Dieter Wieczorek
Wieczorek is a regular film critic at

DRONES: The Private Perceptions of Drone Technology.

 In our world of total mediatization there is nothing extraordinary about being photographed. But in some cases this is perceived quite differently. We know the deep mistrust and refusal in people of certain ancient cultures to having their pictures taken, an act often associated with mortification.

Meanwhile, in our own culture in the world of advanced observation systems, being watched isn’t at all a neutral condition: Being observed in the «wrong place» can easily lead to persecution, torture, and even death. There is at present a growing global tendency of current societies descending into dictatorships.

Within modern film culture, perhaps the most impressive work that combines the acts of spying and killing is Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom (1960), in which the protagonist uses his film camera as a murder weapon.

«The observer finds himself in a god-like position, able to kill anyone at any time.»

Seeing and killing. The techno-philosophical basis concerning the relationship between seeing and killing was developed by French cultural theorist Paul Virilio. He combined the complexity of this relationship with two other major problems: The constant and growing speed in our technology systems leading to the loss of human capacities to interfere in the process, and the «information bomb» as a new deadly arrangement of disorientation.

Drone technology brings all these dimensions to their technical climax. Invisible to the observed victims, drones follow their targets over weeks and months, sometimes even years. These targets remain unidentified, nameless subjects to their viewers; they are only identified by a metadata analysis system, which classifies them as a potential threat.

The remarkable short film Fix Find Finish by Sylvain Cruiziat and Mila Zhluktenko was screened at the most recent edition of Switzerland’s «Visions du Réel» Festival. The film focuses on the strange and perverse relationship between observer and observed in the high-tech sector: The observer finds himself in an ambivalent position being, on the one hand, in a god-like position, able to kill anyone at any time; and on the other, depending on the order to act from higher up in the system.

Find Fix Finish. Sylvain Cruiziat, Mila Zhluktenko

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