Notes on texts/writers/thinkers

Bottici C. (2016) No Border Police, No Problems . Available at: (accessed: 27/5/16)

  • “But the states are incapable of handling the [migration] crisis precisely because they are the very source of it.”
  • “Notice here the anomaly of immigration law. As the “No one is illegal” manifesto reminds us, under all other laws, it is the act itself that is illegal, whereas in immigration law the person is treated as illegal. When you cross a border without proper documents you are not doing something illegal: you are becoming illegal yourself. As a consequence, illegal immigrants are dehumanized and thus reduced to non-persons: they exist outside of the law and thus outside of the law’s protection” – i.e Giorigio Agamben’s bare life.
  • “Humans have always migrated on earth, but they have not always lived under sovereign states. From a long-term historical perspective, the modern system of nation states cannot but appear as a relatively recent phenomenon.”
  • “Let us try to imagine what would happen by abolishing border control or at least the crime of undocumented immigration. There would be no need for detention centers, no clashes between migrants and police, no human smugglers, and possibly also less racism”


The Waiting (2014) BBC Radio 4, 19 October. Available at: []

  • waiting is inescapable
  • the verb ‘to wait’ suggest an activity, but waiting is passive. An active passivity.
  • waiting alters the perception of time and makes it seem longer
  • to keep someone waiting is to exert power over them
  • the worker, the prisoner and the lover are all kept waiting
  • prisoners cope with waiting more easily when they now when their release date is, however far away that may be. Psychological torture of not knowing.
  • the ‘macropolitics of waiting’ – who is kept waiting/how long/why?
  • Roland Barthes – Waiting is the ancient prerogative of power


Fairlie S. (2009) ‘A Short History of Enclosure in Britain’ The Land. Issue 7

  • o.o6% of the population own half of the land in Britain
  • ‘Enclosure’ – land fenced and portioned off, dispossession
  • “Attitudes towards enclosures in the past were always ideologically charged, but now any stance taken towards them betrays a parallel approach to the crucial issues of our time: the management of global commons and the conflict between the global and the local, between development and diversity.”
  • “private ownership of land, and in particular absolute private ownership, is a modern idea, only a few hundred years old”
  • “The open field system of farming, which dominated the flatter more arable central counties of England throughout the later medieval and into the modern period, is a classic common property system which can be seen in many parts of the world.”

Hall A. (2012) Border Watch: Cultures of Immigration, Detention and Control. London: Pluto Press.

Agamben ‘bare life’ “The camp is the place where people are ‘taken outside’ yet governed more tightly, where sovereign power intervenes directly on bodies and individual lives which do not have the normal protection of law, and where people become reduced to ‘bare life’. pg 13

detention centre as border zone – inside and outside. ‘thickening’ of borders. “The detention centre is, literally, the national border ‘stretched’ and displaced away from the territorial edge” pg 15 “spacialised isolating practices” – like yarl’s wood location “detention actively inscribes difference, distances and otherness.” pg15

“spaces of inexistence”. “inaudible and invisible” “the detention centre as border zone is the place where the relationship between inside and outside is constantly in question…” pg 16

Menozzi F. (2013) ‘Invasive Species and the Territorial Machine: Shifting Interfaces between Ecology and the Postcolonial.’ in ariel: A Review of International English Literature. 44(4) pp 181-202

interesting text that looked at the relationship between ecology and imperialism
Deleuze and Guattari’s Deterritorialisation
invasive species as example of overabundance – common and widespread
landscape change and introduction of invasive species as a tool for capitalism and something that aids but also inhibits conquest
interesting shifts in language, distinction between ‘settler’ and ‘conquerer’ changes meaning
This article made me think about ways in which I can talk about plants/landscape in conversation with social issues of mobility rather than as representative or allegory of them

Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos A. (2011) ‘Atmospheres of law: Senses, affects, lawscapes’, in Emotion, Space and Society, 7 (May 2013), pp 35-44.

“Simply put, the lawscape is the epistemological and ontological tautology of law and the city (Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, 2007b, 2008).”
“Law comes from within the controlled, their bodies of appearance and their corridors of movement, as post-colonial theory has taught us (Bhabha, 2005).”

Bauman Z. (1998) Globalization: the Human Consequences. Oxford: Polity.

