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Dossiers
Authors
  • Lawrence Abu Hamdan
  • Babak Afrassiabi
    • Babak Afrassiabi is an artist who works both in Iran and the Netherlands. Since 2004, he has collaborated with Nasrin Tabatabai on various joint projects and the publication of the bilingual magazine Pages (Farsi and English). Their work seeks to articulate the undecidable space between art and its historical conditions, including the recurring question of the place of the archive in defining the juncture between politics, history, and the practice of art. The artists’ work has been presented internationally in various solo and group exhibitions and they have been tutors at the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (2008–13), and Erg, école supérieure des arts, Brussels (2015–).
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      published contributions
  • S. Ayesha Hameed
    • Dr. S. Ayesha Hameed is a Lecturer in Visual Cultures and the Joint Programme Leader in Fine Art and History of Art Research Fellow in Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths, London. She received her PhD in Social and Political Thought at York University, Canada in 2008
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Sammy Baloji
  • On Barak
    • On Barak is a social and cultural historian of science and technology in non-Western settings. He has been a senior lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University since 2012. Prior to this, he was a member of the Princeton Society of Fellows. In 2009, Barak received a joint PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies from New York University. His most recent book is On Time: Technology and Temporality in Modern Egypt (University of California Press, 2013), and his current publication project, Coalonialism: Energy and Empire before the Age of Oil, is funded by a European Union Marie Curie Award and an Israel Science Foundation Grant.
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      published contributions
  • Anil Bawa-Cavia
    • Anil Bawa-Cavia is a computer scientist with a background in machine learning. He runs STDIO, a speculative software studio. His practice engages with algorithms, protocols, encodings, and other software artifacts and his doctoral research at the Center for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at University College London was on complex networks in urbanism. He is a founding member of Call & Response, a sonic arts collective and gallery space in London, and a member of the New Centre for Research & Practice.
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      published contributions
  • Etienne Benson
  • Josh Berson
  • Jeremy Bolen
  • Axel Braun
    • Axel Braun studied photography at the Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen, and fine arts at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris. His artistic research deals with controversial infrastructure projects, tautology as an attempt to understand reality, and failed utopias in art and architecture. Currently, he is pursuing the long-term project Towards an Understanding of Anthropocene Landscapes. Recently exhibited works include Some Kind of Opposition (2016) at Galeria Centralis, Budapest, and Dragonflies drift downstream on a river (2015) at Kunstmuseum Bochum.
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      published contributions
  • Keith Breckenridge
  • François Bucher
    • s, focusing on ethical and aesthetic problems of cinema and television, and more recently on the image as an interdimensional field. His work has been exhibited at
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      published contributions
  • Lino Camprubí
  • Zachary Caple
  • Ele Carpenter
    • Dr. Ele Carpenter is a senior lecturer in curating at Goldsmiths, London. Her curatorial practice responds to interdisciplinary socio-political contexts such as the nuclear economy and the relationship between craft and code.
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      published contributions
  • Andrew Chubb
    • Andrew Chubb is a PhD candidate at the University of Western Australia conducting research on the relationship between Chinese public opinion and government policy in the South China Sea. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Contemporary China, Pacific Affairs, East Asia Forum, and Information, Communication & Society. His blog, South Sea Conversations (southseaconversations.wordpress.com), provides translations and analysis of Chinese discourse on the South and East China Sea issues.
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      published contributions
  • Louis Chude-Sokei
    • Louis Chude-Sokei is a writer and scholar currently teaching in the English Department at the University of Washington, Seattle. His academic interests range from West African, Caribbean, and American literary and cultural studies to a particular focus on sound, technology, and performance. His literary and public work focuses on immigration and black-on-black cultural contacts, conflicts, and exchanges. Chude-Sokei is the author of the award-winning book The Last “Darky”: Bert Williams, Black-on-Black Minstrelsy, and the African Diaspora (2006) and The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics (2016).
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      published contributions
  • Claire Colebrook
    • Claire Colebrook is a professor of English at Penn State University. Her areas of specialization are contemporary literature, visual culture, and theory and cultural studies. She has written articles on poetry, literary theory, queer theory, and contemporary culture. Colebrook is the co-editor of the series Critical Climate Change, published by Open Humanities Press, and a member of the advisory board of the Institute for Critical Climate Change. She recently completed two books on extinction for Open Humanities Press, Death of the PostHuman and Sex after Life (both 2014), and with Tom Cohen and J. Hillis Miller co-authored Twilight of the Anthropocene Idols (2016).
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      published contributions
  • Ana Dana Beroš
    • chitect and curator focused on creating uncertain, fragile environments that catalyze social chan
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Rana Dasgupta
  • Filip De Boeck
    • Filip De Boeck is actively involved in teaching, promoting, coordinating and supervising research in and on Africa at the Institute for Anthropological research in Africa at the U
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Seth Denizen
    • Seth Denizen is a researcher and design practitioner trained in landscape architecture and evolutionary biology. Since completing research on the sexual behavior and evolutionary ecology of small Trinidadian fish, his work has focused on the aesthetics of scientific representation, madness, and public parks, the design of t
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      published contributions
  • Jonathan Donges
    • Jonathan Donges is a postdoctoral researcher who holds a joint position at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (as Stordalen Scholar) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He studies planetary boundaries and social dynamics in the Earth system from a complex dynamical system perspective. At Potsdam, he is Co-head of the flagship COPAN (Coevolutionary Pathways) project (www.pik-potsdam.de/copan). His published research includes work on complex network theory, dynamical systems theory, and time series analysis, with a focus on their application to our understanding of past and present climate variability and its interactions with humankind on planet Earth.
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      published contributions
  • Keller Easterling
  • David Edgerton
    • David Edgerton is Hans Rausing Professor of the History of Science and Technology and a professor of modern British history at King’s College London. After teaching at the University of Manchester, he became the founding director of the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at Imperial College London (1993–2003), and moved along with the centre to King’s College London in August 2013. He is the author of many works, including The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History since 1900 (2007), which argues for and exemplifies new ways of thinking about the material constitution of modernity.
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      published contributions
  • Technosphere Editorial
  • Sasha Engelmann
  • Eberhard Faust
  • Jennifer Gabrys
    • Jennifer Gabrys is Reader in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Principal Investigator on the ERC-funded project, "Citizen Sense." Her publications include Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics (University of Michigan Press, 2011); and Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet (University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming).
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      published contributions
  • Elaine Gan
  • Oliver Gantner
  • Florian Goldmann
    • Florian Goldmann is a Berlin-based artist and a PhD candidate at the DFG Research Training Center Visibility and Visualisation – Hybrid Forms of Pictorial Knowledge as well as at the Brandenburg Center for Media Studies, both Potsdam University. His research focus is the utilization of models as a means of both commemorating and predicting catastrophe. In 2015, he took part in the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan. Goldmann is one of the founders of the research collective STRATAGRIDS and the author of Flexible Signposts to Coded Territories (2012), an analysis of football hooligan graffiti in Athens as a system of fluid signage.
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      published contributions
  • Johan Gärdebo
    • Johan Gärdebo is a PhD candidate at the Royal Institute of Technology affiliated to the Environmental Humanities Laboratory (EHL). H
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      published contributions
  • Orit Halpern
    • Orit Halpern is a Strategic Hire in Interactive Design and an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University, Montreal. Her work bridges the histories of science, computing, and cybernetics with design and art practice. She is also a co-director of the Speculative Life Research Cluster, Montreal, a laboratory situated at the intersection of art and life sciences, architecture and design, and computational media (www.speculativelife.com). Her recent monograph, Beautiful Data (2015), is a history of interactivity, data visualization, and ubiquitous computing. www.orithalpern.net
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      published contributions
  • Gerda Heck
  • Carola Hein
    • Carola Hein is a professor of the history of architecture and urban planning in the Architecture Department at Delft University of Technology. She has published widely on topics in contemporary and historical architectural and urban planning, notably that of Europe and Japan. Her current research interests include transmission of architectural and urban ideas along international networks, focusing specifically on port cities, and the global architecture of oil. Her books include Port Cities: Dynamic Landscapes and Global Networks (2011), Cities, Autonomy, and Decentralization in Japan (2006), and The Capital of Europe: Architecture and Urban Planning for the European Union (2004).
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      published contributions
  • Julian Henriques
    • Julian Henriques is the convener of the MA in Script Writing and Director of the Topology Research Unit in the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. Prior to this, he ran the film and television department at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) at the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica. His credits as a writer and director include the reggae musical feature film Babymother (1998) and as a sound artist, Knots & Donuts, exhibited at Tate Modern in 2011. Henriques researches street cultures and technologies and his publications include Changing the Subject: Psychology, Social Regulation, and Subjectivity (1998), Sonic Bodies: Reggae Sound Systems, Performance Techniques, and Ways of Knowing (2011), and Sonic Media (forthcoming).
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      published contributions
  • Hanna Husberg
    • Hanna Husberg is a Stockholm-based artist. She graduated from ENSB-A in Paris in 2007 and is currently a PhD in Practice candidate at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna.
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Erich Hörl
  • Timothy Johnson
  • Peter K. Haff
  • Bernd Kasparek
  • Laleh Khalili
  • Alexander Klose
    • Dr. Alexander Klose studied History, Law, Philosophy, Art, and Cultural Studies. From 2005-07 he held a scholarship at Bauhaus Universität Weimar for his PhD project on standardized containers used in transport as one of the leading material media in the 20th century. Between 2009 and 2014 he worked as a research associate and programme developer at Kulturstiftung des Bundes. In 2015 in the forefront of COP 21, he co-curated Blackmarket for Useful Knowledge and Non-Knowledge No. 18 – On Becoming Earthlings: 150 dialogues and exercises in shrinking and expanding the Human at Musée de l'Homme, Paris. His latest publication is: The Container Principle. How a box changes the way we think (2015).
