(edited by) Paul Wombell – Drone: The Automated Image


Kerber, ISBN-13: 978-3866788039, English, 232 pages, 2013, Canada

This is the catalogue of “Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal” a bi-annual festival of photography exhibitions throughout the city, whose latest edition is focused, in the words of its curator Paul Wombell, on current cameras as “an object of desire that makes images of our desires.” Entitled “Drone: The Automated Image,” the book is not dedicated to those flying optical extensions but to the current autonomous mediation of digital devices and their heavy influence on our desires. The “camera’s agency,” as Wombell defines it, includes the incredible extension of new possible technical and spatio-temporal opportunities that contemporary cameras have embedded. It’s a remarkable investigation involving artists playing with a series of consolidated aesthetics. Under discussion are the classic Google image tools (Street and Earth), the artificial eyes of surveillance cameras and the proliferation of forgotten/carelessly mislaid/stolen images from webcams. Also there is time spent looking at opportunities for radical changes of perspective: attaching cameras to moving entities (from animals to stratosphere balloons) and, of course, drones. The author looks at mechanisms acting in a (semi)autonomous fashion, robotically coordinated ones able to take pictures of humans in unusual conditions. Properly discussed in six texts, the work sees the relationship between human vision and a frozen machine-guided vision as literally building new cultural contexts, hybrids of technological self-determination and strategic potential reconfiguration of visual politics.


Entretien avec Paul Wombell, commissaire invité de la 13e édition du Mois de la Photo à Montréal