The Earth Observation Guide

Abstract: Drones or unmanned aerial vehicles have become an omnipresent part of our daily lives, as predators on the battlefield, as quadrocopters in the nursery, in augmented reality games or as the implementation of security doctrines. From thousands of kilometers away or just within a few meters. The innovations in the field of imaging, aeronautic, network and sensor technologies as well as the increased automation and intelligence of machines have unleashed a huge potential for the civil use of drones. Remote-controlled or in autonomous swarms do they serve as counter-surveillance tools or mobile hotspots, deliver defibrillators or detect land-mines. If one takes the concept of a drone – detached from the body, remote controlled, hyper vision/access, aerial and moving – how could drones “take care of things“ and release the archive from its spatial boundaries? Servers in orbit? A cloud in the clouds? Data-mining public space? How can we shape this technology? How does the actual mobilization of mobile devices – the fact that they detach from our bodies – change social practice and cultural techniques? How do the forms of spatial interaction change when weapons, cameras, sensors, servers, etc. start to actually move beyond our hands, desks and pockets?
(Photos 1–5 by Owen Mundy)