Speaker: Prof Lucy Suchman # Lancaster University
2nd Mar 2015
15:30 - 17:00
Room G07, Informatics Forum (10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh EH8 9AB)
This paper sets out the motivating questions and initial analytic framing of my research in progress on the problem of ‘situational awareness’ within contemporary forms of (particularly U.S.) warfare. A more-than-human entanglement with mortal consequence for those whom it incorporates, my focus is on the interfaces that configure war fighters to achieve ‘recognition’ of relevant subjects and objects, including the discriminations of us and them that are prerequisites for defensible killing. I’m interested more specifically in the complex relations of mediation and embodiment, distance and proximity, vulnerability and impunity that comprise contemporary configurations of warfare, as the virtual is infused with real figurations and has its own material effects, and the real environments of war fighting are increasingly virtual. The empirical basis for the project at the moment is the archive of Flatworld, an immersive training environment developed between 2001 and 2008 as the flagship project of the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies. I read the project through a frame inspired by Judith Butler's theoretical analysis of figuration’s generative agencies, to try to articulate further the simulation’s discursive and material effects.