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A techno-bestiary of drones in art and war
Claudette Lauzon

If the advent of the drone wars in the early twenty-first century was largely accompanied by narratives of virtuality and disembodiment, recent years have witnessed a renewed attention to the human dimensions of drone warfare – from Hollywood’s fascination with the lived experience of UAV pilots to theoretical examinations of the agential capacities of the drone. But what are the stakes of such representational strategies in a context that arguably relies on the dehumanization of drone targets and victims? This chapter draws on feminist theory and critical posthumanism to explore both the objectification of human subjects in contemporary warfare and the anthropomorphisation of the drone in popular culture. In conversation with a series of recent artworks, the chapter examine the figure of the drone through three rhetorical filters – the swarm, the blob and the corpse. Together, these filters help to elucidate an aesthetics of estrangement that might paradoxically cultivate a praxis of solidarity and care among the ‘stranger things’ of drone warfare.

in Drone imaginaries