The Vein, the Fingerprint Machine and the Automatic Speed Detector



Saturday, 10th November 2018 | 16:00 - 18:30


What does it mean to call a weapon sophisticated, advanced and precise?  This performance takes on the spectacle of technology and its role in the Israeli colonisation of Palestine.  Helga Tawil-Souri describes technology as a “mechanism by which we learn to internalise values, beliefs and norms of culture and as a material device in which are encoded the dominant beliefs and norms of society.”  Technologies can act as reflections of the societies that develop and use them.  But what if these technologies could talk?  What if they could reveal the distortion of intelligence embedded within them, the destruction of trust and community they promote and the melancholy and sadness behind their design?  Would we still call them sophisticated?  

By tracing the technologies that shape Europe’s involvement with the occupation of Palestine this performance tells a story of the global colonial structures that maintain the oppression of the Palestinian.  This project is based on the performer’s ethnographic observations of the technologies of Occupation, as well as interviews with Israeli start-up firms who imagine the future through their technologies and interviews with Palestinian police who try to manoeuvre around the limitations imposed by these technologies.  

Timothy Mitchell’s writings on the colonial exhibition reveal the coloniser’s attraction to its own spectacle of security.  ‘Life as exhibition,’ he explains favours structure over reality, appearance over essence. This performance interrogates how Israel’s technologies of occupation reflect a plan that misses an essence of life and movement. From the Gaza-Jericho Agreement, to the segregation wall, to the provision of 3g in the West Bank, to the permit system imposed on Palestinian police, this performance tackles what it may mean to be the reality that circumnavigates a colonial spectacle of order.    

This 60-minute performance uses the techniques of drag, melancholia and satire to directly challenge the structures that idealise technologies of war and segregation.  By speaking from the position of the object and embodying its design, its circulation and its intervention into life this performance aims to dislocate the appearance of order that permits the waging and witnessing of the continued violence against the Palestinian. 


Catherine Charrett (Queen Mary University of London), Early Career Research Fellow, Independent Social Research Foundation. Dr. Catherine Charrett is an Early Career Research Fellow for the Independent Social Research Foundation and is currently based at Queen Mary University of London in the School of Politics and International Relations.  Dr. Charrett’s work interrogates the ritualised practices and language of security and diplomacy in the Occupation of Palestine.  Dr. Charrett uses interdisciplinary methods to disseminate her research, and is the producer of a political performance on EU-Hamas relations entitled, “Politics in Drag: Sipping Toffee with Hamas in Brussels.”  Dr. Charrett has also published this research in the European Journal of International Relations and has a forthcoming book with Routledge entitled, Performing Politics: Hamas, the EU and the 2006 Palestinian elections.  c.charrett@qmul.ac.uk  


Panel on Aesthetics and Evidence of Violence in the Occupation of Palestine

Mustafa Abu Sneineh, Mustafa is a writer and journalist. His first poetry collection A Black Cloud at the End of the Line was published in Arabic in 2016. Abu Sneineh holds a degree in Law from Birzeit University, Palestine, and an MA in Postcolonial Studies from Goldsmiths College, London. He regularly appears on Al-Hiwar and Al-Araby TVs to comment on political issues in Palestine and the Arab world. He currently works for the Middle East Eye news site.


Bidisha, Bidisha is a British writer, film-maker and broadcaster for BBC TV and radio, Channel 4 news and Sky News and is a trustee of the Booker Prize Foundation, looking after the UK’s most prestigious prizes for literature in English and in translation. As a journalist she specialises in international human rights, social justice, gender and the arts and offers political analysis, arts critique and cultural diplomacy tying these interests together, usually for the British Council. She also does outreach work in UK prisons, refugee charities and detention centres. Her fifth book,  Asylum and Exile: Hidden Voices of London, is based on this outreach work, most recently with young asylum seeker mothers. Bidisha is the chair of judges for the 2018 Forward Prizes for poetry (details here). Her first short film, An Impossible Poison, premiered at the Breaking Ground festival in Berlin in November 2017 (details here) and received its London premier in March 2018 at the Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall. It has been selected for numerous international film festivals.


Neve Gordon, Professor Neve Gordon’s research focuses on international law, human rights, the ethics of violence, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and political theory. His first book, Israel’s Occupation, was published in 2008 by the University of California Press, while his second book, The Human Right to Dominate (written with Nicola Perugini) was published in 2015 by Oxford University Press. Gordon has edited two volumes, one on torture in Israel (with Ruchama Marton) and the other on marginalized perspectives on human rights. He has published over 30 articles in academic journals and is currently working on a new book project dealing with the history and politics of human shields. Gordon has been a member at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, Brown University, the University of Michigan, and SOAS.


Layla Renshaw, Layla Renshaw’s expertise combines forensic sciences and social sciences in the study of death and burial, with a strong focus on post-conflict and human rights investigations. Layla acted as assistant archaeologist with the United Nation’s International Criminal Tribunal for former-Yugoslavia, working on the exhumation and identification of war victims in post-war Kosovo.  Layla has a degree in Archaeology and Anthropology from Oxford University, and an MSc in Forensic Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. Her PhD is in Anthropology, also from UCL.  She joined Kingston University in 2003 and is an Associate Professor in Forensic Science. 



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