Skip to main content

Distributed for Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum

To See Without Being Seen

Contemporary Art and Drone Warfare

We are in the dawn of the drone age, a turning point in history when the United States and other countries are increasingly using unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor behavior, collect data, conduct surveillance, and wage wars. As the ubiquitous vision and remote engagement of drones redefine contemporary policing and warfare, their impact is filtering into art and visual culture, generating new investigations into issues of visibility, technology, and fear.

Considering an international array of video, sculpture, installation, photography, and web-based projects, this volume, the catalog for a recent exhibition at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, reveals the unique potential of art to further our understanding of, and give visual form to, modern drone warfare and digital surveillance. These essays illuminate how the drone embodies a far-reaching discussion about the rapidly shifting conditions of perception—of seeing, and of being seen—made possible by advanced technology. What is the relation of machine vision to human vision? And how do visual technologies affect our understanding of the agency of images, and of ourselves?

Featuring scholarly essays along with texts by contributing artists Trevor Paglen and Hito Steyerl, To See Without Being Seen is a perceptive contribution to the emerging literature on contemporary artistic practice, war, surveillance, and technology.

96 pages | 86 color plates | 6 1/2 x 9 1/2 | © 2016

Art: Photography

Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum image

View all books from Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum


“The artworks and texts offer a broad overview and several avenues for cultural and aesthetic investigation. . . . For aspiring artists, the catalog also offers inspiration through innovative use of photography and unconventional forms of art-making such as street and public art, social media interaction, audience involvement, and game design all present in the exhibition.”

ARLIS/NA Reviews

“What does a drone’s camera eye reveal? How is the resulting picture interpreted? So far there are no reliable answers to these urgent questions. The new exhibition at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum presents works that cast a critical light on drones and their role in surveillance and military technologies.”

Springerin, on the exhibition

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press