Crash Theory

Adam Fish

It is a crisis. We create mass extinction, massacre the inhabitants of the oceans, annihilate the forests, and overheat the planet. We know this by observing the Earth from above. Atmospheric technologies–satellites, balloons, and drones–witness this global catastrophe. And like all human creations these atmospheric technologies are flawed. They regularly fail and fall from the sky. Yet, despite these fiascos, atmospheric technologies provide a chance to counter disaster. But what connects failing technologies and a collapsing world? Crash Theory is a documentary that investigates the entanglements of disintegrating ecologies, tumbling drones, and human interventions. This 45-minute video, by anthropologist Adam Fish, provides a first-person account of drones monitoring erupting volcanoes, palm oil plantations, and coral reefs in Indonesia; marauding elephants in Sri Lanka; starving orcas in the United States; rhinos in the United Kingdom; and internet infrastructure in Iceland. It asks: What is the relationship between life, loss, and survival technologies? The video advances two interconnected concepts. On the one hand is drone justice, the use of drones for extending life. On the other hand is crash theory, the hard realities of technological failure and ecological deterioration. Drone justice and crash theory are linked by broken world thinking which asks us to care for and heal a world that is falling apart.