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      published contributions
  • Karin Knorr Cetina
  • Scott Knowles
  • Nile Koetting
  • Nicole Koltick
    • Nicole Koltick is an assistant professor in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University, Philadelphia. She is Founding Director of the Design Futures Lab at Westphal College, which is currently pursuing design research to stimulate debate on the potential implications of emerging technological and scientific developments within society. Koltick’s practice spans art, science, technology, design, and philosophy, and current work focuses on the philosophical, material, and relational implications of aesthetics as they intersect with emerging developments in computational creativity, artificially intelligent autonomous systems, robotics, and synthetic biological hybrids.
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      published contributions
  • Nik Kosmas
  • Matthijs Kouw
    • Matthijs Kouw joined the Rathenau Instituut, The Hague, in March 2016. He holds an MA in Philosophy and an MSc in Science and Technology Studies from the University of Amsterdam as well as a PhD from Maastricht University. In his PhD thesis, Kouw describes how and to what extent reliance on models can introduce vulnerabilities through the assumptions, uncertainties, and blind spots concomitant with modeling practice. He was employed as a postdoctoral researcher at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), during which time he acted as a member of the Dutch delegation for plenary sessions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
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      published contributions
  • Matija Kralj
  • Lars Kulik
    • Lars Kulik studied biology at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He received his doctorate on the development of social behavior of rhesus monkeys at the University of Leipzig and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. He lives with his family in Berlin.
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      published contributions
  • Richard L. Hindle
    • Richard L. Hindle is an assistant professor of landscape architecture and environmental planning at the University of California, Berkeley. His current research focuses on patent innovation in landscape related technologies, from large-scale mappings of riverine and coastal systems to detailed historical studies on the antecedents of vegetated architecture. His work explores the potential of new technological narratives and material processes to reframe theory, practice, and the production of landscape. Recent works include the articles “Levees That Might Have Been” (2015), and “Infrastructures of Innovation” in Scaling Infrastructure (MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism, 2016), and the exhibition Geographies of Innovation at UC Berkeley (2015).
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Brian Larkin
  • John Law
    • hn Law was a professor of sociology at Keele University, Lancaster, and the Open University, Milton Keynes, and a co-director of the Economic and Social Researc
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Esther Leslie
    • t theories of aesthetics and culture, with a particular focus on the work of Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno. It deals with the poetics of science, European literary and visual modern
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      published contributions
  • S. Løchlann Jain
  • Donald MacKenzie
  • Chowra Makaremi
  • Annapurna Mamidipudi
  • Laura McLean
    • Laura McLean is a curator, artist, and writer based in London. She is a graduate of Goldsmiths College and Sydney College of the Arts, where she later lectured. She has also studied at Alberta College of Art and Design, and the Universität der Künste Berlin.
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      published contributions
  • Eden Medina
    • Eden Medina is an associate professor of informatics and computing, affiliated associate professor of law, and adjunct associate professor of history at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her research and teaching address the social, historical, and legal dimensions of our increasingly data-driven world, including the relationship of technology to human rights and free expression, the relationship between political innovation and technological innovation, and the ways that human and political values shape technological design. Medina’s writings also use science and technology as a way to broaden understandings of Latin American history and the geography of innovation. She is the author of Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende's Chile (2011) and the co-editor of Beyond Imported Magic: Essays on Science, Technology, and Society in Latin America (2014).
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Anne-Sophie Milon
    • Anne-Sophie Milon is an artist and a freelance illustrator and animator working and living in Bristol, UK. After completing two Masters in Art, she has recently concluded the program of experimentation in Art and Politics at SciencesPo (SPEAP) in Paris.
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Gerald Nestler
    • Gerald Nestler is an artist and writer who combines theory and post-disciplinary conversation with video, installation, performance, text, code, graphics, sound, and speech. He explores what he calls the derivative condition of contemporary social relations and its paradigmatic financial models, operations, processes, narratives, and fictions. He is currently working on an “aesthetics of resolution” that maps counterfictions and counterimaginations for “renegade activism,” which revolves around the demonstration as a combined artistic, technological, social, and political practice. Nestler holds a practice-based PhD from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London.
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      published contributions
  • Daniel Niles
    • terial, millenary and momentary—that their knowledge takes, and, finally, the significance of this experience to our understanding of t
    • 1
      published contributions
  • James P. M. Syvitski
    • James P. M. Syvitski is Executive Director of the Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System (CSDMS) at the University of Colorado Boulder. From 2011 to 2016, he chaired the International Council for Science’s International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), which provides essential scientific leadership and knowledge of the Earth system to help guide society toward a sustainable pathway during rapid global change. His specialty is the global flux of water and sediment (river and ocean borne) and its trends in the Anthropocene. He works at the forefront of computational geosciences, including sediment transport, land-ocean interactions, and Earth-surface dynamics.