Space wars chapter:

“No wonder that the legibility of space, its transparency, has turned into one of the major stakes in the modern state’s battle for sovereignty of its powers. In order to gain legislative, regulatory control over the patterns of social interaction and loyalties – the state had to gain control over the transparency of the setting…” pg30

“The manipulation of uncertainty is the essence and the primary stake in the struggle for power and influence inside every structured totality…” pg34

“opaque space” pg 49 – the desert is a kind of opaque space because of the difficulty in navigating, surveying and knowing it. This is mirrored in the networks of the migrants – an opaque structure that the powers want to unravel/reveal?

The database is a superpanopticon.

The synopticon – the many watch the few (reverse of pan) “In the Synopticon, locals watch the globals.” Pg53

Crampton J.W. and Eldon S. (eds) (2007) Space, Knowledge and Power. England: Ashgate Publishing Ltd. Available at: (accessed 18/1/16)

“Once knowledge can be analyzed in terms of region, domain, implantation, displacement, transposition, one is able to capture the process by which knowledge functions as a form of power and disseminates the effects of power.” Michel Foucault page 117

Murukami Wood D. (2007) ‘Beyond the Panopticon? Foucault and Surveillance Studies’ in Crampton J.W. and Eldon S. (eds) (2007) Space, Knowledge and Power. England: Ashgate Publishing Ltd. Available at: (accessed 18/1/16)

“Crucial here is not just the body itself, but the spatial and temporal distribution and regulation of the body: time was divided into smaller units to allow for total control of activity, likewise space was constructed so as to enclose but also to partition. Bringing these concepts together is the idea of productive ordering: the classification and arrangement of all kinds of properties and entities into ‘tableaux vivants’, to maximize their usefulness (148). Things had to be intelligible to be manageable, and manageable to be productive. ” pg 247
“Plague represents those things the ordering gaze seeks to overcome: abnormality, disorder, chaos, license…” pg 248 – ordering gaze – interesting
“It is ‘light’ power as opposed to the ‘heavy’ power of the monarch’s dungeon, because the prisoner, by watching himself, ‘becomes the principle of his own subjection’ ” pg 248 – we can see ‘heavy power’ in the aerial images of Ursula Biemann’s work though the shadow of the plane – the plane is a visible sign of surveillance in an area, the desert, that has no means of exerting a self-regulating power – such as cctv.

Sturken M. and Cartwright L. (2001) Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Discourse, the gaze and the other pp93-96

Foucault’s ‘discourse’ – the means of talking about a particular subject at a particular point in history
“Photography has often been a central factor in the functioning of discourses since the nineteenth century.” pg95 – this links to Ursula Biemann’s writing on the sustainability of images and how documentary/media coverage creates unsustainable and limiting modes of representation.
photography enabled surveillance and is used as a tool of regulation “Photographs thus often function to establish difference, through which that which is defined as other is posited as that which is not the norm or the primary subject.” pg 95
Power, Knowledge and Panopticism pp 96-100

3 central Foucault concepts: power/knowledge, biopower and panopticism.
the panopticon as a metaphor for the way power works
“Power thus is most effective when it is invisible and unverifiable…” pg99
“…the structure of surveillance, whether it is active or not, produces conforming behaviour.” pg 99
The gaze and the exotic pp100-106

photos of “exotic” people in faraway lands – “The subjects of these photographs are not named as individuals, rather they are identified as a particular category of people, established as other.” pg 103 lack of control of how they are represented
Derrida – binary oppositions are intrinsically linked to concepts of power and superiority.
unmarked/marked = the norm/the other
“…how to understand difference in terms that do not replicate concepts of dominance and superiority, must take place at the level of linguistic meaning as well as social and cultural meaning.” pg 104

Higgie J. (2011) ‘Talking Pictures’, Frieze Magazine (October) Available at: (accessed 3/12/15)

“For some time, Tangier was a big existential waiting room.” Yto barrada

JH Do you feel there is a gulf between the subjects of your work and the people who get to see it in a gallery? What are your thoughts on the ethics of representation in your work?

YB You’re suggesting that I represent disempowered, passive people in my work and that the art viewer is privileged, empowered. But the characters I represent aren’t the victims of some superior power: in their own way, they could be saboteurs. Even the men sleeping in public parks in my series ‘Sleepers’ (2006) may look like they’re dead but they’re only taking a nap. I don’t see passivity there. I am attentive to what lies beneath the surface of public behaviour. I am a big reader of Jonathan Swift. In public, those oppressed accept their domination, but they always question it offstage. The subversive tactics, strategies of class contestation and forms of sabotage used by the poor is what I try to locate. These characters could well distract you from the big picture, and it’s a challenge to maintain the right distance. I am not idealizing some kind of figure of everyday resistance. The big picture is a human disaster. The city is modernizing but the people’s needs are not at the centre of the decisions – the triumphalist liberalism of the choices made in our national infrastructure projects is quite blinding.

