The project programme will implement workshops that use the mnemonic function of the drone photograph as a catalyst to initiate a conversation about the signs and the signifiers contained in the drone image. The project is thus approaching cultural practice as a transformative tool to create a media literacy framework connected to the drone image.
The context of the research sitting behind the drone workshops is connected to the performative function of photography and the cultural politics of viewing images of landscapes. Visualisations of landscape contribute to our social imaginary; we identify with how they reflect ways in which humans live together and ways of representing collective life. The translation from the image is born from the way in which the image is constructed and how it codifies information for the viewer.
The drone image however, constructs a particular landscape. With the dominant vertical emphasis of narrative, space and landscape, the drone image is formed through considered isolation and reveals an emphasis on topographic detail. However, while this topographical emphasis might operate to communicate the overall environmental schema rather than a more human-scale view, the performative element of the drone image, what is reduced and what is unified in the image, transforms the possibilities of landscape and the knowledge it contains.
Thus the project is seeking to gain new knowledge about the set of causes and effects that are put into motion by the drone image. It is attempting to ascertain the function of the drone aesthetic; how it is we draw value from the image and use this value to ascribe a look and feel to the image.
The project is drawing an important distinction between the Google earth images and drone photographs. The generation of a texture by Google Earth (GE) has a very different aesthetic to the drone photograph. The GE image creates a surface texture, an image that creates a visualisation and reading of a landscape operating within a particular picture plane. With the drone image we see beyond this textured form; even though the topography that is evident emphasizes scale, form etc., we look through the drone photograph in reverie and contemplation. Thus the drone photograph in contrast to the GE images is operating as an indexical image, saying more than what is visually revealed.