Chandler returns to these histories to explore how unmanning is enacted. Early drone aircraft resist the narrative that the systems are a recent technical innovation underwritten by the War on Terror. Rather, the crashes suggest that the supposed technicity of drone aircraft ties to political contexts and is underwritten by human action and interpretation. Chandler explores the drone’s dysfunction as a means to study the violence made possible by their networked human, media, and machine parts. Error underscores that the ethical challenges of drone aircraft is not simply that they are dehumanizing. Rather, they produce flawed and partial ways of seeing and acting that are conceived politically and legally as total. Looking back to the moments when these views failed spectacularly, she considers how errans can be a way to counter the obduracy of a dronelike worldview and the politics it imbricates.
Katherine Chandler earned her PhD in Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley and is currently an assistant professor at the Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University in the Culture and Politics Program. She was artist-in-residence at The Case for Space at ‘Provisions: Art for Social Change’, George Mason University in 2013 and The Decapitated Museum at Banff Centre for the Arts in 2012. She is currently working on two book projects The Technopolitics of Unmanning: How Humans, Machines and Media Assemble Drone Warfare and Drone Publics. Her articles, essays, and photographs have been published by Catalyst, Humanity, and qui parle. She contributed to the recent anthology Life in the Age of Drone Warfare (2017).