(edited by) Lisa Parks, and Caren Kaplan – Life in the Age of Drone Warfare


Duke University Press, ISBN-13: 978-0822369738, English, 448 pages, 2017, USA

Drones seem to be the protagonist of the digitalisation of the tridimensional space. Their capability to address a precise single spatial point through x,y,z coordinates and move in almost any possible combination of these coordinates is reminiscent of the addressability of any single element (pixel, frequency, character) of digital files. This technically-enabled ubiquity combines with the drone’s size, which is remarkably small compared to its operative flexibility.
Parks and Kaplan have compiled a series of texts addressing some of the drones’ edgy characteristics. Starting from their ’ubiquity on media’, reporting their most diverse uses from the most trivial to the most dangerous, there’s especially a specific ’verticality’, which can be attributed to drones, or better as Lisa Parks affirms in her text, to their “vertical mediation” of space. Among the contributors, Ricardo Dominguez, and his Center for Drone Policy and Ethics, masters activist texts in between reality and fiction, and Catherine Chandler offers historical views, including details about the first television-guided drone attack during World War II. That’s probably also when “bureaucratised killing” started, as Peter Asaro notes. The techno-culture that drones are part of and contribute to generate is described by Jordan Crandall with his ‘robotic ontology’ bringing together drones and driverless cars. Often influenced by a general accellerationist aesthetics, this is an extensive and thorough compendium.