March 29, 2007

(UAV) Unmanned Art Vehicle

I've been nursing a thought about the direction in which we are flying in our artworld, how extreme everything is in terms of sheer population, skyrocketing money, the hectic density of information, everything hyperextended, the fog of hype in epic proportions. I've been thinking that our artworld could be compared to contemporary aviation, military aviation that is:

...Over the last decade, more powerful engines, and computer assisted flight controls, have enabled fighters to not only execute increasingly violent maneuvers, but to do it more quickly and in different directions. Because of this, medical doctors have gotten involved in the design of these aircraft, and of the simulators as well. This is because the flight control systems have to be designed so that the aircraft cannot easily make a maneuver that the pilot cannot handle.

For over half a century, aircraft have been capable to executing maneuvers, usually sharp turns while moving at high speeds, that create a gravitational force (g-force) that causes the pilot to black out. If a pilot is properly equipped, with special flight suits that use small liquid or air filled bladders to help prevent blood from rushing from the brain, and causing a blackout, during high g force maneuvers, a g-force nine times normal gravity ("9 gs") can be tolerated.

In the last few decades, computer assisted flight controls have been developed that prevent the pilot from executing a maneuver that would exceed 9 gs. But as aircraft become faster and more agile, there were more directions the aircraft can be going while pulling lots of gs. Pilots now have to worry about neck injuries, if they execute certain maneuvers without positioning their head just so. Just another thing to keep in mind during a dog fight...

The ultimate solution to this medical problem is to use UAVs for air-to-air combat. That's under development, and has been for several decades. The current concept is to have a human pilot remotely controlling a UAV fighter. This was tried as long ago as the 1970s, and found to work quite well. But reliability and security (maintaining the radio link) issues have delayed the arrival of UAV fighters. Senior air force officers (most of them fighter pilots) have not been terribly enthusiastic about this particular new technology. But the fact is that it's becoming too expensive, and dangerous, to keep humans on board combat aircraft.

(Strategy Page.)

Phoning it in.
Consider if you will that like today's flying machine, the art world machine is operating at performance levels that exceed the human capacity to withstand its intensity. Maybe it's best to operate a career remotely? What does this mean? I don't know exactly, I'm scratching an itch here, people. We make avatars in video games and Second Life, can there be a separation between a human artworld and a machine world into which we extend our senses into via prosthesis (there's that word again). Might this mean living a simple human life of direct contact (words from mouth to ear, hands leaving imprints in art materials...), and another world accessed by email and teleconferencing and instructions relayed to fabricators around the world...

Funny. This blog itself is an emmisary of sorts, between these two worlds.

I find myself echoing the structure of a theme I cooked up as I came out of undergrad school, "Parallel Cities" (pedestrian cities and car cities), where I recognize this strange new world we are creating, how it is a creature of the imagination and increasingly strange it has become compared to the physical, durable, temporal world of human limits. Parallel Cities was a way to keep both worlds and find how they compliment each other by looking for a proper arena for the exercise of their natures. I truck this old pet theory of mine out in this blogpost in order to suggest that we might be making a Parallel Cities within the artworld. The danger I propose that we are facing today is a kind of internecine war. It would be a shame if we lost sight of how each realm interlocks with the other.

Posted by Dennis at March 29, 2007 10:30 AM

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