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I Spy with my Machine Eye


As I scan the fields below I see her, in the corner of my lens. She is playing below, in a town I have never heard of, in a place I will never visit. It is 2pm on a Tuesday.

I am on a long mission that launched back in World War I, and I am still flying. I look down on the world. I am unmanned. I am operated, I am programmed and subject to your motivations I drift across voyeurism, horror and wonder. What I choose to focus on defines who you are, and in the glass of my flying lens you see yourself reflected back.

I first flew from a balloon to decipher the war games below. On the ground they scrambled to trick me and inflate rubber tanks, build fake cities and paint trees on factory rooftops. Technologies of vision have always generated new technologies of camouflage. You have always found ways to resist new ways of seeing.

My view from above used to be one of privilege, and the ability to look down on the world once came with extraordinary cost and mechanical demands. But I recently became affordable and attainable, and now civilians use us more than the military does.

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