Svea Bräunert holds a postdoctoral research appointment in the Visibility and Visualization graduate program at the University of Potsdam. Her research interests include 20th and 21st century literature, film, and visual arts, memory studies, media theory and gender studies. Her current research project addresses artistic reflections of aerial warfare, paying close attention to the military’s current implementation of drone technology.


Waging War Through Images: Drones’ Precarious Visions

The increasing implementation of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones by the US military has not only become subject of an ongoing political and judicial debate, but drone technology also figures prominently in visual culture. As drone warfare is literally waged through images, artists and documentary filmmakers alike investigate it as a perceptual field in which relations are mediated through images and perspectives. They treat the drone’s vision as highly ambiv-alent, torn between visibility and invisibility, proximity and distance, shielding and striking. These ambivalences are the result of a visual regime in which the victims are exposed to a gaze they cannot meet, while the drone operator’s remotely engage in combat, keeping their bodies out of harm’s way. Still, the drone’s images also have the potential to harm them, as their proximity can cause post-traumatic stress disorder – a condition that is in turn treated through visual immersion, thus suggesting the image of war as functioning both on a therapeutic and on a traumatic level.

The talk will be held in English.