Tech Forum #1: Drones, Cities and Futuring
Workshop with Ole B. Jensen and Paul Cureton, who discuss the use of drones in urban planning. This workshop is a public event and will be held on zoom.
February 26, 2021 14:00-16:00 (Central European time) on Zoom.
Thinking with the Drone: Visual Lessons in Aerial and Volumetric Thinking
The first of today's talks was by urban scholar Ole B. Jensen. It was titled "Thinking with the Drone: Visual Lessons in Aerial and Volumetric thinking." Jensen's talk centered on urban geographies in the context of emerging civilian drone technologies. Jensen's central idea is about what he terms a "volumetric" addition to traditional political geograhies, which have been too concerned with horizontal abstractions only. Maps are flat representations of urban space, but the urban reality is obviously not a "flatland". Thinking with drones has widespread architectural ramifications, Jensen argues, pleading to re-imagine urban space through 3D ontologies that imply voluminous concepts of dynamism, vertically and mobility. In conclusion to his talk, Jensen asks us to consider if thinking with drones and visualizing our planet through its technical apparatus might prompt public engagement with important climate change issues.
Senior Lecturer in Design Paul Cureton's talk "Drone Futuring: A Critical Investigation of Speculative Frameworks" likewise tackled the question of how urban space might be reimagined beginning from contemporary drone technology. But while we might like to think that drones are the cutting edge of contemporary technological innovation, Cureton reminds us that history is replete with pre-drone technologies and aerial imaginaries. Where people once saw UFOs, now every flying object appears to be a drone. In this way, history teaches us that fictional narratives have actual consequences. The famous Back to the Future hoverboard is an example of how powerful a speculative image of the future might be in capturing our imagination and driving innovation. Towards the end of his talk, Cureton cautions that we keep policies apace with technological development before we rush head-on into the drone future.