To complement the comparison implicit in my last post – between ‘manned’ and ‘unmanned’ military violence – I’ve added a presentation to those available under the DOWNLOADS tab. I prepared it last month for an event at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, where I performed it with my good friend Toph Marshall. It’s part of my performance-work on bombing, and stages two cross-cutting monologues between a veteran from RAF Bomber Command who flew missions over France and Germany in the Second World War and a pilot at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada operating a Predator over Afghanistan. As the title implies, it dramatises many of the themes I discuss in more analytical terms in my Tanner Lectures, ‘Reach from the Sky’.
For the performance, each speech was complemented by back-projected images. Virtually all of the words were taken from ‘found texts’ – memoirs, diaries, letters and interviews – and the only consciously fictional lines were lifted from Andrew Niccol‘s Good Kill (and I’m sure that they originated in an interview with a real pilot).
It’s imperfect in all sorts of ways, and it is still very much a work in progress, but I’m posting it because it might be helpful for anyone teaching about aerial violence and its history. If it is – or even (especially) if it is isn’t – I hope you’ll let me know.