Looking through a soda straw: mediated vision in remote warfare

The Human Sensorium and its Prostheses: Aesthetic Viewpoints, Aarhus University, Jan 20–22, 2016

Image-guided military operations embed soldiers into a complex system of image production, transmission and perception, that on the one hand separate their bodies from the battlefield, but on the other hand mediates between them. Especially in remote controlled operations of so-called unmanned aerial systems (UAS) the knowledge of a situation in the operation field, so-called “situational awareness,” relies almost exclusively on machine-generated sensor data. In the context of the persuasive power of data, drone strikes have often been refered to as being surgically precise and UAS operators are assigned to an omnipresent god’s eye type of vision. With tho goal to question those popular stereotypes the lecture draws upon the technological conditions of real-time visualization in order to describe the shift in the relationship between body and instrument and between observing and imaging in remote warfare.

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