Katherine Chandler researcher, critic and artist

Katherine Chandler
Drone Flight and Failure

First Flight, 1941 from Katherine Chandler on Vimeo.

“Drone Flight and Failure: the United States’ Secret Trials, Experiments and Operations in Unmanning, 1936-1973,” uses science and technology studies, new media and political theory to investigate the so-called unmanning of combat aircraft by the United States. I study top-secret drone experiments and missions during World War II and the Cold War as a lens to analyze current use of unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAV), particularly, secret wars the U.S. wages with them. Social, technical, and political failures all figure prominently in drone development, bringing to the fore how human and technologies are intertwined, disjoined and disavowed by a military system at once political and technical. I ask how UCAVs trouble questions of who or what is human and who or what is an enemy? Unraveling these concerns shows the political significance not only of what UCAV “see” but what they occlude.

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