“There’s more resistance than meets the eye.”

Demos T.J. (2006) ‘Life Full of Holes’, Grey Room, 24, pp. 72-88

“Yto Barrada glimpses at life slipping away from law.” pg 72
blurred man with boat “This representational dislocation, the blurring of human being and boat that distances a man from his community, is the visual effect of a figure becoming the vanishing point of citizenship.” pg 72 vanishing point – merging of art/geography/life etc in figure
“How can one represent artistically a life severed from representation politically?” pg 73
“…rights are assigned arbitrarily, and thus unjustly, by virtue of one’s nationality. Whichever rights one enjoys one owes to the luck of the draw. ” pg 73
‘naked life’ – life stripped of nationality
“How can representation document naked life? The two terms might appear homologous: just as naked life is life stripped bare (severed from nationality), so, too, documentary representation is representation reduced to its essence (shed of aestheticization)” pp 75-76
“But what if to represent is to make absent?” pg 76
“In the “life full of holes” that Yto Barrada depicts, the rupture from political status brings about a troubling of representation, which is key to her project” pg 76 emphasis my own.
‘aterritoriality’ giorgio agamben
“The nation-state is the very power uniquely authorized to suspend law when it sees fit, creating a state of emergency—that zone of indeterminacy between law and nonlaw that opens a space for extrajudicial brutality (e.g., torture and executions)— that is now threatening to become the rule” pg 79

Barrada Y., Hütte F., Klumpp N., März C and Muracciole M. (eds) (2011) Yto Barrada: Riffs. Germany: Hatje Cantz

Enwezor O. (2011) ‘A Radiant Conflagration: (H’reg) On Burning and the Subjectivity of Photography in Yto Barrada’s Work’, in Barrada Y., Hütte F., Klumpp N., März C and Muracciole M. (eds) Yto Barrada: Riffs. Germany: Hatje Cantz. pp 21-32

look up Giorgio Agamben – Homo Sacer
“There is no pleasure in these images. They reveal violence – deaf, creeping violence that has become so much more tangible since the borders were closed.” Yto Barrada pg23
“On this frontier lies the burning body of desire and the oceanic body of water.” OE pg 23. Interesting use of language – like between humans and landscape in the word ‘body’.
On Barrada’s Strait Project: “… its principal focus is the political subjectivity of the photograph, the insistent pursuit to transform the presentness of the documentary image into eidetic structures of reference, and to question the limits of living in the shadow of deprivation.” pg 23 Eidetic: unusual vividness of an image in your head, as if actually visible. Is he saying that documentary images try to emulate subjective vision-as if you are there/seeing things as memory…..? Interesting thinking about orientalism – preconcieved ideas about people from other places etc.
“We already know that photography is a form of writing, a script that captures the evanescent as static and visible…” pg 24
Tunnel – Disused Survey Site for a Morocco-Spain Connection (2002) Yto Barrada…maybe an interesting work to write about – humans absent. “It is on this site that the figure of the migrant meets the shrinking ‘gut’ of the Strait (and by extention, the horizon of Migration).” pg 24
her work is not like classic documentary, “which turns the image into a cool tool of voyeurism” “The shallow distance between herself and her subjects lets Barrada create a safe zone of sorts…” Respectful distance. Spatial logic….think about the space between photographer and subject, relationship…
Beau Geste (2009) film showing men trying to keep a date tree upright/save it from falling down – because of a law in Morocco that says a piece of privately owned land that is public space can be sold for development if the natural forms on it die/are removed.”In this simple act, a complicated process of social vision and urban responsibility is activated. Here territory, landscape, architecture, development, and tourism unfold in Barrada’s vision of Tangier.” pg 30
Le Detroit- Avenue d’Espange, Tangier (2000) – concrete expanse as sea..?
“…portraiture becomes the means by which to humanize the landscape.” pg 31

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2012) Yto Barrada On Laziness As Resistance Available at: (Accessed 2/12/15)

  • Gibraltar – place where Africa and the southern tip of Europe meet
  • “…the story of a people who all want to leave.” dispossessed population – this has a consequence on how people live/their bodies etc
  • “The wall of lazy” – unemployed people ‘floating’-divorced from society/the future
  • “I’d say that the figures of men were in the same stage as a vacant lot, for me.” –  on the men in the work
  • ‘undesirable’ people when it comes to framing Morocco as a tourist attraction/money maker
  • “These bodies for me were sort of figures of resistance, they are not sad, they are not lost, they are not dangerous. They don’t fit and it’s good.”

Sontag S. (2003) Regarding the Pain of Others. New York: Picador [Available at:

” To the militant, identity is everything. And all photographs wait to be explained or falsified by their captions” pg 11
“Photographs of an atrocity may give rise to opposing responses. A call for peace. A cry for revenge. Or simply the bemused awareness, continually restocked by photographic information, that terrible things happen” pg 13 -photographs/documents of atrocities don’t have a singular purpose and their message is corruptible.
“And the pity and disgust that pictures like Hicks’s inspire should not distract you from asking what pictures, whose cruelties, whose deaths are not being shown.” pg 13
being a spectator of war is part of the modern experience “Wars are now also living room sights and sounds.”pg 17 “If it bleeds, it leads”
“…a photograph has only one language and is destined potentially for all. “pg 18
“For the photography of atrocity, people want the weight of witnessing without the taint of artistry, which is equated with insincerity or mere contrivance. Pictures of hellish events seem more authentic when they don’t have the look that comes from being “properly” lighted and composed, because the photographer either is an amateur or—just as serviceable— has adopted one of several familiar anti-art styles. By flying low, artistically speaking, such pictures are thought to be less manipulative—all widely distributed images of suffering now stand under that suspicion—and less likely to arouse facile compassion or identification. ” pg 23

Demos T. J. (2013) The Migrant Image. USA: Duke University Press
“…this book investigates a series of key questions regarding the relation between politics and aesthetics, mediums and mobility, socioeconomic disparity and emancipatory artistic promise that sheds further light on globalization’s crises.” Xiv prelude.
Steve McQueen, Emily Jacir, Yto Barrada, Hito Steyerl, Ahlam Shibli – Migreurop
Looks at “aesthetic innovations” that respond to crises of globalization, “critical documentary strategies and new modelings of affect” – how the medium responds and relates to the topic. xiv prelude
“…artists confront geopolitical conflicts by also throwing documentary conventions into crisis.” Xvi
steve mcqueen western deep
“…the truth-value of the image has been newly placed in doubt.” xvii
“By engaging the critical interval between frames, between geographies, between the subject of representation and the space of cinematic projection, McQueen’s films construct a perceptual caesura between viewer and image that engenders the potential for a flight both from earlier documentary standards that served to reify victimhood and toward a singular expression that offers a just distribution of appearance.” Xvii
Hito Steyerl – Novemeber (2004) video essay about friend Andrea Wolf/ martyred kurdish freedom fighter – interesting part about when she was on a protest and was supposed to be filming but was told to hold a candle and join in- footage was used on tv and she became the image of a mournful protestor, but in reality wasn’t involved. Her image slipped out of her control. “…emerging conditions of globalization’s image regime, to be one of virtual drift and endlessly changing contexts.” xvii
Ahlam shibli
Otolith group nerves rerum? – film, opacity – representation of refugee camp…
“…her work opens up the transformative potential of dislocation and decenters the very notion of national identity…” xix
“Reciprocal extraterritoriality” – simultaneous dislocation of self and other – Agamben
“ethnographic gaze” xx
edouard glissant – opacity of the image
“…the book not only engages and draws on artistic practices that construct imaginative possibilities that await potential realization, but sees those works as having the power to mobilize the energy that will help bring about reinvented possibilities.”
Modernity as exile
“…travel also holds the capacity to unleash a creative flight into the experience of multiplicity beyond the fixed categories of identities, mediums, and conventions.” Pg3
Hannah Arendt positioned refugees not as victims but “the vanguard of their peoples” pg4
In the refugee “we glimpse a future beyond the nation-state and its destructive exclusion of noncitizens.” Pg4
“Homogenizing tendencies of globalization” pg 4
on mona hatoum’s measures of distance: “…this work defeats essentialism through its very structure, even while it commits to the particularities of ethnicity, race, and gender that define the lived circumstances of the subject within a heterogeneous cultural frame.” Because it’s not just text or film or script etc.
Brussels ARGOS exhibition – No Place – Like Home: Perspectives on Migration in Europe (2008) – reject the romance of the nomad, “expose the circumstances of those excluded from its privileged realm…” contest media which polarizes and pits citizens and refugees against each other
“The challenge of the documentary treatments found commonly in such shows is therefore to avoid reaffirming the excluded as victimized objects of representation, which ironically tend to reiterate the relations of inequality they are otherwise trying to contest.” Pg17 – this is done by subjective/reflexive? work, multiple screens that create a participatory physical mobility
page 17 and 18 are interesting.
“Far more radical is universalizing the migrant as the condition of being human, and determining a politics of equality on that basis.” Pg19
^^this gives migration agency and autonomy, redefines idea of citizenship – job of artists to imagine alternatives that could produce material effects… pg20
page 95: “…the experiential conditions of the refugee have already seeped into everyday life. Spatial insecurity, perceptual disorientation…”

“Refugees are the price we pay for a globalised economy in which commodities – but not people – are permitted to circulate freely.”


Said E. (1978. This edition 2003) Orientalism. London: Penguin

“Orientalism once again raises the question of whether modern imperialism ever ended, or whether it has continued in the Orient since Napoleon’s entry into Egypt two centuries ago.” Preface xvi.
“…Orientalism as a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient.” Pg 3
Levi Strauss: “Science of the concrete” pg. 53
“Order is achieved by discriminating and taking note of everything, placing everything of which the mind is aware in a secure, refinable place, therefore giving things some role to play in the economy of objects and identities that make up an environment.” Pg. 53
many objects/places/times are “assigned roles and given meanings that acquire objective validity only after the assignments are made. This is especially true of relatively uncommon things, like foreigners, mutants or ‘abnormal’ behaviour” pg. 54
“If the mind must suddenly deal with what it take to be a radically new form of life…the response on the whole is conservative and defensive.” Pg. 59
“…contemporary learned Orientalists, whose subject is not so much the East itself as the East made known, and therefore les fearsome, to the Western reading public.” Pg. 60
“…the limited vocabulary and imagery that impose themselves as a consequence” pg. 60
Said E. (?) ‘Invention, Memory and Place’, Critical Inquiry 26(2) (Winter, 2000), pp. 175-192

Recollection, confession and collective memory
“official memory” pg 176
“Memory and its representations touch very significantly upon questions of identity, of nationalism, of power and authority.” Pg. 176
“Because the world has shrunk- for example, communications have been speeded up fantastically- and people find themselves undergoing the most rapid social transformations in history, ours has become an era of a search for roots, of people trying to discover in the collective memory of their race, religion, community, and family a past that is entirely their own, secure from the ravages of history and a turbulent time.” Pg 177
Said speaks about the creation of “tradition” as a tool for maintaining authority and creating identities for the ruler and ruled.
“…the art of memory for the modern world is both for historians as well as ordinary citizens and institutions very much something to be used, misused, and exploited, rather than something that sits inertly there for each person to possess and contain.” Pg 179
geography “as a socially constructed and maintained sense of place”. Pg 180
on globalisation: “It is a spatial, geographical designation signifying the global reach of a powerful economic system.”
“geography can be manipulated, invented, characterised quite apart from a site’s merely physical reality.” Geography exists the memories, cultures and traditions of people and can instil a sense of belonging/identity even in people who have never been there. Places have connotations/idealizations/depictions that can be very different from what it actually feels like to live there.
Definition of imaginative geography: “the invention and construction of a geographical space…with scant attention paid to the actuality of the geography and its inhabitants- but also on the mapping, conquest and annexation of territory…” pg 181
“dialectic of memory over territory” – different memories/experiences of the colonisers/colonised etc. pg181
anglo-indian literature – “…reexcavating and recharting the past from a postcolonial point of view, thereby erecting a new postimperial space.”pg 182
“…the gradual triumph of a propertied class, which itself seems to stand for the nation at its best.”
“…myths of the social geography…” pg 182
in the case of Israel/Palestine – two different, competing narratives/histories. 1948 stands for freedom in the mind of jews and the opposite for Palestinians. “Perhaps the greatest battle Palestinians have waged as a people has been over the right to a remembered presence and, with that presence, the right to possess and reclaim a collective historical reality…” pg 184
“In the case of Israel, the narrative’s main point was that Zionism’s goal was to restore, re-establish, repatriate, and reconnect a people with its original homeland.” – ironically this is what they took away from the Palestinians.
“…modern day Zionists said that their coming to Palestine turned an ‘empty’ desert land into a garden.” – denies the “pluricultural identity of the place” pg 187
“making the desert bloom” pg187 – interesting phrase – cultivation=civilisation. Triumph over nature.
From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters – propaganda book that said that Palestinian identity was a fiction. Book has disappeared…
Jewish only segregations and “fortress like housing projects around the city of Jerusalem, were intended visibly to illustrate Israeli power, additions to the gentle landscape that signified aggression, not accommodation and acculturation.” Pg 189
“…The Law of Return, entitles any Jew anywhere the right to immediate Israeli citizenship, whereas Palestinians whose families were driven out in 1948 are allowed no such right at all.”

