Tag Archives: security

State of Exception

The semiotics–the poetry–of the phrase “9/11” increasingly strikes me. For one, it removes the year from the date, which puts it in a continual, circular temporarily (there is always a recent and an upcoming September) rather than a linear annual one (by now 2001 seems so far away to my students!). The effect is that we are in constant state of 9/11-ness and always will be, rather than being able to see it as a moment, in the past, that we can move beyond.  This is my understanding, and probably one of the most useful ways into, what many people mean by the state of exception.

State of Exception
This image is taken from the exhibition State of Exception, a collaboration between artist Richard Barnes and anthropologist Jason De Leon. Through objects found in the desert, the project explores the experience of crossing the U.S./mexico border illegally.

GPS, trash, security and the scope of the human

I came across a new interesting project that entails affixing GPS devices on individual pieces of trash.  it’s probably best if I let them speak for themselves:

index-1Imagine a future where immense amounts of trash didn’t pile up on the peripheries of our cities: a future where we understand the ‘removal-chain’ as we do the ‘supply-chain’, and where we can use this knowledge to not only build more efficient and sustainable infrastructures but to promote behavioral change. In this future city, the invisible infrastructures of trash removal will become visible and the final journey of our trash will no longer be “out of sight, out of mind”.

Elaborated by the SENSEable City Lab and inspired by the NYC Green Initiative, TrashTrack focuses on how pervasive technologies can expose the challenges of waste management and sustainability. Can these same pervasive technologies make 100% recycling a reality?

TrashTrack uses hundreds of small, smart, location aware tags: a first step towards the deployment of smart-dust – networks of tiny locatable and addressable microeletromechanical systems.These tags are attached to different types of trash so that these items can be followed through the city’s waste management system, revealing the final journey of our everyday objects in a series of real time visualizations.

The project is an initial investigation into understanding the index-2‘removal-chain’ in urban areas and it represents a type of change that is taking place in cities: a bottom-up approach to managing resources and promoting behavioral change through pervasive technologies. TrashTrack builds on previous work of the SENSEable City Lab in its exploration of how the increasing deployment of sensors and mobile technologies radically transforms how we understand and describe cities.

via Trash | Track.

Now there’s a lot that could be said about this project, but partly what I find so interesting is the use of what were originally a set of security techniques (think Compstat and ankle bracelets for parolees under house arrest) used to not only provide a more livable future (the fellas over at Vital Systems Security might even call it “flourishing”) but shift the spatiality of human life–what would/does it mean to think of ourselves not as relatively narrowly bounded physical objects but as nodes of extending networks of activity which have the ability to determine life itself?

Critical (Bio)security

The weight of a summer course, cross-country move and the need to expand the “Publications” portion of my CV is upon me, but even still I’m working towards formulating a more or less coherent instigation for an anthropology of liberalism (look for that, probably via On the Assembly of Things in the upcoming week or so).  Until then:

Paul Rabinow of the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center, discussed the potential risks of insufficient public dialogue in more specific terms.

“Given the access to this material through the internet, there are unquestionably going to be accidents and malicious uses. That’s a given,” he said.

“But then what? What is the reaction to that going to be? Shut down biology? That’s what Dick Cheney would have done. I don’t think the biology community is prepared with answers to that question yet. But they need to be.”

via The Great Beyond: ‘Shiny happy biology’. (subscription required)

Transatlantic Perspectives on the Local Pursuit of Intelligence at UIUC

Here’s the program for a conference on policing immigrant communities that I’ll be participating in at UIUC.  The text here’s via Legal Theory Blog, but you can also find it at ESQ Blog.me:

“Transatlantic Perspectives on the Local Pursuit of Intelligence”

April 2-3, 2009

University of Illinois College of Law

Conference Organizers: Jacqueline Ross, University of Illinois College of Law, and Thierry Delpeuch, Centre National de Recherche Scientifique

Jointly sponsored by the University of Illinois College of Law; the University of Illinois College of Law’s Program in Criminal Law and Procedure; The University of Illinois Police Training Institute; the University of Illinois European Union Center; the United States Embassy in France; the Ministry of the Interior of France (Délégation à la prospective et à la stratégie); the Agence Nationale de Recherche; and France’s Centre National de Recherche Scientifique

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