Remote sensing using nanosensors continue a long trajectory of multisensory teletechnologies devised by the military for surveillance and weapons verification at a distance. These remote-sensing systems form the basis of current military and corporate plans to monitor all elements of the earth in real time. Because these systems provide extensions of human senses and are also autonomous, they simultaneously extend and delimit the power and imaginary of the human subject as actor and political agent. By thinking through these multiple large-scale interrelated remote-sensing systems and offering a meditation on the autonomous (as a combination of the terms auto and nomos), the article explores the profound ramifications for imagining the political subject as agent and, further, for the conditions of thinking the autonomous as concept, subject, or technology.
Smart Dust and Remote Sensing: The Political Subject in Autonomous Systems
Ryan Bishop is professor of global art and politics at the Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton. He writes about critical theory, aesthetics, military technology, urbanism, and visual culture. He edits the book series Theory Now (Polity Press) and coedits the book series Technicities (with John Armitage and Joanne Roberts).