Monthly Archives: January 2014

Unmanned Aerial Ecologies
Proto-drones, airspace and canaries in the mine

At talk for Goldsmiths, London, 16 January 2014

Credits and References

Sincere thanks also to: Marko Peljhan, Kate Rich, Natalie Jeremijenko, Usman Haque, Trevor Paglen, James Bridle and all the artists & technologists cited.

Particle Decelerator:
Title Slide: Time study (Predator; Indian Springs, NV) by Trevor Paglen (2010)
Closing image (and above): C-Astral UAV (courtesy of Marko Peljhan)

Artworks/projects referenced in Introduction:
– Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk:
– A drone pilot at the base at Hancock Field. Image: Heather Ainsworth for The New York Times:
In the Air by Nerea Calvillo & collaborators:
New Zealand Wireless Map by Mark Hansen:
oval.maschine by r a d i o q u a l i a (1999). Photographed at CACSA, Adelaide, Australia:
– Honor Harger and Adam Willets, photographed at the Acoustic Space Lab, Latvia, 2001:
Frequency Clock – tactical radio system by r a d i o q u a l i a (1998-2002):
Frequency Clock being used to create, New York, 2002:
Polar Radio by r a d i o q u a l i a and I-TASC, Antarctica, 2007:
Atlas of Electromagnetic Space by Jose Luis de Vicente & Bestario (2008). Co-commissioned by AV Festival:
Aeriology by Joyce Hinterding (2008), exhibited at the Reg Vardy Gallery, Sunderland, as part of AV Festival:
20Hz by Semiconductor (2011), co-commissioned by Lighthouse:
Mesopotamian Dramatugies (Su & Mayhem) by Kutlug Ataman (2011), exhibited at Brighton Festival, 2011:
Laboratory Life at Lighthouse, 2011:
levelHead by Julian Oliver (2008) shown at Suspending Disbelief, Lighthouse, 2010:
Frequency & Volume by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, shown at Invisible Fields:
Evolution of Fearlessness by Lynette Wallworth shown at Brighton Festival, 2011:
Happenstance (2012) – residencies for creative technologists:
data.tron [8K enhanced version] by Ryoji Ikeda (2008-09):
bitplane by Bureau of Inverse Technology (1997-98):
Situational Awareness by Marko Peljhan (2007) at Ars Electronica, Austria, 2007:
– C-Astral UAV: – Image courtesy of Marko Peljhan.
– William Gibson quoted in Spooky Country (2007):
– Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk:
– RT32, VIRAC, Latvia. Photograph courtesy of Raitis Smits, RIXC, 2002.
– Trevor Paglen with telescope. Photograph from MIT:
– Marko Peljhan at the World-C4U exhibition, Brussels, 2000:

Images referenced in Part 1:

The Knife – stock-trading algorithm. Image courtesy of Kevin Slavin:
– The Boston Shuffler – stock-trading algorithm. Image courtesy of Kevin Slavin:
– The proposed Center for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation, New Mexico:
– Google Data Centre, Dulles:
Accelerate to the Cloud billboard, photographed at Auckland Airport, New Zealand, August, 2011. Photograph by Honor Harger.
– Microsoft Data Centre, Dublin:
– Facebook Data Centre, Prineville, Oregon:
– Cloud computing survey commissioned by Citrix, August 2012:

Artworks/projects referenced in Part 2:

bitplane by Bureau of Inverse Technology (1997-98):
– Bureau of Inverse Technology quotations come from the Decade Project:
– Photograph of Marko Peljhan:
Makrolab, Rottnest Island, Australia (2000): Photograph from:
Makrolab, Blair Atholl Estate, Scotland (2002). Photograph by r a d i o q u a l i a:
– Fixing satellite dish, Blair Atholl Estate, Scotland, 2002. Photograph by r a d i o q u a l i a
SCATTER! by Marko Peljhan and colleagues (2008), AV Festival, BALTIC, Gateshead, UK:
– Marko Peljhan quoted in Invisible Territory, a documentary by Zemira Alajbegovic, RTV Slovenia, 2007:
TRUST 15 [Tactical Radio Unified System Transport] by Marko Peljhan (1999), at PS1 Gallery in New York. Images courtesy of Peljhan.
– Marko Peljhan quoted in Situational Awareness catalogue (2007), Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria:
Territory 1995 by Marko Peljhan (2009), Istanbul Biennale, Turkey:
INSULAR technologies by Marko Peljhan (1999): & original concept (1997):
– Marko Peljhan quoted in transcript of Strategies of Minimal Resistance, lecture given at SCCA, Ljubljana, 1999. English translation:
System-77-CCR (SYSTEM-77 / CIVIL COUNTER-RECONNAISSANCE) by Marko Peljhan (2004):
Makrolab, Isola di Campalto, Venice Biennale (2003):
– Marko Peljhan quoted in Invisible Territory – see above.
– Transmission from Iranian television allegedly showing footage of captured U.S drone RQ-170, December 2011:
– Nejc Trost, pictured with C-Astral UAV. Photograph:
– C-ASTRAL UAV systems, Slovenia:
– Documentation of Bramor gEO UAV from C-ASTRAL: Additional photographs courtesy of Marko Peljhan.
– Bramor gEO UAV flying over Gijon, Spain in 2009:

Artworks/projects referenced in Part 3:

– Invisible Fields (2011), co-curated by Honor Harger and José Luis de Vicente at Arts Santa Monica, Barcelona 2011-12:
– Wireless in the World by Timo Arnall (2010): – shown at Invisible Fields.
– Timo Arnall quoted in No to NoUI by Timo Arnall, March 2013:
– Geographies of Seeing by Trevor Paglen (2012), co-curated by Honor Harger and Celia Davies, at Lighthouse:
Paglen artworks shown:
Artifacts (Spacecraft in Perpetual Geosynchronous Orbit, 35,786 km Above Equator) (2010)
PAN (Unknown; USA-207) (2010)
KEYHOLE IMPROVED CRYSTAL from Glacier Point (Optical Reconnaissance Satellite; USA 1860) (2008)
After Galileo (Jupiter and Moons)
They Watch the Moon (2010)
National Reconnaissance Office Ground Station (ADF-SW) Jornada del Muerto, New Mexico (2012)
N5177C at Gold Coast Terminal Las Vegas, NV; Distance ~ 1 mile (2007)
Detachment 3, Air Force Flight Test Center #2, Groom Lake, NV, Distance ~26 Miles (2008)
Reaper Drone, Indian Springs, NV Distance ~ 2 miles (2010)
Untitled (Predators; Indian Springs, NV) (2010)
Time study (Predator; Indian Springs, NV) (2010)
– Trevor Paglen quoted in, “Limit Telephotography”, Under Fire research forum, 2006:

Artworks/projects referenced in Part 4:
– Under the Shadow of the Drone (2013) by James Bridle:
– James Bridle quoted in Drone Shadows, 2012:
– James Bridle quoted in Ring of Steel, 2013:
Hercules Missile Landscape by Mariele Neudecker (2010), being shown at Lighthouse for Brighton Festival 2013: – Nike Historic Missile Site, Golden Gate National Park, USA:
Psychopomp by Mariele Neudecker (2010) – Hercules Missile rubbings: – to be exhibited at Lighthouse, May 2013
The Air Itself is One Vast Library by Mariele Neudecker (2010):
– Charles Babbage quoted in The Ninth Bridgewater Treatise (1837):
Electronic Countermeasures by Liam Young, Tomorrows Thoughts Today (2011):

Artworks/projects referenced in Conclusion:

Here Be Dragons: the Unstable Landscapes of GPS by Will Gowland (2011):
– C-Astral UAV in sunset, courtesy of Marko Peljhan.