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      published contributions
  • Luciana Parisi
    • Luciana Parisi is Reader in Cultural Theory, Chair of the PhD program in Cultural Studies, and Co-director of the Digital Culture Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research focuses on cybernetics, information theory and computation, complexity and evolutionary theories, and the technocapitalist investment in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. Her books include Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Biotechnology and the Mutations of Desire (2004) and Contagious Architecture: Computation, Aesthetics, and Space (2013). She is currently researching the history of automation and the philosophical consequences of logical thinking in machines.
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Lisa Parks
  • Matteo Pasquinelli
  • Sophia Roosth
    • t when researchers are building new biological systems in order to investigate how biology works. She holds a PhD from the Massachuse
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Arno Rosemarin
  • Kim Rygiel
    • f International Affairs in Waterloo, Canada. Her research focuses on border security, migration, and citizenship in North America and Europe. She investigates how citizens and non-citizens engage in citizenship practices and challenge notions
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Dorion Sagan
  • Isabelle Saint-Saëns
  • Birgit Schneider
  • Jens Soentgen
  • Lizzie Stark
    • Lizzie Stark is an author, journalist, and experience designer. She is the author of two books, Pandora’s DNA (2014), exploring so-called ‘breast cancer genes’ and her first book, Leaving Mundania (2012), which investigates the subculture of live action role play, or larp. Her journalism and essays have appeared in The Washington Post, the Daily Beast, The Today Show Website, io9, Fusion, the Philadelphia Inquirer and elsewhere. She holds an MS from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has organized numerous conventions and experiences across the US. Her most recent work is as a programming coordinator for Living Games Austin, and as co-editor and contributor for the #Feminism anthology, which collects 34 nano-games written by feminists from eleven countries.
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Lucy Suchman
    • ology of Science and Technology in the Department of Sociology at the University of Lancaster, UK. Her research interests within the field of feminist science and technology studies are focused on technological imaginaries and material practices
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Jenna Sutela
    • Jenna Sutela’s installations, texts, and sound performances seek to identify and react to precarious social and material moments, often in relation to technology. Most recently, she has been exploring exceedingly complex biological and computational systems, ultimately unknowable and always becoming something new. Her work has been presented, among other places, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and her writing has been published by Fiktion, Harvard Design Magazine, and Sternberg Press.
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Bronislaw Szerszynski
    • Bronislaw Szerszynski is a Reader in Sociology at Lancaster University in the UK. Szerszynski’s work has developed across several themes, including the role of Western religious history in shaping contemporary understandings of technology and the environment—typified by his book Nature, Technology and the Sacred (Wiley-Blackwell, 2005).
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Elisa T. Bertuzzo
    • Elisa T. Bertuzzo studied comparative literature, sociology, communication, and media studies and holds a PhD in urban studies. She was a curator and project leader with Habitat Forum Berlin, including for the project Paradigmising Karail Basti (2010–16). Bridging discourses from the fields of cultural and urban studies, her research focuses on the everyday life facets of urbanization and settlement in South Asia. On that topic, she published Fragmented Dhaka: Analysing Everyday Life with Henri Lefebvre’s Theory of Production of Space (2009) and runs her multimedia project Archives of Movement (since 2012), which deals with the everyday life of temporary labor migrants in Bangladesh and India.
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Gregory T. Cushman
    • Gregory T. Cushman is Associate Professor of International Environmental History at the University of Kansas.
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Nasrin Tabatabai
    • Nasrin Tabatabai is an artist who works both in Iran and the Netherlands. Since 2004, she has collaborated with Babak Afrassiabi on various joint projects and the publication of the bilingual magazine Pages (Farsi and English). Their work seeks to articulate the undecidable space between art and its historical conditions, including the recurring question of the place of the archive in defining the juncture between politics, history, and the practice of art. The artists’ work has been presented internationally in various solo and group exhibitions and they have been tutors at the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (2008–13), and Erg, école supérieure des arts, Brussels (2015–).
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Katerina Teaiwa
    • Dr. Katerina Teaiwa is Associate Professor at the Department of Gender, Media and Cultural Studies, School of Culture, History & Language and the president of the Australian Association for Pacific Studies. Her main area of research looks at the histories of phosphate mining in the central Pacific. Her work does not only span academic research, publications, and lectures, but also manifests itself in other formats within the arts and popular culture. Her work has inspired a permanent exhibition at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, which tells the story of Pacific phosphate mining through Banaban dance. In 2015, she published „Consuming Ocean Island: Stories of People and Phosphate from Banaba“, Indiana University Press. She is currently working with visual artist Yuki Kihara on a multimedia exhibition for Carriageworks in Sydney.
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      published contributions
  • Jol Thomson
  • Claire Tolan
  • John Tresch
  • Etienne Turpin
    • Etienne Turpin is a philosopher, Founding Director of anexact office, and a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, where he coordinates the Humanitarian Infrastructures Group and co-directs the PetaBencana.id disaster mapping project for the Urban Risk Lab. He is the editor of Architecture in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Design, Deep Tim
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Asonseh Ukah
    • Asonzeh Ukah is a sociologist and historian of religion. He joined the University of Cape Town in 2013 and previously taught at the University of Bayreuth (2005–13), where he also earned a doctorate and habilitation in history of religions. His research interests include religious urbanism, the sociology of Pentecostalism, and religion and media. He is Director of the Research Institute on Christianity and Society in Africa (RICSA), University of Cape Town, and Affiliated Senior Fellow of Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS), University of Bayreuth. He is the author of A New Paradigm of Pentecostal Power (2008) and Bourdieu in Africa (edited with Magnus Echtler, 2016).
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Underworlds
  • Sebastian Vehlken
    • Sebastian Vehlken is a media theorist and cultural historian at Leuphana University Lüneburg and Permanent Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study on Media Cultures of Computer Simulation (MECS). From 2013 to 2017, he worked as MECS Junior Director, and in 2015–16, he was a visiting professor at Humboldt-Universität Berlin, the University of Vienna, and Leuphana. His areas of interest include the theory and history of computer simulation and digital media, the media history of swarm intelligence, and the epistemology of think tanks. His current research project, Plutonium Worlds, explores the application of computer simulations in West German fast breeder reactor programs.
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Vladimir Vernadsky
  • Davor Vidas
    • Davor Vidas is a research professor in international law and Director of the Law of the Sea Programme at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Lysaker, Norway. He is Chair of the Committee on International Law and Sea Level Rise and a member of the Anthropocene Working Group. Vidas has been involved in international law research for over thirty years, focusing since 2009 on implications of the Anthropocene for the development of international law. Among his books are The World Ocean in Globalisation (2011) and Law, Technology and Science for Oceans in Globalisation (2010). He is the editor-in-chief of the book series Anthropocene (Skolska knjiga, Zagreb), launched in 2017.
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Hannes Wiedemann
    • Hannes Wiedemann is a Berlin-based photographer. He studied at the Ostkreuz School of Photography, Berlin. For his project Grinders (2015–16), he followed the American bodyhacking community, a small group of people across the United States working out of garages and basements to become real cyborgs. Recent exhibitions include NEW PHOTOGRAPHY II (2017) at Gallery ALAN, Istanbul, and HUMAN UPGRADE, with Susanna Hertrich (2016), at Schader-Stiftung Gallery, Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt. www.hanneswiedemann.com
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Cary Wolfe
    • Cary Wolfe is Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Professor of English and Founding Director of 3CT: Center for Critical and Cultural Theory at Rice University, Houston. He is the author of What Is Posthumanism? (2010), a book that weaves together principal concerns of his work: animal studies, system theory, pragmatism, and post-structuralism. It is part of the series Posthumanities, for which he serves as Founding Editor at the University of Minnesota Press. His most recent publication is Before the Law: Humans and Other Animals in Biopolitical Frame (2013) and earlier books and edited collections include Animal Rites: American Culture, The Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory (2003) and Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal (2003).
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Andrew Yang
  • Jan Zalasiewicz
    • Dr. Jan Zalasiewicz is Professor of Palaeobiology at the University of Leicester and Chair of the Anthropocene Working Group of the International Commission on Stratigraphy. A field geologist, paleontologist, and stratigrapher, he teaches and publishes on geology and earth history, in particular on fossil ecosystems and environments that span over half a billion years of geological time.
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Anna Zett
  • Sander van der Leeuw
    • ionships, and complex systems theory. He investigates the preconditions for and the practices and role of invention, sustainability, and innovation in societies. He has done
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Liv Østmo
    • Liv Østmo is one of the founders and current Dean of the Sámi University of Applied Sciences, Kautokeino, Norway, where she researches and lectures on the subject of multicultural understanding. For the last eight years, Østmo has worked with traditional Sámi knowledge and she is currently working on putting the finishing touches on a methodology book about the documentation of this knowledge.
    • 1
      published contributions
Source: Wiki Commons, 2014 U.S. Department of Defense Current Photos

Deportation and the Technification of Force: Violence in Democracy

The management of human bodies is implicated in legitimated forms of violence as their movement across borders is administered. Anthropologist Chowra Makaremi, with this short text and video, works through the strangely technical choreography of “non-lethal” force and its implementation for detaining people at borders.
Passengers denied entry at Roissy Airport in Paris are either immediately put back on the airplane or detained in the “waiting zone” pending their admission; though for many, pending their removal.Since the creation of border waiting zones in the early 1990s, it has remained impossible to obtain the figures for the number of people sent back directly on arrival without even being detained. The number of detainees at the border has constantly fallen as border controls have been externalized and outsourced to the airline companies themselves. In 2008 approximately 17,000 people a year were detained in the Roissy (Charles de Galle Airport) waiting zone, 10,000 of whom were eventually deported. Almost a decade later, in 2015, under 7,000 voyagers were detained in the waiting zone, 2,000 of whom were deported.