Mitchell W.J.T (ed) (1994) Landscape and Power Chicago: The University of Chicago Press

• “The aim of this book is to change ‘landscape’ from a noun into a verb. It asks that we think of landscape, not as an object to be seen or a text to be read, but as a process by which social and subjective identities are formed.” Introduction pg 1. Interesting idea of ‘landscape’ as something active.

Mitchell W.J.T (?) ‘Imperial Power’ in Mitchell W.J.T (ed) (1994) Landscape and Power Chicago: The University of Chicago Press pp 5-34

• “Is it possible that landscape, understood as the historical ‘invention’ of a new visual/pictorial medium, is integrally connected with Imperialism.” Pg 9
• “At a minimum we need to explore the possibility that the representation of landscape is not only a matter of internal politics and national or class ideology, but also an international, global phenomenon, intimately bound up with the discourses of imperialism.” Pg 9
• “…the posing of a relation between imperialism and landscape is not offered here as a reductive model that can settle the meaning of either term [landscape and imperialism], but as a provocation to an inquiry.” Pg 10
• “Is landscape painting the ‘sacred silent language’ of Western imperialism…?” pg 13
• landscape as a “vast network of cultural codes” pg13
• “…landscape is already artifice in the moment of its beholding, long before it becomes the subject of pictorial representation.” Pg 14
• “…embedded in a tradition of cultural signification and communication, body of symbolic forms capable of being invoked and reshaped to express meanings and values.” Pg 14. Different cultures assign meanings/importance/histories to different plants – how can they act as signifiers in a piece? How might different audiences interpret them? Do plants exist outside of language? New language? Break language boundaries?
• Landscape can be commoditised and sold – ‘package tours’ “…an object to be purchased, consumed, and even brought home in the form of souvenirs such as post cards and photo albums.” Pg 15 (unit 9??)
• “As a fetishized commodity, landscape is what Marx called a ‘social hieroglyph’ an emblem of the social relations it conceals.”
• “The standard picturesque landscape is especially pleasing to the eye because it typically places the observer in a protected, shaded spot (a ‘refuge’)…” pg16 The viewer is safe within the frame.
• “The Enclosure movement and the accompanying dispossession of the English peasantry are an internal colonisation of the home country, its transformation from what Black calls ‘ a green and pleasant land’ into a landscape, an emblem of national and imperial identity.” Pg17
• landscape is precious now and to be conserved in dedicated wilderness areas, parks, etc, to be protected from us and by us.
• “Like imperialism itself, landscape is an object of nostalgia in a postcolonial and postmodern era, reflecting a time when metropolitan cultures could imagine their destiny in an unbounded ‘prospect’ of endless appropriation and conquest.” Pg20
• On Israel/Palestine/The Holy Land: “…its landscape is a palimpsest of scar tissue…” pg20
• Naked women in landscape paintings: “…a titillating bit of soft-core colonial pornography, an emblem of native ‘nature’ opening herself for easy access to the imperial gaze…”
• “….I was assured (1) that the ancient terraces cut into the hillsides around Jerusalem were excavated by the ancient Israelites to catch the rain and ‘make the desert bloom’, and (2) that the presence of these terraces constitutes a prima facie basis for the legitimacy of Israel’s claim to the land, on the twin grounds of prior occupation and agricultural improvement.” Pg27
• “…the pastoral expresses nostalgia for a Self that is now the colonised Other…” pg28
• “We have known since Turner – perhaps since Milton- that the violence of this evil eye is inextricably connected with imperialism and nationalism. What we know now is landscape itself is the medium by which this evil is veiled and naturalized. Whether this knowledge gives us any power is another question altogether.” Pg30

Joseph M. (?)‘Globalization, Modernity, and the Avant-Garde’ in Mathur S. (2011) The Migrant’s Time, Rethinking Art History and Diaspora. Massachusetts: The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Pp 32-55

The opening paragraphs talk about ‘shock’ – idea for writing in unit 9? History of ‘tough’?
“The history of shock implodes with the World Trade Center and U.S strategy of ‘shock and awe’ unleashed on Baghdad. After Hisroshima and Nagasaki, shock is not ethically possible.” Pg 32
“…the sanitized madness of the bomb.” Pg33 – interesting use of language – medical, CLEAN, swift and merciless
on photography/film/architecture/design i.e not painting “These mediums capture the dislocation of modern individualism in the nations of Europe and their extended empire.” Pg 34
I stopped reading this because I thought it wasn’t entirely relevant.

