This article explores two examples of non-visibility as a way of describing the specificity of contemporary surfaces of visualization. The two cases are the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the scheduled passenger flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, which lost contact with air traffic control on 8 March 2014 at 01:20 MYT, and the 276 Nigerian girls who went ‘missing’ at about the same time. The analysis is developed through an exploration of these examples in terms of the patterning of vision produced in recursive relations, or relations of feedback with the environment. We argue that changes in the organization of this feedback, which we describe as ‘rendition’, equip contemporary observers with both the capacity to see ‘close up at a distance’ and the capacity to be situated adjacent, next to or ‘beside from above’.
Day, S. and Lury, C. (2017) ‘New Technologies of the Observer: #BringBack, Visualization and Disappearance’, Theory, Culture & Society, 34(7–8), pp. 51–74. doi: 10.1177/0263276417736586.