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Network for Research on Drones and Aesthetics

There are civilian drones employed for rescue, aerial photography, transport, crowd monitoring, and leisure activity as well as military drones used for targeted killings and surveillance. Currently, civilian and military drones get a lot of attention in public and academic debates. Whereas military drone strikes are frequently criticized for being ethically controversial, there is often broad consensus that civilian drones are beneficial for society. The Danish government, for example, proclaimed civilian drones a national strategy in 2016. Accordingly, many research institutions as well as the industry focus on their development, usage, and promotion. These efforts often prioritize commercialization, engineering, as well as setting-up UAV (Unmanned Arial Vehicle) test centers. As a result, questions regarding how drone technology impacts our identity as humans, what emotions drones are associated with, as well as their effects on how we envision the human community are frequently underexposed in these research initiatives. Our network aims to change this perspective and shed light on civilian and military drone technology from a humanities’ point of view by investigating aesthetic representations of drones in visual arts, film, and literature. This aesthetic “drone imaginary” forms not only the empirical material of our study but also a prism of knowledge which provides unique and new insights about the meaning of drone technology for the human community.

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