Drone Metaphysics

Noys, B. (2015) Drone Metaphysics. Culture Machine, 16. pp. 1-22. ISSN 1465-4121

[thumbnail of Drone Metaphysics 2015.pdf] Text
Drone Metaphysics 2015.pdf
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (143kB)


The drone is the signature object of the contemporary moment, incarnating a quasi-theological power to see and to kill. The danger of trying to analyse the drone is that we reproduce the image of this theological or metaphysical power, embracing the discourse of techno-fetishism that surrounds it. Here I analyse this discourse primarily through a series of literary, visual, and philosophical discourses that while pre-drone predict and probe the metaphysics of drones. This metaphysics toys with the possibility of a fully-automated or subject-less weapon, which integrates and deploys the human. Counter-drone discourses have tended to emphasise the human element in the “kill-chain” to disrupt this discourse of technological perfection. This is necessary, but my concern is with how notions of integration, acceleration, and “loading” suggest the drone “assemblage” is one which constantly includes the human through transforming the human into a dream of transcendence. The attempt to stress the banality of the drone as just another weapon does not counter this metaphysics, which aims to integrate the messy materiality of the human into “autonomous acceleration.” To resort to messy materiality as a counter remains within the ambit of drone metaphysics and instead, I suggest, we have to attend to the disruption and negations at work within the discourse of transformation and acceleration that surrounds and finds its destination in the drone.

Publication Type: Articles
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Arts and Humanities > English and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Benjamin Noys
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2015 08:35
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2017 09:25
URI: https://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/1508

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item
▲ Top

Our address

I’m looking for