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Disruptive Media—Drone technology as empowerment

Unequal Scenes header

Image: Unequal Scenes. Credit: Johnny Miller.

Drones are a disruptive, democratizing technology, allowing us to investigate space, architecture, and separation between communities in a radically empowering way. Johnny Miller’s project Unequal Scenes does just that; removing the personal and subjective gaze and forcing the viewer to confront systematic disenfranchisement from above. By putting this power into everyone’s hands, drone technology allows everyone to explore and examine their own neighborhood without needing intermediaries and gatekeepers. This is a fundamental shift in how we, as citizens, can understand the hidden networks, infrastructure, and systems in which our society is shaped, and which our lived experiences reflect.

Miller is the photographer behind Unequal Scenes, and also africanDRONE, a NPO dedicated to empowering Africans to use drones for good. In this interactive discussion, Miller will explain why he believes drones, photography, and various forms of emerging media should be actively championed as enabling technologies of democracy, of positive, community-building practices, and explain how they can support educational initiatives to empower us all.

After the presentation, the audience is encouraged to participate in a discussion with Miller on how this accessible media can be implemented in our own lives and make a difference in our communities. The discussion will be moderated by Arianna Salazar Miranda, PhD student in Urban Information Systems at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Unequal Scenes is a featured project in the current exhibition In the Public Interest: Redefining the Architect’s Role and Responsibility. The exhibition showcases six innovative architectural practices reimagining the architect’s contribution toward the public good. The selected projects offer unique perspectives on the value of a community-engaged design process and the expanding nature of practice while presenting new methods for the profession to design with Boston’s communities.

Learn more about the work of Johnny Miller in the recent article from National Geographic, “Want to Visualise Inequality? View Cities from Above.”