Round #9: Areas under surveillance

A panel discussion organised by BAL and EHESS
Thursday 18 January, 8 pm

Psychanalyse de l’aéroport international, 2016

Stéphane Degoutin et Gwenola Wagon

Thinking about the symbolic places where bodies are controlled

With Alexandre Rios-Bordes, an intelligence and national security historian (Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7 and member of the Institut Marcel Mauss Ehess-Cnrs), and artists Gwenola Wagon and Stéphane Degoutin

Designed as passage and transit zones, airports, railway stations and ports have increasingly embodied the terrorist threat since 2001. Surveillance rounds, spot checks, behaviour detection, surveillance cameras, sniffer dog inspections and cyber-security have been stepped up to ensure passengers’ security. Domestic security measures and states of emergency have turned those transit areas into places where bodies are controlled and put under surveillance as well as loci of fantasies where dreams of globalised circulation, unlimited consumption and neuroses mingle: forbidden behaviour, irregular situations, illicit items, constrained bodies, waiting, etc.

Artists Gwenola Wagon & Stéphane Degoutin and Alexandre Rios-Bordes, a historian specialising in intelligence and surveillance studies, discuss those issues at BAL during Surveillance Index-​Performing Books #1.

Gwenola Wagon & Stéphane Degoutin are artists and researchers. Their installations, films, and performances focus on post-Internet alternative lifestyles, work and its mutations, the Internet, the city and its potential and depictions of war. An installation and a book, Psychanalyse de l’aéroport international (Psychoanalysing the International Airport, 2016), analyses the international airport as a nexus of neuroses connected to the conflict between travel, surveillance and consumption.

Alexandre Rios-Bordes is a lecturer in contemporary history at the Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7 and a member of the Institut Marcel Mauss (EHESS-CNRS). He is currently working on a history of “national security” as a form of contemporary States’ intellectual, institutional and practical compromises with war. His latest book, Les savoirs de l'ombre: la surveillance militaire des étasuniennes, (Knowledge in the Shadows: the Military Surveillance of United States Populations), will be published by EHESS in 2018.

Moderator: Sylvain Bourmeau, journalist, producer of La Suite dans les idées on France Culture and associate professor at EHESS

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