Those who are immediately denied entry on arrival often leave alone as ordinary passengers, those due to be deported from the waiting zone are escorted onto the aircraft by the Air and Border Police (PAF). The PAF do not usually use physical force if a person opposes deportation; unless, that is, the deportee is soon to be released on legal grounds (as the maximum twenty-one-day detention period comes to an end, or before a court hearing). In this event the authorities seek to deport the person urgently. Here, the deportation is carried out by a mobile escort unit specialized in this task, whose agents resemble the French National Riot Police (CRS) in both technique and appearance. The deportee is forcibly put on the airplane, if necessary with their arms and legs bound in Velcro straps, possibly gagged, and carried onboard horizontally. The deportee is escorted back to their country of departure (if known) otherwise country of origin or designated country of deportation, and handed over to the local police authorities. What takes place during this confrontation between non-consenting individuals and the police who enforce this administrative decision? How has society problematized this practice of forced removal, and how has it evolved?

Violence and the technification of force
On August 25, 1991, Mr. Aramum, a Sri Lankan asylum seeker, died after a deportation attempt. The two policemen in charge of his removal were prosecuted for homicide by the deceased’s family, with the judicial backing of defense of rights organizations. After a trial lasting almost ten years, the police officers were acquitted in June, 1999. But, in anticipation of the judgement (and preventatively defusing the political fallout of the possible condemnation these officers faced) a decree was issued on January 29, 1999, concerning the organization of the border police. Its Article 4 announced the creation of a police unit specializing in forced removals: the National Escort, Reinforcement, and Intervention Unit (UNESI). The UNESI is a “mobile” unit, with a specific recruitment procedure and training. By professionalizing the exercise of force and specially adapting it to forced removals, the state hereby sought to technify what had proved to be potentially fatal violence. The use of force was defined in a double standardization: removal procedures were codified, and the equipment used standardized (“preferably textile handcuffs, or metal ones if necessary, Velcro-type straps, and immobilization belts”).“Guidelines for the deportation by air of undocumented non-nationals,” (Instructions relatives à l’éloignement par voie aérienne des étrangers en situation irrégulière), Internal Document, Air and Border Police, June 17, 2003.
This administrative response reframed the question—of the legitimacy of state violence (and the “kill-ability” of the deportee) raised by Mr. Aramum’s death during deportation—as one of the use of violence-training and technical handling of deportable bodies; the exercise of force was sequentially divided into “professional technical responses.” These responses were established by reducing the deportee to a body-object, as recounted by an Ivoirian refugee held in the waiting zone, who underwent several removal attempts:
They always wake you at 4 a.m. They take you to a room, a CRS officer shuts the door, says ‘Have a seat, sir,’ and when you sit down, suddenly grabs you by the neck. One of them grabs you by the neck, they immobilize you and force you to bend down. With tape, they bind you here, around the thighs. Your arms are bound behind your back and then they carry you like, err, like they were carrying an object. And then they throw you in the back of a CRS van along with others. Whether you’re a man or a woman, they tie you up like that [...] drive in the direction the plane, take you through the back doors, and there, they’d carry us onto the plane again to try to deport us.Interview with an asylum seeker, 7 September 2007.
The creation of the UNESI followed the same process of “state handling of legitimate violence” as that which had led to the formation of the riot police: the creation of a special unit, the standardization of technical means, and a protocol to “codify action.Patrick Bruneteaux, Maintenir l’ordre. Paris: Presses de la Fondation Nationale de Sciences Politiques, 1996, p. 105.
Reframing bodily restraint within a physical economy seen as a question of “dosage” and application, this new reading of violence was inscribed in a fascinating bodily mechanism:
[T]he restraint and phonic regulation technique, whose 3 to 5-second application should not exceed 5 minutes, […] consists in the police officer placing his/her arm around the back of the deportee’s neck and around their throat, grabbing the latter’s clothing, while the second arm completes this ring, or ‘choke hold’ on the lateral side of the neck, and while the escort’s forehead presses on the deportee’s temple. It is hereby indicated that this technique physically destabilizes deportees by altering their sensory bearings, reduces resistance thanks to the force exerted on the head and the neck, and, through the phonic regulation, reduces their ability to shout. But, the risks of traumatic injury include ventilatory and/or circulatory distress, organ failure and risk of death. [...] In order to prevent the medical risks stemming from the deportee’s state of agitation and detainment on the plane, the practice of non-regulatory holds, and notably compression of the thorax, pinning down or pressure to the torso, and the trussing of limbs is strictly prohibited.“Guidelines for the deportation by air of undocumented non-nationals.”
