This essay examines the relationship between surveillance and opacity through artist Adam Harvey's “Anti-Drone” wear, clothing that evades drone surveillance and is part of his Stealth Wear (2013) project. Through an engagement with opacity, the author argues that “Anti-Drone” wear's various appeals to concealment and partial visibility raise critical questions about surveillance logics, technologies, and practices and their appeals to fantasies of total seeing and knowing. This essay is organized into three parts, and each part places Harvey's countersurveillance works in conversation with theorists who challenge what it means to see and be visible. The first site of opacity, engaging Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's examination of paranoid and reparative reading, asks about the limits of paranoid thinking as a response to the contemporary surveillance situation. The second site of opacity shifts discussions of seeing and knowing toward situatedness, partiality, and the limits of the Western gaze; this section draws on Donna Haraway's interventions into debates about objectivity and Chandra Talpade Mohanty's critique of the colonial gaze in some Western feminist scholarship. The third site of opacity, which examines Harvey's “Anti-Drone” wear in light of “the fog of war,” invokes Noel Sharkey and Lucy Suchman's recent call to end the production of autonomous armed machines. Throughout these three sites of opacity, Harvey's work opens up a response to surveillance that inhabits and embraces opacity.
Jennifer Rhee; Adam Harvey's “Anti-Drone” Wear in Three Sites of Opacity. Camera Obscura 1 September 2016; 31 (2 (92)): 175–185. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/02705346-3592532
Download citation file: