Marchandage politique can be loosely translated to political bargaining. This tactic is often employed to distract the body politic from humanitarian, mineral or economical crisis by offering alternative spectacles as a distraction. Free trade, the Bou Craa phosphate mine, Telecom market access, self-determination rights, and EU fishery policy are some of the elements obfuscated by the marchandage politique at the core of the externalisation and hyper-technification of the European border. Border surveillance technologies are producing newer and subtler modes of 'seeing' and 'knowing' reliant in automatic identification systems, remote sensing, system of systems architectures, and machine learners. This automated gaze remotely controls and executes human and nonhuman bodies by performing modes of power, endorsing innovation, structuring international stewardship and the administration of human rights. A distinctive Euro-futurism is emerging, which celebrates border surveillance technology, war on the non-European bodies and the financial acceleration of the military-industrial complex. This Euro-vision conflates spectacle with boredom, evidence with anecdotes, witnessing with deception, and ground-truths with counterfeit-paradises. Marchandage politique requires strategies of unpacking that we will examine together with the ecology of practices embedded in political distraction. This will namely be done through the method of dé collage, a critical charting of the affective modes of power entangled in a particular subject. Dé collage is an artistic method which inscribes itself within critical technical practice, concerned with uncovering obfuscated material conditions of production. Participants will be introduced to research methods and forms of research-led practice, and its spatial materialisation.
As a starting point, the group will perform a dé collage of key factors embedded in surveillance technology and migrant flows, critically tracing links between political, climactic, technological and legal aspects of the question. As a case study we will examine migration politics of the EU's externalised borders in the Gibraltar region. From this collective critical chart, areas of interest will emerge. Groups of 3-4 will form around these areas and this research will be materialised into a proposal (mock-up) for an installation. Proposals will respond to the research and include how the response engages with the space in which it would be displayed.
Case Study #1: Morocco Western Sahara Berm
Case Study #2: Bou Craa Phosphate Conflict
Case Study #3: Conflict tomatoes
*Euro-vision, or the Making of the Automated Gaze is a collaboration between King's College London's Department of Digital Humanities and artist duo FRAUD, brokered and supported by the Cultural Institute at King's in partnership with Somerset House Studios.