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Lines of sight: on the visualization of unknown futures

Amoore, L.

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This article considers the specific mode of visualization that is at work in contemporary border security practices. Taking inspiration from art historian Jonathan Crary's genealogies of attention, it situates homeland security visuality in a particular economy of attention or attentiveness to the world. How is it that we come to focus on some elements of our way of life, establish them as normal and designate deviations from the norm? How does this algorithmic attentiveness break up the visual field, 'pixelating' sensory data so that it can be reintegrated to project a picture of a person? The pre-emptive lines of sight emerging in contemporary security practice become precisely a means of visualizing unknown futures. The article concludes with reflections on the creative artistic forms of attention that flourish even where the lines of sight of the consumer, the citizen, the border guard, the traveller, the migrant appear ever more directed and delimited. It is in these more creative modes of attention that we find one of the most important resources to contemporary political life - the capacity to question the 'better picture', to disrupt what we see as ordinary or out of the ordinary and confront the routines of our lives anew.


Amoore, L. (2009). Lines of sight: on the visualization of unknown futures. Citizenship Studies, 13(1), 17-30.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Feb 1, 2009
Deposit Date Apr 27, 2010
Publicly Available Date Oct 6, 2010
Journal Citizenship Studies
Print ISSN 1362-1025
Electronic ISSN 1469-3593
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 1
Pages 17-30
Keywords Borders, Citizenship, Security, Resistance, Technology, 'War on terror'.


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