Panel: If You See Something Say Something: Art, War, Surveillance and the Sustainability of Urgency in the Post 9/11 Era
In a culture of mass-mediated terror/ism, Ranciere’s notion of policing takes up from where Foucault’s discussion of Bentham’s ‘panoptican’ ends. For Ranciere, policing is not so much the ‘disciplining’ of bodies as a rule governing their appearing – it is “a configuration of occupations and the properties of the spaces where these occupations are distributed” (Jacques Ranciere, Disagreement, 1998, p.29). What happens then, when the powerful and ubiquitous strategies of ordering, controlling and policing are reversed – when the police are themselves policed; when the ‘voiceless’ begin to interfere in the rules of appearance? When Wael Ghonin created a Facebook page for Khalid Said, the 28-year-old Egyptian man who died after allegedly being beaten by police, the page became a rallying point for the January 25 protests against Mubarek’s regime in Egypt. When demonstrations started to flag, an interview with Ghonin, broadcast on You Tube, again galvanized protesters, who came back on the streets in large numbers in order to press for an end to the Mubarak regime. Similarly, many artists are increasingly turning to the strategies of sousveillance in order to explore and subvert existing power relations in a post 9/11 culture. By turning normative tools of surveillance and/or systems of dataveillance, back upon themselves, such artists seek to produce methods by which to counter-terrorise or deconstruct the mechanisms of political violence as a series of appearances in media events. This paper explores how, for artists like Rod Dickinson, Harun Farocki, Voina, Vision Machine or Ubermorgan, strategies of surveillance and control can be replayed in reverse and how the rules of appearance can be revisited and ‘detourned’.
- Dr. Bernadette Buckley joined the Department of International Politics at Goldsmiths (UK) in 2007. Before arriving at Goldsmiths, she was a lecturer in Contemporary Art Theory & Practice at the International Centre for Cultural & Heritage Studies, Newcastle University. Buckley’s research interests traverse a number of different fields. She has long since been interested in the complex relationships between art and war and/or art and terrorism. Simultaneously however, her interest in ‘Gallery Studies’ has led her to explore the relationship between ‘curating’ and ‘creating’ and to investigate the ontology of curating from the perspective of the ‘event’. In this vein also, she is also interested in the (de)differentiation between ‘contemporary art’, ‘heritage’, ‘education’ and other areas of practice. Additionally she has explored notions of (un)‘education’ both in ‘artistic’ and in ‘gallery’ practices. Dr. Buckley is a Board Member of Tate Papers and the Journal for Museum Education and a member of Polarts, the ECPR Standing Group for Politics and the Arts. She wrote the chapter, TERRIBLE BEAUTIES , for Art in the Age of Terrorism, eds. G. Coulter Smith & M. Owen, Paul Holberton, New York, 2005. The Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Iraq by P.?Stone, and J. Farchakh, eds., HMP: London, 2008, an edited collection of essays for which she wrote a chapter on the implications for contemporary artists, recently won the 2011 James Wiseman prize, from the Archaeological Institute of America.