Drone Film Theory: The Immanentisation of Kinocentrism

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This essay looks at the role of drones in contemporary culture, including cinema. It suggests that drones are the latest in a long line of media that involve the physical separation of humans from the world and from each other, a logic of separation that intersects with military and entertainment interests. In this way, the drone signals the simultaneous and interlinked cinematisation (or kinocentrism) and militarisation of society. Looking from a distance and fighting from a distance, as combined in the drone, not only have a militaristic purpose; they also serve to render god-like the unseen and unquestionable operator of the drone (and the viewer of images). This becoming god-like can also be seen in the conquest of time, as the never-ending and real-time demands of permanent surveillance, permanent war and permanent work all relegate other times (for example, peace and leisure) into unreality; the permanent now of media, war and capital is the only perceived ‘real’ time. As humans via separation become media, so, too, do media become more like humans. The essay ends, then, with a ‘weird’ suggestion that drones constitute a ‘sky-net’ that signals an imminent technological singularity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMedia Theory
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Drones
  • kinocentrism
  • media
  • recession
  • war

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