Conference Coding and Decoding the Borders, Brussels, 2016


April 13, 2016, Faculté d’architecture La Cambre,
April 14, 2016, Université Libre de Bruxelles,
April 15, 2016, World Costums Organization


Espace Architecture Flagey, Bruxelles

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Wednesday 13 april 2016

15.30 – Introduction
Andrea Rea (Université Libre de Bruxelles/GERME) and Cédric Parizot (IREMAM, CNRS/ Aix Marseille Université)

15.45-16.30 – Keynote lecture
Didier Bigo (King’s College, London),

Reconceptualising boundaries differently from Westphalian model ? The practices of border, police and military controls and the trends of delocalisation and digitisation

17.00-17.45 – Arts and science at the border

Jean Cristofol (Ecole supérieure d’Art d’Aix-en-Provence),
Art-science and exploratory processes

Nicola Mai (Kingston University, London),
Assembling ‘Samira’ and ‘Travel’: understanding humanitarian biographical borders through experimental ethnofictional filmmaking.

17.45-18.30 – Discussion

18.45 – Opening of the exhibition
Performance by Vincent Berhault (Compagnie Les Singuliers), Chronicle at borders

Thusday 14 april 2016

9.30-11.00 – Extent and limits of datamining
Chair: Andrea Rea (Université libre de Bruxelles/GERME)

Julien Jeandesboz (REPI/Université libre de Bruxelles/REPI),
Calculation devices: EUROSUR and European border policing

Martina Tazzioli (LabexMed, LAMES, CNRS/Aix Marseille Université),
Track, sort and archive: Eurosur, Frontex and the temporality of migration maps

Sara Casella Colombeau (LabexMed, LAMES, CNRS/Aix Marseille Université),
Building a genealogy of data gathering and production at the border – An analysis of the professional transformation of the French border police since the 1990s

11.30-12.30 – Discussion
Discutant : Federica Infantino (Oxford University/Université Libre de Bruxelles/GERME)

14.00-15.30 From coding to visualisation
Chair: Thomas Cantens (Organisation Mondiale des Douanes)

Anne-Laure Amilhat-Szary (PACTE, CNRS/Université de Grenoble), Gabriel Popescu (Indiana University, Southbend),
Border as Code : Algorithmizing Access

Jean Pierre Cassarino (Institut de Recherche sur le Maghreb Contemporain, Tunis),
Making Migration Control Visible and Intelligible

Cédric Parizot (IREMAM, CNRS/AMU), Mathieu Coulon (LAMES, CNRS/AMU), Guillaume Stagnaro (ESAAix), Antoine Vion (LEST, CNRS/AMU),
Visualising Border networks: Codes, Nodes, and Mapping

16h00-17h00 – Discussion
Discutant : Christophe Wasinski (Université Libre de Bruxelles/REPI)

Friday 15 april 2016

9.00 – Introduction
Sigfríður Gunnlaugsdóttir (President of the ethic committee (WCO)

9.15-11.00 – Data control : use and ethics
Chair: Patricia Revesz (Organisation Mondiale des Douanes)

William L. Allen et Bastian Vollmer (Oxford University),
What Makes Secure Borders? Data, Transparency, and the Representation of Projection

Marcellin Djeuwo (Douanes du Cameroun),
The mathematisation of the fight against corruption and bad practices in Cameroon Customs : the practice and reality

Felipe Mendes Moraes (Douanes du Brésil),
API: an example of control at borders

Renaud Chatelus (Université de Liège – European Studies Unit),
The decision-making chain for risk management applied to border controls: some lessons learnt from a European simulation of strategic goods control

11.15-12.15 – Discussion
Discutant: Julien Jeandesboz (Université Libre de Bruxelles/REPI)

14.00-15.00 – Technical and Ethicla Perspectives in Border Control
Chair: Antoine Vion (LEST, CNRS/AMU)

Thomas Cantens (WCO Research Unit, Ecole d’Economie de l’Université d’Auvergne),
Mathematization of the border

Mariya Polner (WCO Compliance Sub-Directorate),
Technologies at the border: risks and opportunities

Michel Terestchenko (Université de Reims, IEP Aix-en-Provence),
Ethics and controls

16.00-17.00 – Discussion
Discussant : Xavier Pascual (Douane française)

17.00-18.00 – Concluding Round Table

Patricia Revesz (Organisation Mondiale des Douanes), Federica Infantino (Oxford University/Université Libre de Bruxelles/GERME), Anne Laure Amilhat-Szary (PACTE, CNRS/Université de Grenoble)


Organizing Committee

Andrea Rea (ULB), Thomas Cantens (OMD, antiAtlas), Patricia Revesz (OMD), Cédric Parizot (IREMAM, CNRS/Aix Marseille Université, antiAtlas), Anne Laure Amilhat-Szary (PACTE, CNRS/Universités de Grenoble, antiAtlas), Jean Cristofol (Ecole supérieure d’art d’Aix-en-Provence, antiAtlas), Federica Infantino (ULB, antiAtlas), Julien Jeandesboz (ULB), Antoine Vion (LEST, CNRS/Aix Marseille Université)

Scientific Committee

Anne Laure Amilhat-Szary (PACTE, CNRS/Universités de Grenoble, antiAtlas), Didier Bigo (King’s College), Thomas Cantens (Organisation mondiale des douanes/ antiAtlas), Jean Cristofol (École supérieure d’art d’Aix-en-Provence, antiAtlas), Federica Infantino (ULB, antiAtlas), Dirk Jacobs (ULB), Julien Jeandesboz (ULB), Christian Olsson (ULB), Cédric Parizot (IREMAM, Aix Marseille), Andrea Rea (ULB), Patricia Revesz (OMD), Antoine Vion (LEST, Université Aix Marseille)


Faculté de Philosophie et Sciences sociales de l’Université Libre de Bruxelles, l’Organisation Mondiale des Douanes, l’antiAtlas des frontières, l’Institut de recherches et d’études sur le monde arabe et musulman (CNRS/Aix Marseille Université), le projet LabexMed (Aix Marseille université, Fondation A*midex),  le Laboratoire d’Economie et de Sociologie du travail (CNRS/Aix Marseille Université), PACTE (CNRS/Universités de Grenoble), Kareron et l’Ecole supérieure d’Art d’Aix en Provence.

The Art of Bordering, MAXXI, Rome, 2014

The Art of Bordering: Economies, Performances and Technologies of Migration Control

MAXXI, the National Museum of XXI Century Arts
October 24-26, 2014

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The Art of Bordering is an art-science event merging an academic conference and an exhibition in order to discuss the material and symbolic construction of the Mediterranean as a border zone, the governance and politicization of migration control, the strategies of adaptation, contestation and subversion of “Fortress Europe” developed by migrants and European citizens.

During three days, Italian, French, German, and British academics, journalists and artists debate how new technologies, geopolitical conflicts and socio-economic inequalities have transformed both migration flows and the material, political and symbolic dimensions of borders in the 21st century.

The Art of Bordering will compare the different and overlapping ways in which art, technology and the social sciences address contemporary bordering dynamics. This strategic comparison aims to highlight the different and interrelated ways in which borders have become strategic places for the performance and observation of the symbolic representations, political agencies and governmental techniques at work in contemporary neoliberal societies.

By enabling discussions between academics, artists and the public, this conference/exhibition will facilitate the exchange between the different approaches, tools and devices through which border processes may be represented, deciphered and deconstructed. The debates, links, quotations, transfers and exemplifications, will also help problematizing the boundaries existing between these fields of knowledge and practice.


Friday 24 October 2014

MAXXI Gallery

16:00-17:00 – Multiple screening

Borders (2010), a video of an animated pencil drawing, by Simona Koch
The Texas Border (2011), a video by Joana Moll & Heliodoro Santos, Partire, pictures by Heidrun Friese


Les Messagers (The Messengers) (2013, 66 min), documentary by Laetitia Tura and Hélène Crouzillat. MAXXI B.A.S.E., Sala Graziella Lonardi Buontempo


Welcome by Hanru Hou and the organisers of The Art of Bordering


Presentation and screening of Liquid Traces: Investigating the Deaths of Migrants at the EU’s Maritime Frontier (2013 – 17min) by Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani


Presentation and screening of Samira (2013 – 26 min) by Nicola Mai


Presentation and screening of Io Sto con la Sposa / On The Bride’s Side (2014 – 90min) by Antonio Augugliaro, Gabriele Del Grande and 
Khaled Soliman Al Nassiry.


Q&A with the public

Saturday 25 October 2014

MAXXI B.A.S.E. Sala Graziella Lonardi Buontempo

9:30-10:00 – Introduction

10:00-11:30 – Session 1 – Rebordering Migration in Times of Crisis

Corrado Bonifazi – Istituto di Ricerche sulla Popolazione e le Politiche Sociali, Rome, Italy
Crisis and Migration in Italy: the Reshaping of a Mediterranean Border of the EU

Lucio Caracciolo – LIMES – Rivista italiana di geopolitica, Rome, Italy
Does Italy still have borders?

