Biometric and surveillance technologies make everyone a suspect of no specific charge. They are theprinciples of measure and classification applied to skin contours, eye, bone, gait, voice, affect,comportment. They are the border guard's question of “Halt, who goes there?” – the interrogative whichseeks identification as the condition of crossing – multiplied and (post)industrialised. Recognitiontechnologies surmount Orwell's cherished distinction between public and private spaces, all the way downinto the body, internalising the citizen's yearning for that distinction's resurrection, as the re-privatisationof dissent and difference. They are supposed to make one long to pass, to belong as a good citizen might.Even so, as the high-tech offspring of phrenology and eugenics, bundled as security doctrine, the mostnotable features of biometrics and surveillance are the scandals of (sometimes lethal) misrecognition, theircost, and their remarkable failure. Certain identification is recurrently disoriented by movement. Someone grimaces, another turns around, or moves just a little, runs too fast, speaks through the fog of a blockednose, fidgets nervously, walks on. Racial profiling, for all its aggressive materiality, remains a discretionary and actuarial operation. Movements can only be captured as data or image after they occur. What makesbodies unlike things is where the technologies of recognition falter.
The world's largest police training ground is situated among the green and pleasantries of Gravesend, Kent.Around 1,000 square miles of the Californian desert is given over to modelling the warzones of the MiddleEast. Here, as with other police/military training environments, they tackle calamity in an amusement park of unrest, insurgency and its abatement, architectures both detailed and artful, designed solely for thepurposes of being conquered and reconquered. As the accessories of the doctrine of preemption, thesespaces are accompanied by a growing number of university research laboratories which engineerpreliminary superstructures suspended in conjectural disaster, or simulate emergency landings andtraining flight paths under fake duress, or teach of non-linear dynamics and Deleuzo-Guattarian warmachines. These arcade-labs of war prepare for conflict under the principle of continuous adaption, trainflexible military units moving not only to protect boundary lines but through terrains marked by the threatof catastrophe. These are instructional handbooks of pre-emption made manifest as simulated cities, mallsand oilfields, aiming to transform soldiers from grunts to self-managed risk-assessors, to move the borderwith them through chaotic environments. Seeking to relocate warfare within the paradoxical condition of pre-empting the emergence of the unpredictable they, as with recognition technologies, are elaborately armed and lethal signals of failure.
Mitropoulos, “Borders 2.0 – Future, Tense” | Page 3