Event date: 8 December 2010
Bedford Square London
Recent geographical scholarship has highlighted the importance of ‘verticality’ – aerial and three dimensional perspectives – in conceptualizations of space, territory, sovereignty and power. Within the subdiscipline of critical geopolitics, this interest has been, in part, provoked by recent events in Iraq and Afghanistan and mobilized though broader discussions of warfare, surveillance, air (and space) power, communications technologies and military hardware.
Alan Ingram (University College London) –
Resisting remote control warfare online” ‘Shoot an Iraqi’?
‘Remote control’ warfare, involving the deployment of weapons at a distance via electronic observation and control, is a core aspect of contemporary military practice that raises a host of geographical, political and ethical issues. But how might it be resisted or problematized? This paper considers an experimental art project – Wafa Bilal’s work entitled Domestic Tension/Shoot an Iraqi – that sought to call remote control warfare into question via an interactive, technologically- enabled installation and performance. Living for one month in front of a paintball gun connected to a webcam and chatroom, Bilal invited participants to fire the gun or not and to engage in discussion. Reflecting on his own brother’s death in a US air strike in Iraq and the role played by missile controllers located in the US, Bilal asked participants to think about what it means to live under constant surveillance and threat of death. The paper suggests that this project, which entailed a wide variety of unanticipated consequences, offers a number of insights into the ways in which people become implicated in contemporary geopolitics via practices of violence and non- violence.
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Waafa Bilal on youtube here