[-empyre-] 'bare life' in Technopanic (forwarded from Horit)

On the threshold of Western cultural and economic affluence, dwell human beings excluded from its promise. The landscape of the Palestinian West Bank is dotted with dozens of temporary and permanent checkpoints, chaotic, cumulative piles of concrete, a surface of ruins. Their intervention in the Palestinians' lives is all-pervasive, designed to harass and humiliate them in order to make them relent on their struggle against the occupation. The banality of evil is all-inclusive, encompassing the ontology of existence under occupation. Movement within the West Bank is subject to constant interruption, stalled and displaced by the web of checkpoints. State-of-the-art hi-tech gear, weaponry, wireless devices, computers and military uniforms, weave the control system. Each soldier is a communicative intersection in the wireless net. An important item in his or her dress inventory is the bulletproof vest, a shield over the chest signifying a state of active combat, soon to be a wearable wireless intersection site. Telescopic lenses mounted on M-16 rifles are at the soldier's disposal at all times, pointing at those who are at the checkpoints and those who approach the vicinity. Ephemeral bodies move within the checkpoints as if in slow motion, from frame to frame, performing a dance to the tune of the jailer, constantly suspected as either bodily bombs or smugglers of destructive weaponry. Rather than fighting terror, however, this network of checkpoints actually practices it, in that it turns human beings into helpless objects of oppression, stripped of subjectivity, driven to the point of total despair, to bare life existence.

While the digital screen is conventionally thought of as an intersection in the flow of social, cultural and economic transactions, the same screen, interfaced with military technology, metamorphoses into a weapon. A perfect hybridity exists between the body of a soldier stationed at a checkpoint in the West Bank or in Iraq or in Afghanistan, wrapped in fifteen kilos of state-of-the-art defensive and offensive instruments, and interactive digital screens streaming with rich multimedia data marking the bare life existence of every member of the occupied people, from birth to death. In this way the desert of bare life is surveilled by technopanic. It is there where the illusion of security is being weaved. Technopanic is embedded in bare life existence.



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