Mark Hansen’s abstract for the panel “Generativity and Creative Agency in Post-Cinematic Media” at SLSA 2016 in Atlanta:
Between Information and Fabulation: Cinema After Drones
Mark Hansen, Duke University
This talk focuses on the use of high speed digital video cameras onboard Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or military drones to gather “intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance” (ISR). In order to address the key “aesthetic” issue involved here—the question of whether such ISR can be said to operate through the register of the visible, and thus the question of where to locate its cinematic dimension—I shall approach the images generated by drone reconnaissance on two planes: as a source of information that can only be analyzed by computers and as a “vision machine” that renders visibility asymmetrical in order to identify it with power. My talk will think with and through Israeli artist Omer Fast’s 2011 video 5000 Feet is the Best in order to explore: 1) the decoupling of “cinema” from human perception that is at issue in ISR images; and 2) how a cinematic aesthetic can create an indirect perceptual interface onto the imperceptible, informational domain “machinically-presentified” by and through these images.