Video As Above, So Below | International Drone Culture Colloquium

University of Lincoln Crestvideo about the Drone Culture research event on 24 May at the University of Lincoln (UK) was captured by graduating student Andrew West and 2010 alumnus Steve Young.  The international 1-day event was organised by the School’s Dr Rob Coley, Dr Dean Lockwood and Adam O’Meara.  It was hosted by the 21st Century Research Group at the University of Lincoln (UK) where academics, writers, artists and performers from across the globe discussed the social and conceptual implications of unmanned aircraft.   Andrew West, video producer: I hope this video shows to an extent the atmosphere of the international colloquium throughout the day, which was filmed by Steve Young and me (both from the Lincoln School of Film & Media). As a soon to be postgraduate student I personally took a lot from the event and whilst filming enjoyed listening to the various discussions, arguments and debates around drone culture.

Dr Rob Coley:  Dean, Adam and I would like to say a huge thanks to everyone who attended or otherwise supported the colloquium on drone culture. After a lot of planning, a lot of hard work, and some inevitable last minute technical issues, the event was a real success and, we hope, a real boost for the research culture of the School, College and wider University.

The one day event saw more than 70 people from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds come together to examine the ‘drone’ as a conceptual object.  This included, in addition to our 2 invited keynote speakers Benjamin Noys and Derek Gregory, more than 20 theorists and practitioners, and 8 performers. The focus of attention ranged from ethics to aesthetics, the methods employed ranged from the metaphysical to the forensically empirical, and examples of work discussed included the literary, cinematic and photographic. The event concluded with ‘Myth-Drone’ a totally unique performance by the group Plastique Fantastique, which can only be described as a collaborative multimedia spell-casting, the likes of which the EMMTEC had never seen before and, I suspect, never will again.

Naturally, one of the dangers of any ‘interdisciplinary’ conversation is that individual researchers continue to speak in their own language and the presentation of ideas merely reconfirms basic assumptions. When interdisciplinary connections work, though, something exciting can happen, and this is what I think occurred on Saturday. It was felt not only in the emergent connections between two keynote presentations that drew together the day’s various energies, but in the conversations between delegates that continued late into the evening, eventually crystallizing in a proposal to cultivate a collaborative research network of some kind. In any case, the work doesn’t end here – Dean and I will be editing a special edition of the journal Culture Machine which explicitly develops ideas presented at the colloquium. See Call for Papers here.