This mechanism institutes the oxymoron of an exercise of force stripped of any notion of violence. Constraining a body that is forcibly put on a plane and kept there is transformed into a methodical and “regulated” neutralization operation. In the logic of this impersonal and conscientious mechanism (for the “dosage” is so as not to kill), the foreigner to be “removed” is a being subject to emotional outbursts, whose “agitated state” represents a danger. Subjected to the regulatory procedure for constraining the vital functions, the “agitated” body reacts, palpitates, and collapses. Deaths during deportation are the result of heart failure, and death certificates follow the schema of a violent and irrational exertion on the part of the deportee, cries, biting, and then the sudden collapse of the body, rolling back of the eyes, and frothing at the mouth: malaise and death.Rapport d’activités de la Commission nationale de déontologie de la sécurité, année 2003 [National Ethics and Security Commission Report]: The Observations and Recommendations of the Commission, after referral no. 2003–3, January 23, 2003, by Mrs. Nicole Borvo, Paris Senator, p. 123 onwards; and after referral no. 2003–4, January 30, 2003, by Mme. Nicole Borvo, p. 131 onwards. Interior Ministry Note, January 2003, cited in ibid., p. 143.
The rabid figure thus turns the exercise of state force into the “handling of violence.” Moreover, it has medical grounding: all the technical recommendations in the instruction manual are drawn up with the advice of doctors.Interior Ministry Note, January 2003, cited in ibid., p. 143.
Before removal, the police officers have the deportee medically examined; the waiting-zone doctor thus establishes a medical certificate, which the officers keep in the file of the deportee, who they then remove.

However, on closer examination this de-escalation and restraint operation, which is in reality a physical struggle between the police and deportee, re-poses the question of violence through the definition of “force” identified by Simone Weil:
Force [...] in the face of which human flesh shrinks back. Force is that which makes a thing of whoever submits to it. Exercised to the extreme, it makes the human being a thing quite literally, that is, a dead body. [...] The force that kills is summary and crude. How much more varied in operation, how much more stunning in effect is that other sort of force, that which does not kill, or rather does not kill just yet. It will kill for a certainty, or it will kill perhaps, or it may merely hang over the being it can kill at any instant; [...] From the power to change a human being into a thing by making him die there comes another power, in its way more momentous, that of making a still living human being into a thing.Simone Weil, “l’Illiade, ou le poème de la force” (1939), in Œuvres. Paris: Quarto Gallimard, 1999, p. 529–30; The “Iliad, or the Poem of Force,” trans. Mary McCarthy, first published in English in Politics, 1945.
How, then, to analyze the relationship between democracy and violence? What type of government is created in these operations involving handling bodies and lives, these operations to identify, sort, and exercise force, in which national—and ultimately political—lines are reconfigured?

Removal and retaliation

While on the plane, the police act before the eyes of the airline staff and at times the passengers, while whatever takes place before and after remains out of sight, free from witnesses, and technical guidelines. In the event of a failed escort, “professional technical recommendations” give way to brutal retaliation.
All five of us were meant to have been deported (we’d arrived together). [...] After being taken off the plane, we asked: ‘where are the women?’ [...] We saw they were in the van. The guys who removed them pissed on them in the van. The floor was all wet, I didn’t want to lie in it. [...] ‘Get in!’ They threw my case at me and beat me all the way from the plane back to the waiting zone. There were two of them. One punched me in the stomach, the other hit me over the head. They made me lie like this [lying on the floor with arms and head in the air], like doing sit-ups. They punched me in the head, and I was forced to stay like that all the way back to the waiting zone. They punched me in the stomach and all. It was the same for the women too. They beat us all over, kicking us with their regulation boots, there were five or six of them. They said it was my fault, they insulted us, calling us ‘niggers,’ ‘monkeys,’ things like that, and ‘go back to your prison, you blacks.Interview with an asylum seeker, 21 September 2007.
This unleashing of violence, thus far contained in technical procedure, is delocalized to places out of the public eye: the corridors of the airport, the van on the way back to the waiting area, or in the air terminal police station. A unionized steward thus recounts:
At one point the staff complained of the noise coming from the police station, people yelling, shouting, things like that. But we barely spoke out about this affair. We censor ourselves, are careful about what people tell us, even if everybody was convinced that beatings do go on in the cells. What really happens is after: when people have refused to leave, but get beaten at night in the cells. [...] but we don’t have a very clear idea of that. We have a clear idea when people show us a red, swollen eye, a face wound, or drop their pants to show us their testicles.Interview with a steward and airline company union leader, 24 June 2006.
The deportee is escorted directly to the aircraft to board before regular passenger boarding. Nowadays, the only witnesses to the violence inflicted while boarding, or especially while being taken off the plane if the deportation attempt is aborted, are security staff, baggage handlers, and so forth working in the aircraft hold. But the airlines subcontract these jobs out to private companies, the status of whose employees is more precarious than that of the flight crews. Union membership, notably, which has been instrumental in raising awareness and opposition to police escort practices, is minimal or non-existent among the runway staff. Moreover, authorization or non-authorization to work airside is given by the police department. Control is practiced behind closed doors, witnesses to which are employees whose job status is rendered precarious by the system of subcontracting out services. This recent configuration gives police practices a new confidentiality, there. It is here that the social opposition to airport detention was initially born, out of a coalition of rights defense organizations and staff witnesses to these realities (the Air and Border Police union, the Air France unions, the Magistrates union, and so forth). This behind-closed-doors violence—this blind spot where the tension pent up during “restraint” operations gets unleashed—has become hard to document and remains outside the public debate on police practices vis-à-vis deportees.

