radars and fences, conference at nyu, march 6-7

Radars & Fences
When the Paradigms of Discipline and Control Collide

Conference
March 6-7
New York University

http://blogs.nyu.edu/blogs/md1445/rf/
To RSVP: http://www.nyu.edu/media.culture/events

Radars and fences, satellites and walls, networks and bunkers. Two
different sets of technologies confront us: the former epitomize the
selective and flexible character of what Gilles Deleuze termed the
“societies of control”; the latter embody the “old” disciplinary
paradigm based on separation, physical mass containment, and restriction
of the freedom of movement. Most of the times control and discipline
coexist ad reinforce each other; sometimes they seem to collide. This is
due to a variety of far-reaching factors and transformations occurring
in the productive sphere.

As a matter of fact, it is the very structure of the network society,
with its decentralization of tasks and constant multiplication of
electronic eyes that threatens the opacity of physical and immaterial
bunkers. By looking at the grey areas where control and discipline,
transparency and secrecy, democracy and the state of exception overlap
and collide, Radars and Fences provide a cross-disciplinary platform
whereby researchers, artists, journalists, filmmakers, and activists can
negotiate new and critical positions.

(conference schedule and more below, thanks to Sarah Stonbely for the info)

Conference Schedule

Thursday, March 6, 5:00-8:30pm
NYU School of Law
40 Washington Square South
Vanderbilt Hall
Room 206

5:00 – 5:15 pm Welcome

* Ted Magder, NYU Council for Media & Culture; Chair, Department of
Media, Culture, and Communication, NYU Steinhardt

5:15 – 5:30 pm Conference Overview

* Marco Deseriis, doctoral candidate, Department of Media, Culture, and
Communication, NYU Steinhardt

5:30 – 8:00 pm

Panel: The Military between Transparency and Secrecy

Speakers:

* James DerDerian, Director of the Global Security Program, Watson
Institute, Brown University
“The Desert of the Real, the Simulacrum of War, and the
Weaponization of Culture”

* Trevor Paglen, Artist and experimental geographer, Department of
Geography, University of California, Berkeley
“Blank Spots on a Map: State Secrecy and the Geography of Nowhere”

* John Sifton, Human rights attorney, Executive Director of One World
Research
“Why the CIA Secret Prisons Were not Really Secret”

Moderator:

* Stephen Duncombe, NYU Council for Media & Culture; Gallatin School, NYU

8:00 – 8:30 pm Reception

***

Friday, March 7, 10:00-2:00 pm
NYU Kimmel Center for University Life
60 Washington Square South
Room 808

10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Panel: Identification Procedures, Net Wars, and the Struggle over the
Securitization of the Internet

Speakers:

* David Lyon, Director of the Surveillance Project, Queen’s University,
Kingston, Ontario.
“Stretched Screens: Ubiquity, Interoperability and Identification Protocols”

* Gabriella Coleman, Assistant Professor, Department of Media, Culture
and Communication, NYU.
“Old and New Net Wars over Speech, Freedom and Secrecy or How to
Understand the Hacker and Lulz battle against the C0$”

* Ron Deibert, Director of the Citizen Lab and the OpenNet Initiative,
University of Toronto.
“The New Geopolitics of the Internet”

Moderator:

Becky Lenz, Visiting scholar, Department of Media, Culture and
Communication, NYU.

1:30 – 2:00 pm Closing Remarks & Reception

***

Please RSVP on the Council for Media & Culture web site:
http://www.nyu.edu/media.culture/events/event.html?e_id=662

***

Radars & Fences: When the Paradigms of Discipline and Control Collide

Radars and fences, satellites and walls, networks and bunkers. Two
different sets of technologies confront us: the former are transparent,
discreet, mobile, and selective; the latter are opaque, conspicuous,
immobile, and non-discriminating. The former epitomize the modulating
and flexible character of what Gilles Deleuze termed the “societies of
control” while the latter embody the “old” disciplinary paradigm based
on separation, physical mass containment, and restriction of the freedom
of movement. Most of the times control and discipline coexist and
reinforce each other; sometimes they seem to collide. This is due to a
variety of far-reaching factors and transformations occurred in the
productive sphere over the last decades.

If the fall of the Berlin Wall and the emergence of ICT seemed to
foretell, if only for a while, the decline of disciplinary apparatuses,
the new millennium presents us with an extremely functional “return” of
dividing and enclosing technologies – from the U.S.-Mexico fence and
Israel-Palestine wall to the steady growth of the U.S. prison-industrial
system. In other words, besides that such a “return” may be in fact a
process of constant strengthening, the Foucaultian disciplinary paradigm
and the Deleuzian control societies are coming to form a mesh, where
individualized immaterial control and physical mass containment of the
workforce seem perfectly integrated and complementary.

However, if in authoritarian states such as China and Iran such
integration of discipline and control needs little justification in
ideological terms (at least on the inside), in the West such a
co-existence is not frictionless. During the Cold War, the emerging
rhetoric of transparency and accountability associated with control
societies had primarily a propagandistic function against the opacity
and closeness of real socialism. But with the rise of the network
society, transparency has increasingly become a necessary and material
component of open workflows, management methods, and governance. At the
same time though, an excess of openness puts at risk industrial secrets,
military R&D, intellectual property assets, state secrets, and political
careers.

To be sure, in the control societies access to information is restricted
and modulated by codes and passwords. However, a number of notable
examples – from the Abu Ghraib scandal to the leaking of the Windows
source code, from the unveiling of the NSA eavesdropping program to the
CIA extraordinary renditions – show how hard it is for governments and
corporations to obfuscate and seclude information from public scrutiny.
And yet, there are areas of public life that formidably resist the
rhetoric of transparency: around the 10 per cent of the DoD budget is
allocated to the so-called “black programs,” top-secret military
programs whose very existence and name is unacknowledged by the
government; immigrants´ detention facilities are situated in the
remotest regions; and biotech research is highly protected in spite of
its far-reaching consequences on the ecosystem and human life.

On the other hand, it is the very structure of the network society, with
its decentralization of tasks and constant multiplication of electronic
eyes that threatens the opacity of physical and immaterial bunkers. By
looking at the grey areas where control and discipline, transparency and
secrecy, democracy and the state of exception overlap and collide,
Radars and Fences provide a cross-disciplinary and experimental platform
whereby researchers, artists, journalists, and activists can negotiate
new and critical positions.

***

Radars & Fences is being coordinated by doctoral candidate Marco
Deseriis as part of a grant awarded by the NYU Council for Media and
Culture with assistance provided by the Department of Media, Culture and
Communication, and the Information Law Institute.

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