George Prochnik interviews Eyal Weizman for e-flux.

…he established the field of “Forensic Architecture,” which uses sophisticated tools of contemporary architecture to gather evidence about armed conflict for international trials, human rights reports, advocacy groups, and truth commissions.

Forensic Architecture’s practice is unique in its use of evidence as a starting point for raising a host of theoretical and historical questions about the intersection of contemporary violence and the built environment.

“There is a long history of debates about what defines the threshold of the desert. The designation was important because both for the Ottoman Empire and later for the British one it delineated a zone that, although nominally within the imperial “territories,” lay outside their full control and was partially autonomous.” Eyal weizman

The desert is an ‘ambiguously defined zone’ that shifts and changes over time.

“This entangled colonial relationship to the climate demonstrates what I consider to be the most fundamental omission in the current debate around climate change. Even the most militant environmentalists still regard climate change as the “collateral of history” — the unintended byproduct of industrial development, trade, and transport; whereas I see it as the intention, the very telos, of the colonial project.” (telos=aim, goal).

“Do civilian casualties not sometimes serve a military purpose, becoming, for instance, a component in a policy of deterrence?” – think about this in relation to Judith Butler??

He argues that climate change has been a tool of colonizers from the beginning – taking land and make it ‘productive’, changing the climate to suit needs – more rain, more heat etc. Burning forests to make it rain in other areas. Industrial revolution had a hand to play in climate change. “climatic transformation was the precondition for the expansion of capitalism.” – make the desert bloom?

Looking at climate map – logic that you cannot grow cereals without 200mm of rainfall. “They’ve developed an inescapable circular logic: it is impossible to cultivate south of this line, therefore the people living south of it must be nomads (which they’ve not been for generations), and nomads have no land rights. The Bedouins, of course, cultivated in the area for hundreds of years, but that agricultural activity was imperceptible by colonial scales of measurement.” – logic that cultivation=civilization

Butler J. (2004) Precarious Life, The Powers of Mourning and Violence London: Verso.

Post 9/11 – “One insight that injury affords is that there are others out there on whom my life depends, people I do not know and may never know.” Preface xii
“I also consider there how certain forms of grief become nationally recognized and amplified, whereas other losses become unthinkable and ungrievable.” Preface xiv – link to how Jeremy Corbyn has been demonized for saying that bin laden should not have been killed – it’s an issue that is emotionally fraught.
“Some lives are grievable, and others are not; the differential allocation of grievability that decides what kind of subject is and must be grieved, and which kind of subject must not, operates to produce and maintain certain exclusionary conceptions of who is normatively human: what counts as a livable life and a grievable death.” Preface xiv
Guantanamo bay isn’t classified as a prison and doesn’t consider itself bound by Geneva convention laws – “As a result, the humans who are imprisoned in Guantanamo do not count as human; they are not subjects protected by international law. The dehumanization effected by ‘indefinite detention’ makes use of an ethnic frame for conceiving who will be human, and who will not.” Preface xvi
Those in america who speak out against Israel are automatically accused of being anti-semitic. See also bicycle diaries.
“The public sphere is constituted in part by what cannot be said and what cannot be shown.” Preface xvii – what do artists not show? What does the media show and not show? How are they selective?
“…certain kinds of subjects appear as viable actors.” Xvii – link to use of English actors in george barber’s fences make senses.
“Those who remain faceless of whose faces are presented to us as so many symbols of evil, authorize us to become senseless before those lives we have eradicated, and whose grievability is indefinitely postponed.” Xviii
“It is precisely because one does not want to lose one’s status as a viable speaking being that one does not say what one thinks.” Xix. Shaming leads to people not speaking out.


Biemann U. (2003) Geography and the Politics of Mobility. Available at: (Accessed: 27/10/15)

“One of the recurring questions will be how the human trajectories and the traffic of signs and visual information form particular cultural and social landscapes and inscribe themselves materially in the terrain”

“Geography as a discipline of geophysics is not what interests us here, but the postmodern understanding of geography as a distinct mode of producing and organizing knowledge regarding the way natural, social and cultural conditions relate to one another.”

boundaries, connectivity, and transgression.

