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No city has yet confronted a large scale domestic integration of either autonomous or remotely piloted aerial vehicles. Although, various district-scale experiments testing the occupation of urban airspace are underway. During the latter half of 2018, rural delivery has begun in remote communities in Ontario, and has a longer history in rural contexts outside of Canada. However, the city presents a set of different spatial, social, legal, regulatory, and technical challenges. This event, through a series of panels and presentations, will address the place of aerial robotics in the city. It will feature presentations by scholars from design practice, art, architectural history, surveillance studies and engineering. The drone’s “place” within the city will be triangulated through speculative proposals, historical analysis, and a critical engagement with their use in the present.
Ciara Bracken-Roche (UOttawa)
Sean Burkholder (UPenn)
John Harwood (UT)
Immony Men (OCAD U)
Fiona McDermott (Trinity College)
Hillary Mushkin (CalTech)
Giovanni de Niederhäusern (Carlo Ratti and Associati)
Public Studio (UT)
Ala Roushan (OCAD U)
Sam Siewert (ERAU)
Scott Sorli (UWaterloo)
Mason White (UT)
Keynote: Liam Young (Sci Arc)
Join speculative architect Liam Young and acclaimed electronic producer for the live expanded cinema performance, I Spy with my Machine Eye, a filmic tour told from the perspective of a drone drifting across the planet. Based around Young’s short film ‘In the Robot Skies’, the first fiction film shot entirely using preprogrammed drones and accompanied by acclaimed electronic producer Forest Swords’ original soundscape he narrates a near-future love story set against the fears and wonders of an impending drone age.
Special Thanks to the FADO Performance Art Center and the Italian Cultural Institute for co-presenting Liam Young’s performance lecture “I Spy With My Machine Eye”, and the “Projective Urban Air Mobility” panel, respectively.
11:00 | Blurring the Boundary Between Land and Sky
John Harwood (U of T)
11:45 | Projective Urban Air Mobility: Acting at Scales
As an emerging term, ‘Urban Air Mobility’, describes the movement of passengers and cargo within cities using remotely piloted or autonomous aerial vehicles. However, this definition fails to represent a broader aerial ecology reflective of different uses for drones. Through project-based presentations, this panel forefronts designers’ whose proposals and prototypes can expand our understanding and imaginations of drones beyond commercial delivery. This early-stage research will highlight the relationship between:
- drones in the re-articulation of highways;
- drones as communication infrastructure; and
- drones as mediators of human-site relationships in participatory design processes.
Giovanni de Niederhäusern (Carlo Ratti and Associates)
”ANAS Smart Highway: Retooling 20th century infrastructure”
Fiona McDermott (CONNECT / Trinity College, Dublin)
”The Moving Network: UAVs as Future Urban Telecommunication Infrastructures”
Immony Men (OCAD U)
”Out of Site: The aerial view in participatory design”
Co-presented with Istituto Italiano di cultura Toronto
1:00 | Break
2:00 | Staging the Apparatus
This pair of presentations focuses on Hillary Mushkin and Public Studio’s engagement, as artists, with drones as military apparatuses. Mushkin, through a series of site visits to the U.S. Army’s Fort Huachuca, in the southern Arizona—a prominent drone pilot training facility—draws relationships between humans, visual interfaces, communication infrastructure and drones towards highlighting the place of the human in these complex assemblages. While Public Studio, turning the lens outward with their film, “Drone Wedding,” explore expanding surveillance regimes and the subjects caught by them.
Hillary Mushkin (Cal Tech)
“The Disposition of Drones”
Elle Flanders, Public Studio (U of T)
“Under the Last Sky: verticality, aerial viewing and the ethics of artistic practice”
Scott Søreli (UWaterloo), Panel Chair
3:00 | Device, Sensor ,Systems: Assembling the Drone
As social, technical and political nodes, drones — autonomous or otherwise — are constellations of parts that constitute multi-scalar assemblages. The composition of: parts that produce lift, the legal apparatuses that bounds movement, the technical and algorithmic components enacting computer vision; perform in ensemble. Architecture and the allied design disciplines seem ill-equipped to address the range of questions arising from an expanded use of cities’ airspace on their own. Bringing together scholars from design, engineering, and the social sciences, this panel presents a cross-section of disciplinary interests relating to an aerial ecology including drones.
Sam Siewert (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University)
“Drone Net Architecture”
Ciara Bracken-Roche (UOttawa)
“Dronescapes in Canada: Policing, protest, and public spaces”
Ala Roushon (OCAD U)
“Spirits Ghosts Flying-Witches”
4:15 | Break
4:30 | I spy with my Machine Eye
Join Speculative architect Liam Young and acclaimed electronic producer for the live expanded cinema performance, ‘I Spy with my Machine Eye’, a filmic tour told from the perspective of a drone drifting across the planet. Based around Young's short film ‘In the Robot Skies’, the first fiction film shot entirely using preprogramed drones and accompanied by acclaimed electronic producer Forest Swords’ original soundscape he narrates a near-future love story set against the fears and wonders of an impending drone age.
Liam Young (Sci Arc)
Co-presented with FADO Performance Art Center
5:30 | Horizons
A closing discussion between colloquium presenters facilitated by Mason White (U of T)
Dronesphere Colloquium is organized by Simon Rabyniuk in conjunction with his Masters of Architecture thesis.