So the wait is finally over, the workshop phase of co_LAB is upon us and we have a great schedule planned for the week. Yesterday saw the event kick off in style, with a brilliant introductory discussion from Dr. Rob Coley (L.S.M) about the aesthetic, cultural and political characteristics of the ‘drone’ – which will represent the focus of student concepts throughout the project. This talk revealed that drone culture goes far beyond military uses of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, drawing attention to a number of ways contemporary society is entangled in a vast, global techno-political network.
Rob also provided some great inspiration for student work, discussing a number of contemporary artists and theorists who have attempted to intervene and engage in this cultural development, including Mckenzie Wark’s notion of ‘vectoral power’, and James Bridle’s recent project, Drone Shadows. By drawing full-scale outlines of a Predator drone in various city locations across the globe, Bridle directly addresses the paradox of invisibility within drone culture, drawing attention to the fact that the operation of drone culture is ‘hidden in plain sight.’
We were also lucky enough to see some drones in action, with Dr. John Murray from School of Social Computing demonstrating a number of U.A.V’s he is involved in developing. He discussed the potential uses of drones, highlighting the ways in which these technologies are being incorporated into a whole range of agricultural and meteorological monitoring of the environment.
After lunch, students were able to reflect on this information and discuss their potential concepts within their groups. Students were then tasked to present their initial ideas, which was a chance for other participants to offer some feedback to further develop these ideas.