[-35] Drones can’t hurt Janša! Here’s why

Sometimes I use the web for what it was invented for in the first place: nurturing serendipity. Here’s a reconstruction of one such mind blitz.

Watched Jimmy’s Hall last night (didn’t like it, too linear, much preferred the Spirit of ’45) and was very amused with a clip from a Pathe newsreel the characters went to see in a cinema. In honour of some papal envoy there was a parade with airplanes flying in the cross-shaped formation. That reminded me of drones, but let’s go step by step. First the picture from the film:

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 01.07.44That pushed me too look up similar images I have collected in my mind. Here they are in chronological order. First one is from Nuremberg 1935:

Yad Vashem Photo Archive
From Yad Vashem Photo Archive

Then a couple from  Stalin and the Fifth Column movie I found at the Prelinger arhive:

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 15.00.15

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 14.59.47

Then these English ones for the Queens 60th jubilee:

Elisabeta II Regina
Elisabeta II Regina
60 yrs
60 yrs

And finally one more from Russia, this time counting the years since the end of WWII:

by Flickr user Oleg_Ivanov
by Flickr user Oleg_Ivanov

While searching for these pictures I half-expected that there will be one with the name TITO for me to use to maybe switch to the Janez Janša project. Instead I found other sweet tangents, one where kids learn to create formations and the other where they learn to recognise them:

SHORPY: British Mandate Palestine, August 1939. "Jerusalem Y.M.C.A. activities. Gymnasium, boys' drill."
SHORPY: British Mandate Palestine, August 1939. “Jerusalem Y.M.C.A. activities. Gymnasium, boys’ drill.”
SHORPY: July 1942. “Training high school boys to identify planes by their silhouettes. Weequahic High School, Newark, New Jersey.”

But logically this moved me to other symbolically ordered people and machines. First one is of some fine samaritans observing their faith:


Then the same people trying a different formation:


Which reminded me of a wonderful clip from the Birth of the Nation:

So that is where the loop loops for me – Cary Grant escaping the pesticide plane (those drones actually already killed us, only we don’t know it because we’re dying too slowly to notice) and that cross in the sky then other symbols then back to these riders. To me this is about drones and us.

When a state has a problem with you and you happen to have a name and that state happens to be using drones then YOU have a problem. The name of that problem is signature or targeted killing. Simply put: there is a way to directly link your digital traces (you know: e.mails you write, stuff you buy, sites you visit, people you friend) and that little flying thing above us. It is only a matter of basic interoperability (or handshake as we used to call it). The software that identifies you calls the software in a drone and zap: your name killed you. Which brings us to the Janez Janša project. One possible answer to the signature killing would be to use fluid identity (a big topic for some other time) and the JJ approach is another. Just like Spartacus and Luther Blisset it functions as a condividual – a shared identity – and it might save our artist friends from drone attacks.

THAT is what went through my mind inside a millisecond last night while noticing that film inside a film.

And here is a clip in which Marco Deseriis gives broader perspective on political and/or artistic motives for collective pseudonims. He even wrote a long essay about this, but I can’t find it now. Will look it up for you, but not tonight.

Cheers now. More next time..