The creation of expellable bodies
Border power relations are not limited to the exercise of violence, be it technified or vented, but are more widely and systematically inscribed in a form of control that consists of prior avoidance of the use of force by reconfiguring the expellable bodies. This control is embedded in the network of spaces that comprise the airport terminal, police station, and detention center. Michel, after being detained a first time, was escorted to Turkey where he was denied entry and sent back to France, where, for the second time, he spent fifteen days in the waiting zone. He describes his first deportation as follows:
The first day, I refused. [...] When I was taken back to the terminal, as the flight to Istanbul was at 11 a.m., they said: ‘We’re taking you back to the hotel’ [the name the police give the detention center]. But I wasn’t sent back to my room, they kept me in one of the cells. When they called people for food, they left me in the cell. Taped up here, without being given any food, I was very weak, I couldn't sleep. [...] The next day, they came back again. This time they escorted me, taped up and all. This time I said: ‘I don’t refuse to go. So long as it’s to Istanbul, I’ll go.Michel is from Congo-Kinshasa.
As I was already weak, I didn’t want to be deported by force. I couldn’t resist. I got on the plane. […] This time, I didn’t make a noise, I was so weak, I stayed there quietly, but under escort, and taped up.Interview with Michel, asylum seeker, 13 May 2005.
In the “cell” to which Michel refers, deportees who have resisted their deportation in any way—stripping at the foot of the plane, defecating on themselves, or being violent to the escort or to themselves—are held in custody. “Restraint” now increasingly rare due to the shocking use of an alternative use of force which attempts, rather, to defuse the physical resistance of these bodies beforehand, making do with the lack of resources. The deportees eat badly and sleep little, but not because of objective accommodation conditions.On the contrary, living conditions in the waiting zone have evolved towards a standardization of treatment, with accommodation conditions improving considerably since 2003 and judged to be on the whole satisfactory by human rights organizations.
When the expellable body “goes rigid and opposes with all its force,” as in the case of Mr. Aramum, the aim is to preemptively exhaust and weaken it.
You know when you go to the airport you don’t come back any time soon. That is, when the plane has gone and people refused to board, they are left in the airport until late, until maybe 11 p.m. Then you are taken back to the hotel, you sleep a few hours, and at 3a.m., it’s obligatory wake-up time. They call the register. They call people’s names over the mic. Even if it doesn’t concern you, when the police shout, you wake up and there your heart starts beating: what’s going to happen to me? Where are they going to take me? [...] You haven’t slept, what state will you be in tomorrow? Morally, what state will you be in?Interview with an asylum seeker, 26 May 2005.
In this situation, the weakened body, no longer physically able to oppose deportation, may turn on itself.
On December 22 [2004], Gabriel, a rejected asylum seeker due to be deported to Ivory Coast (at the time in the middle of a civil conflict), slit his throat with his shaving foam can, which had escaped the vigilance of the police when searching his belongings. He was immediately taken to the waiting-zone infirmary where he received four stitches, while waiting to be transferred to hospital. After being seen by a psychiatrist, Gabriel’s state was judged ‘compatible with removal.’ With his medical certificate of compatibility, he was taken back to the waiting zone in the evening of December 22, and taken to the airport terminal to be deported the same evening at 11:20 p.m. Refusing to board, Gabriel was placed in solitary confinement in a small cell of the police station, until a second removal scheduled on Thursday, December 23 at 3:10 p.m. Refusing to board again, Gabriel was placed in confinement again, where he had to share his bed with a man brought back from being escorted, and who had defecated on himself. On the morning of the third removal, scheduled for December 24 at 4:10 p.m., Gabriel agreed to return to Ivory Coast. However, the deportation did not take place, as the plane was full.Field Journal, December 2004.
A Nigerian asylum seeker threw himself down the stairs of the infirmary. An Angolan asylum seeker stopped feeding her four-year-old daughter so that she would collapse. Concretely, this self-inflicted violence leads to hospitalization, which means being released. Yet can it be described as a resistance strategy? Can the body that exposes itself in this way be considered a “resource”? These situations disrupt all observations and analysis, forcibly establishing a horizon where it is no longer possible to think of alterity: the exercise of force that objectifies bodies; the self-abandonment that dispossesses them. The body thus becomes the point of application for border controls in an ambiguous control area, the limits of which are hard to define. Here, notions of “action” and “subject,” which found the relationship between power and the person on whom it is exerted, risk at any moment spiraling into an “out-of-bounds” where the democratic government experiments with its power to make “a still living human being into a thing.”