The Drone Salon provided an overview of the challenges and opportunities of the fast-developing drone technology, both in the battlefield and in the civic realm. In this seminar, demonstrations and presentations were punctuated by conversations between Malkit Shoshan, Ethel Baraona Pohl and experts in the field: lawyers, activists, civic and military drone operators, artists, writers and designers.
The conversations focus on the spatial effects of the employment of drones during war and in peacetime. The seminar is part of the project Drones and Honeycombs and forms part of a series of public events on drones, organized in collaboration with Studio-X, Columbia University, dpr-barcelona, and The Center for the Study of the Drone in NYC.
The Drone Salon: background information
Drones are unmanned aircrafts. They are either remotely controlled or, increasingly, autonomously following a pre-programmed mission. Initially, they were developed for use in conflict situations, but the technology also lends itself to a variety of civic purposes, from urban surveillance to monitoring agricultural fields and poaching. They can transport objects, from bombs to books and pizza boxes. In conflict situations they can be used for targeting and killing individuals, but also for providing medical assistance. Drones are cheap to produce and have become faster and smaller in recent years. They can fly solo missions or operate in formation.
The drone technology and the expansion of the operational area are strongly connected to the technological evolution triggered by the use of virtual technology and the use of data. Increasingly, decisions are not based on conclusive evidence, but on speculative scenarios.
Ethel Baraona Pohl
Ethel Baraona Pohl is a critic, blogger and curator. She is Co-founder of dpr-barcelona and editor of Quaderns, as well as a contributing editor for different blogs and magazines. She has written articles for Domus, Volume, The New City Reader [Istanbul edition] and MAS Context, among others. Pohl has been invited to present her work in events like Postópolis! DF, and the international architecture festival Eme3. She is Associate Curator for ‘Adhocracy’, which has been shown at the Istanbul Design Biennial in 2012 and at The New Museum in 2013. Pohl is Curator, alongside César Reyes Nájera, of the third Think Space programme.
Quirine Eijkman is a Senior Researcher and Lecturer at the Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism, Leiden University. Additionally, she is a consultant for Justice Q&A. Previously she worked for the Police and Human Rights Programme of Amnesty International, the Human Rights Committee of the Dutch Advisory Council on International Affairs, the Roosevelt Academy of Utrecht University, the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) and at the International Humanitarian Law Department of the Netherlands Red Cross. Currently, she is a Member of the Board of UPEACE, the Hague, and a Member of the Board of Advisors of the Dutch Platform on Civil Rights and the Dutch Section of the International Commission of Jurists (NJCM), where she was the (vice) President between 2005 and 2011. She has published on the side-effects of security measures for human rights, police reform, and human rights mobilization. Her areas of interest include security and human rights, counter-terrorism, transitional justice and the sociology of law.
Ruben Pater is an Amsterdam based Dutch designer. He has as a mission to create visual narratives about complex political issues. His ‘Drone Survival Guide’ received wide attention in 2013 as an educational tool on drones, functioning as a political statement. Other projects are ‘the First Dutch Flood Manual’ , a research into disaster communication in times of climate change, and ‘Double Standards’, a research about maritime trade and Somali piracy. He is currently teaching at the communication department of the Design Academy in Eindhoven and is working on a citizen journalism project in countries with censorship
Catherine Harwood is a PhD candidate at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies at Leiden University. Her research explores how international fact-finding investigations in (post)conflict situations may be coordinated and harmonized to strengthen international justice and accountability. Harwood graduated cum laude from Leiden University in 2012 with a Masters of Law in Advanced Studies of Public International Law, with the assistance of a Rotary Vocational Scholarship. Harwood worked for two years as a Judges Clerk at the New Zealand Court of Appeal and was a teaching fellow and researcher at Victoria University. She has also interned at the International Criminal Court and the International Bar Association’s Programme on the ICC.
Matthew Stadler is a writer. He has written five novels and received several awards and fellowships in recognition of his work. More recently, he wrote the book Deventer, a story about hope and power in architecture. In addition, he gave last year’s Premsela lecture, in which he speculated on the role of drone technologies in a surveillance state, among many other things. A Dutch translation of this text, ‘Interior Decorating in War-Time’, was recently published in De Gids
Yael Messer is an independent curator. She has participated in the De Appel Curatorial Programme, Amsterdam. Messer has collaborated internationally with museums, institutions and independent art spaces. Messer is the recipient of the 2013 Artist grant for her curatorial collaboration with the 13th Istanbul Biennial. She will present a recent lecture ‘Decolonized Skies: George Clooney, Drones and the democratization of the view from above’.
Lieutenant-colonel Pieter Mink is the senior advisor UAS at the Army Staff at Utrecht. In this position he is also responsible for flight safety, quality and airworthiness of UAS. Lt.Col Pieter Mink served in three missions. UNPROFOR as a UN Military Observer in Bosnia from July 1993 - February 1994. In the SFIR mission, from July 2004 - March 2005, he served in the MN Division CS at Al Hillah, Iraq. In this division he was as staff officer G7 responsible for all training of the Iraqi National Guard. During his final mission from July 2009 - February 2010 he served in HQ ISAF, Kabul, as a planning staff officer Information Operations.
Malkit Shoshan is an architect. She is the founder and director of the Amsterdam based architectural think tank FAST, the Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory. Her work explores and highlights the relations between architecture, politics and human rights. Shoshan is the author of the award winning book Atlas of the Conflict, Israel-Palestine. She is a PhD candidate at the architecture faculty at TU Delft and she is developing the project Drones and Honeycombs as a fellow-researcher at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam.
Eyal Weizman is an architect, Professor of Visual Cultures and director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London. Since 2011 he is also Director of the European Research Council funded project, ‘Forensic Architecture - on the place of architecture in international humanitarian law’. Since 2007 he has been a founding member of the architectural collective DAAR in Beit Sahour/Palestine. Liam Young is an architect who operates in the spaces between design, fiction and futures. He is founder of the urban futures think tank Tomorrows Thoughts Today, a group whose work explores the possibilities of fantastic, perverse and imaginary urbanisms. With TTT he has consulted and conducted workshops on speculation, emerging technologies and future forecasting for firms including Arup - Drivers for Change, Phillips Technologies, BBC, the film industry and various arts and science organisations. His projects include ‘Under Tomorrows Sky’, a science fiction movie set for a fictional future city developed through collaborations with scientists and technologists, and ‘Electronic Countermeasures’, a swarm of quad copter drones that drift through the city broadcasting a pirate internet and file sharing hub.