In 2013, Egyptian authorities detained a migratory stork. An electronic device attached to its back had sparked suspicion and the bird was summarily suspected of espionage. This incident, alongside others, gave rise to Heba Y. Amin’s ongoing chronicle The General’s Stork. Against the backdrop of biblical prophecies, drone warfare and colonial narratives, she investigated the politics of aerial surveillance from a bird’s eye view.
Increasingly determined by the apparatus of a military-industrial complex, this project details how the exercise of war is now largely defined through digital means. In her lecture performance, Heba Y. Amin will focus on how military techniques were developed in the context of Middle Eastern geographies. Thus, she will explore the contemporary condition of paranoia that led to a migrating bird being accused of spying and how conquest from the sky – through land surveying, mapping, bombing and drone technologies – has further transformed western power into the spectacle of high-tech weaponry.
On the occasion of this lecture performance, Heba Y. Amin and Anthony Downey will launch an accompanying volume outlining the research that went into this project. The General's Stork (Sternberg Press, 2020), volume 02 in the newly announced Research/Practice series, is edited by Anthony Downey who will also lead a discussion with the audience and artist following the lecture performance.