Today, our visual paradigms are drastically changing. Our paranoia leads us to question even the construct of our visual realities. We’ve begun to dismantle the linear perspective; the mathematics of art as put-forth by Italian Renaissance painters and architects, no longer deals with the horizon or the vanishing point but rather the detached observant gaze of “God’s eye view”: the aerial view.
The aerial view has become the new norm as technological tools of surveillance become seamlessly embedded within our contemporary landscapes. From the Orientalist depiction of the desert of nineteenth century aerial photography in the Middle East to the role that satellite imagery of the 1991 Gulf war has played in transforming war reportage, the problematic practices in landscape surveillance perpetuate the narrative of imperialism through the technology of warfare. The language of occupation and colonization has been written in to the visualization of landscape.
In 2013, Egyptian authorities detained a migratory stork traveling from Israel to Egypt because of an electronic device attached to its back. It was suspected of espionage. Almost one hundred years earlier Lord Allenby, the British High Commissioner in Cairo, completed a major phase in biblical prophecy by launching bird-like machines to capture Jerusalem from the Ottomans. “The General’s Stork” is a performance lecture that converges historical accounts of biblical prophecies, colonial narratives, and the politics of surveillance to investigate the contemporary conditions of a state paranoia that turned a migrating bird into an international spy.
The aerial viewpoint “teaches us to consider a social and political dreamscape of radicalized class war from above.” -Hito Steyerl