Technological Imaginaries: picturing the border in technoscience (and security industry)
Maria Schwertl (LMU (University of Munich))
Paper short abstract:
What kind of imaginaries and images run through the "technologization" of the European border regime? What pictures are actually circulated by technological research projects or security and defense companies that produce border technology?
Paper long abstract:
The technologization of the European border regime has been diagnosed again and again for the past years. It has been argued that through surveillance systems like Eurosur, databanks like Eurodac and smart border technologies the border actually liquifies and becomes bodily: following border crossers wherever they are. On the other hand, the image of Fortress Europe has never been as strong as now - and this also due to new fences and walls being built and military ships patrolling the Mediterranean to "fight smuggling". This raises the question, what kind of imaginaries and images run through the "technologization" of the European border regime. While the visual regimes of migration (Bischoff 2015) as well as the visual culture of humanitarianism have been analyzed in recent years (Nyers), and while the gazes of different technologies (body scanners for example) or systems (Eurosur) has been explored, nobody has ever looked at what pictures are actually circulated by technological research projects or security and defense companies that produce border technology. These actors are producing the border before the border. They are doing border work and this becomes even clearer when looking at the pictures and images they produce. Here the border is often dehumanized, it only consists of landscapes and technology. No person, not even border guards are appearing in these images that are often furthermore digital pictures and thus seem distanced, unreal. In my talk I want to explore the iconography of these pictures.
Images and the imaginary of Home: analysing pictures and visual culture in times of securitization and domopolitics