Skip to main content

The geography of our geography: counter-mapping infrastructures of power

Abstract

This artistic work sets out to devise a set of critical and artistic strategies to sense the ways in which the sky is structured under a fusion of state and corporate power. By placing the military drone as a central actor, I argue the atmosphere is enveloped within a topography of enclosure, reconfigured in the service of military and corporate technologies. By using an artistic strategy of what I term counter-reconnaissance, a necessary inversion of the satellite’s gaze, we may conceive of, and value, the atmosphere as a material entity; a parallel sky that is vivid and tangible, political and aesthetic. Counter-reconnaissance utilizes the narrative terrain of Google Earth, where its open and accessible data can be used to help map the shadow states—and invisible rules—that structures and encloses space all around us. This method counter-maps global American military drone infrastructure and makes it palpable to the viewer, creating a constellation of violent geographies.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig.4
Fig. 5

References

  • Belisle, Brooke. 2012. Artifacts: Trevor Paglen’s Frontier Photography. In Making the Geologic Now: Responses to Material Conditions of Contemporary Life, ed. Kruse Jamie and Ellsworth Elizabeth Ann, 145–149. Making the Barbara: Punctum Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bunge, William, et al. 1971. Fitzgerald: Geography of a Revolution. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Parks, Lisa. 2009. Digging into Google Earth: An Analysis of ‘Crisis in Darfur’. Geoforum 40: 535–545.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shaw, Ian. 2016. Predator Empire: Drone Warfare and Full Spectrum Dominance. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Skrebowski, Luke. 2018. Resistance at a Moment of Danger: On Trevor Paglen’s Recent Work. In Trevor Paglen: Sites Unseen, ed. Jacob JP and Skrebowski Luke, 127–185. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian American Art Museum.

  • Welch, Michael. 2011. Counterveillance: How Foucault and the Groupe d’Information sur les Prisons Reversed the Optics. Theoretical Criminology 15 (3): 301–313.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Donald Weber.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Weber, D. The geography of our geography: counter-mapping infrastructures of power. Digi War 1, 106–110 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s42984-020-00024-9

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/s42984-020-00024-9

Keywords

  • Counter-reconnaissance
  • Military drone
  • (Counter)-mapping
  • Google earth
  • Aesthetics