On Drones

What does Francis Fukuyama do after the end of history? In his leisure hours, he puts together little drones in his garage and then proudly exhibits them on his blog. He is part of an rapidly developing subculture: that of the homemade drone. Following in the footsteps of the model enthusiasts of the 1960s, there today exists a whole little community of amateurs who buy or construct drones at the cost of a few hundred dollars. With their microcameras on board, these machines make it possible to produce unofficial little films, some of which are strikingly beautiful. I am thinking in particular of a flight over New York in which, once over the Brooklyn Bridge, the camera scans the facades of the skyline, ending up by gliding past the flame on the Statue of Liberty. Proof enough of the validity of Walter Benjamin’s thesis that technology, today used for death-dealing purposes, may eventually recover its emancipating potential and readopt the playful and aesthetic aspirations that secretly inspire it.

Grégoire Chamayou "Theorizing the Drone," - http://wp.me/p4KhvY-4me

Longreads blog posted this interesting excerpt of four chapters from Chamayou's book A Theory of the Drone. The article contrasts the logic of the kamikaze and drone as follows: "The drone and the kamikaze stand in contrast as two opposed forms of moral sensibility, two forms of ethos that reflect each other but are each other’s antithesis and nightmare." And yes, Francis Fukuyama really is a drone hobbyist - http://on.ft.com/1EG4PyU. For another take on critical aesthetics of drone practices, the National Gallery Victoria in Melbourne, was displaying the "Untitled (Drone)" series by Trevor Paglen. The works can be seen on his website here, but really need to be seen in person to appreciate their scale.