technology at the University of Southern Denmark

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