Cite as: Kathrin Maurer, The Sensorium of the Drone and the Modeling of Communities, lecture, ICI Berlin, 29 April 2024, video recording, mp4, 51:16 <>
29 Apr 2024

The Sensorium of the Drone and the Modeling of Communities

By Kathrin Maurer

As sensorial machine-human assemblages, drones are involved with cultural affects, technological materialities, and political discourses. Hence drones are not just technical instruments; they are interconnected with discourse. This talk will trace the world-making powers of drone technology in order to address how the sensorium of the drone can work as a model for imagining communities. The military drone is often characterized as shaping communities based on exclusion. This lecture, however, focuses on the civilian drone. Although the boundaries between the war drone and the ‘good drone’ are always blurred, artistic negotiations with the civilian drone can unleash the creative and speculative potential of this surveillance technology. By disrupting the predictive and networked operations of the drone, artworks about drones can break, reuse, and recycle the drone’s community-modelling powers in the contexts of social activism, eco-criticism, and post-humanism. Examples of contemporary aesthetic drone imaginaries that are connected with planetary, pandemic, and swarm-like communities will be discussed.

Kathrin Maurer (PhD; Dr. Phil.) is Professor of Humanities and Technology at the University of Southern Denmark (Odense, DK). Her research focuses on bio-machines, surveillance technology, drones, and visual culture. She is the PI of the projects ‘The Aesthetics of Bio-Machines and the Question of Life’ (The Velux Foundation, 2023–2027) and ‘Drone Imaginaries and Communities’ (Independent Research Foundation Denmark, 2020–2023) as well as the leader of the University of Southern Denmark’s Center for Culture and Technology. She is the author of the monograph The Sensorium of the Drone and Communities (MIT Press, 2023) and she co-edited the collected volumes Drone Imaginaries: The Power of Remote Vision (Manchester University Press, 2020) and Visualizing War: Emotions, Technologies, Communities (Routledge, 2018). She has a background in German Studies and has published on nineteenth-century visual culture, historical prose, and travel literature.


ICI Berlin
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Kathrin Maurer
Christoph Holzhey

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ICI Berlin

Video in English

Format: mp4
Length: 00:51:16
First published on:
Rights: © ICI Berlin