The "Art" of War: Re-Humanizing Drone Warfare

From toy store shelves to Amazon.com to the Pentagon, drones have become a magnet for American spending. Over the last couple of decades the United States and many other nations have invested billions of dollars in the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for defense and military purposes. These vehicles are used to perform a variety of tasks including: disarming explosives, gathering data on enemies, patrolling dangerous regions and executing strike missions on people and installations. This emergence of drones into our military leads to a few questions:

  • What are the ethics of bot-to-man combat?
  • What privacy dilemmas can we identify?
  • What is it like to be the person who presses “the button”?
  • What feelings do we have about “collateral damage” from UAV strikes?
  • What are the long-term uses for UAVs (Amazon Air)?

 

 

Final Products:

  • Performance Art: Our class will invite the public to an exhibit of “rethinking drone war”. Student-built copters will attack each other’s bases and drop bombs of paint onto canvases that have been prepared with stencils. The stencils will be arranged to produce words and images that RE-HUMANIZE drone targets. At the exhibition we will also display the process of designing our vehicles and share our thinking and experience of exploring and processing the dilemmas of drone warfare.
  • (Clever Drone Title 101): Our class will publish a book of student thoughts about drones and drone warfare. Each student will be responsible for contributing a number of their 101’s (described below) to the anthology.

Research & Skill Building: In preparation for this project, you will …
  • Research the published material about drone pilot training.
  • Learn how military advances have formed borders and won wars
  • Read Ender’s Game and discuss your analysis and connections in Socratic seminars
  • Read a variety of controversial and biased texts and articles about drone warfare
  • Learn to fly simple copters and planes
  • Learn how radio-controlled equipment works
  • Design stencil art
  • Build quadcopter “drones”
  • Design and build “bombers” that will drop paint bombs onto prepared stencil art

The Process (in some kind of order)
  • The history of new shiny tools of war
  • The brief and illustrious history of drone war
  • How has “video game killing” has affected us?
  • Begin reading Orson Scott Card Ender’s Game (4/10)
  • Begin forming groups for drone performance art exhibit.
  • Project Complete (Late of May)
  • Practice exhibition (Late of May)
  • Exhibition (Early June)


Individual Deliverables (things you’re graded on)
  • Meeting intermediate project deadlines.
  • A minimum of FIVE critiqued and revised 101’s
    • 101’s are 101 word responses to a question posed in our class. Questions may come from Mike or developed during class discussions or seminars.
  • Inclusion of your thoughts in our class anthology/book: (Clever Drone Title 101)
  • A draft physics manifesto describing the physics at work within your RC project.
  • Mechanism proposals illustrating how you will build various parts of your drone, bombing mechanism and/or defense mechanism.
Group Deliverables (things you’re graded on)
  • Meeting intermediate project deadlines.
  • A mechanism that dynamically represents your group’s theory using glyphs and functionally integrates into our main gear.
  • Your professional participation in a school-wide exhibition.
  • A physics manifesto, to accompany your mechanism on display, describing the physics at work within your mechanism.
  • A process portfolio that documents the history and development of your group.


Each student in the group will spend time working on all components of the project.

 

Calendar - February
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
2
3
4
5
6

 

Revise Writing Due
Modeled Homage Due
Field Trips
9
10
11
12
13

Steam by Aida Arredondo/Observation Writing

Writers' Workshop
"The Unblinking Stare" Intro to Drones
Socratic Seminar
No School!
16
17
25
18
19

No School!

Cont. "The Unblinking Stare"
Opinions and Poems
Socratic Seminar
7 Writing Pieces Due
23
24
25
26
27
Calendar - March
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
2
3
4
5
6

 

9
10
11
12
13

 

16
17
25
18
19

 

23
24
25
26
27
Debates
Debates
Debates
Debates
Debates
30
31
No School!
No School!
No School!
No School!
No School!