The exhibition space may be looked at as one such transient location whose meaning is generated through the passage of people and the appearance of temporary projects, which may inscribe themselves, over time, in form of a program, into the space. None of the works represent closed positions, they rather open up the networks within which they have been generated and of which they are an operative part. Each one of the projects gives insight into a system, which is as much a system of navigation than a system of representation. —hmm interesting, the space of the gallery….meaning maker…?

a visual language, which can speak of a hyper-mobile, capitalized, gendered body needs to be invented.

Electronic landscapes have increasingly become the surface for action. Besides grasping the material topographies of the earth, satellite images also record the invisible elements of atmospheric, underwater and subterranean formations, as implemented recently in the military reconnaissance of the cave network of Al Quaida Representing a traversable space, satellite images are no longer the map of a static moment in time but a dynamic geography of moving and changing surfaces over which a steady flow of signals and data is recording human migration, refugee movements and border crossings

Even the most technologically produced images will be filtered, at the moment of interpretation, by human fantasies, desires and projections

cyberfeminist web project womanspacework


Remote sensing – Ursula biemann film

If the academic discipline of geography as been unable to represent the major changes that have occurred in the post-colonial, post-migratory and post-communist world, can art rewrite geography’s relations with place and mobility? This is one of the questions asked by Irit Rogoff in her enlightening book Terra Infirma, which has been a steady companion in the development of this project

The main purpose of the exhibition, then, is not to show final artworks but to give insight into a networked art and intellectual community who shares a common concern with the European politics of border closure, with the new forms of consolidation of power and the gendered shifts in the global labor.

Irit rogoff…that terror and its forms of representation is a highly gendered matter where concepts of femininity and terrorism have to be resignified.


creating a countergeography that looks at the modes of resistence against borders and boundaries, image regimes enforced by Europe. Looks at organisation and figures that play roles in the system of migration.
‘anti-spectacular’ multiple perspectives
complexity of installation, multi screen – visitor builds own journey
‘spatial experience’ that mirrors migration
running text – network technology – sahara migration system is also a network
ariel photographs, mobile architectures, found skeletons of boats 200 miles into the desert!

Geography and the politics of mobility:

“These sites and non-sites speak of a rearticulation of the relations between social and territorial conditions.” UB
MAPPING – both of the landscape and of social relations “forms of collaboration and temporary alliance.”
“traces the navigation of people though material as well as electronic terrain”
“electronic landscape” – electronic communications network as well as satellite landscapes/geo info systems

Port City book – Dispersing the viewpoint Ursula Biemann

Zygmunt Bauman – Space Wars – mobility would not be a privilege and a formidable power resource, were it not complemented by the territorial fixity of the powerless.
Mobility as a prime resource
Comparison of the desert to ocean “Both seas, water and sand, are excruciating to cross, and merciless.” UB
“Sahara Chronicle has no intention to construct a homogenous, overarching, contemporary narrative…”
videos are data, no narrative, no voice over or authoritative voice – mirrors the migratory networks in it’s exhibition form that strings together films and text and images
“Invisibility is an invaluable resource in the undercover transportation racket” – idea of invisibleness, not seeing, surveillance – link to idea of panoptic vision?
“Indeed many migrants break entirely from older notions of place, coming to embody the kind of boundlessness….that needs to be concealed and rigorously disavowed because it has created a disorder in global civil society by pushing an immense liminal zone into a neatly mapped post-colonial order…”
on the media: only ever captures failed journeys, interceptions –“ …a permanent still of the raft of the medusa”
“In cinematographic language this fixed spatial determination is simply called a ‘a shot’, suggesting that the real is no longer represented but targeted.”
On tv: “…this particular shot becomes the symbol that encapsulates the meaning of the entire drama.”
Idea of sustainability – migration in Sahel is in many cases linked to not being able to sustain a living there because of desertification. This is then linked to the sustainability of images: “As social relations, representations constitute meaning in one place that is locked into signification in relation to another.”
I think the use of the surveillance imagery says as much about the viewer as it does about the subject – the development of this expensive technology that is used to exert power and control – the aerial viewpoint, godlike, dominant.
The dominance of certain images and voices stops others’ from being seen/heard – a form of monoculture “…sustainable representation would always favour heterogeneity and plurality over monoculture.” (here’s a link to my interest in plants and landscape, biodiversity etc – think about the garden in motion)

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