Virginie Baby Collin – TELEMME, AMU-CNRS, Aix en Provence, France
Staying, Returning, Leaving Elsewhere? Latin-American Migratory Fields and Migrant’s Strategies in the Context of Spanish Crisis


Isabelle Arvers, artist and curator
Close the camps (video 10 min), data-visualization

12:30-13:30 – Discussion

Chair and discussant: Giusy d’Alconzo, Medici Contro la Tortura / Doctors Against Torture, Rome.

15.00-16:30 – Session 2: Political Economy of Border Management

Elena Dell’Agnese – University of Milan Bicocca, Italy
From Border Music to Borderless Music

Steve Wright – Leeds University, United Kingdom
Cashing in on Fears of Mass Migration- The Political Economy of EU Border Management

Federica Infantino – Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
What does migratory ‘risk’ mean? Decision-making in three visa sections in Morocco

16.30-17:30 – Coffee Break and Artwork Presentation

Stones and Nodes: the Working Out of the Separation between Israel and Palestine, an art-science work by Cédric Parizot – IREMAM, CNRS/Aix-Marseille Université, Antoine Vion – LEST, CNRS/Aix-Marseille Université, Mathieu Coulon – LAMES, CNRS/Aix-Marseille Université, Guillaume Stagnaro – ESAAix (2014)

17:30-18:30 – Discussion

Chair and Discussant: Giuseppe Sciortino – University of Trento, Italy


Les Messagers (The Messengers) (2013, 66min), documentary by Laetitia Tura and Hélène Crouzillat

20:10-21:45 – Multiple screening, MAXXI Gallery

Borders (2010), a video of an animated pencil drawing, by Simona Koch
The Texas Border (2011), a video by Joana Moll & Heliodoro Santos
Partire, pictures by Heidrun Friese


Io con la sposa by Antonio Augugliaro, Gabriele Del Grande and 
Khaled Soliman Al Nassiry (trailer with Italian subtitles),
Liquid Traces by Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani (17 minutes),  Samira by Nicola Mai (26 minutes)

Sunday 26 October 2014

MAXXI B.A.S.E. Sala Graziella Lonardi Buontempo

10:00-11:30 – Session 3: Formal and Informal Border Practices

Barbara Sorgoni – University of Bologna, Italy
Bordering Asylum Rights: Narrative Credibility and the Assessment of Truth

Thomas Cantens – CNE, EHESS-Aix-Marseille Université, France/WCO, Bruxelles, Belgium, Comparing Borders:  from tracing to measuring

Chiara Brambilla – University of Bergamo, Italy
Navigating the Euro-African Border and Migration Nexus Through the Borderscape Lens

11.30-12:30 – Coffee Break and Artwork Presentation

Emborders: Challenging Sexual Humanitarianism through Qualitative Research and Experimental Filmmaking, an ethnofiction by Nicola Mai, LAMES, Aix-Marseille University, France and London Metropolitan University, London.

12:30-13:30 – Discussion

Chair and discussant: Heidrun Friese, Technische Universität Chemnitz, Germany

15:00-17:00 – Final Round Table

Jean Cristofol – Higher School for Art, Aix-en-Provence
Camille Schmoll – Université Paris VII Denis Diderot, France
Heidrun Friese – Technische Universität Chemnitz, Germany
Filippo Celata – Università La Sapienza, Rome


A project of the MAXXI, the Institut Français d’Italie and the IREMAM (Aix Marseille Université), organized by Cédric Parizot, Filippo Celata, Raffaella Coletti, Heidrun Friese, Nicola Mai, Alessio Rosati, Benoit Tadié, Antoine Vion. Curator: Isabelle Arvers. Coordination: Clémentine Verschave.


In partnership with the LabexMed program (Aix-Marseille Université, Fondation A*MIDEX), Dipartimento MEMOTEF (La Sapienza), le Laboratoire de Sociologie du Travail (CNRS, Aix Marseille Université), Laboratoire Méditerranéen de Sociologie (CNRS, Aix Marseille Université), Temps, Espaces, Langages, Europe Méridionale – Méditerranée (CNRS, Aix Marseille Université), Ecole Supérieure d’Art d’Aix en Provence, PACTE (CNRS ; Université de Grenoble), Alliance Athena


Download the report of the conference (FR) by Camille Schmoll (Université Paris VII Denis Diderot)

Conference and exhibition, Internazionale Festival, Ferrara, 2014

Imbarcadero 2, Castello Estense, Ferrara
October 3th, 2014

Conference: A Subversive Atlas, For a new conception of borders and migrations in the 21st century

– Nicola Mai (Sociologist, ethnographer and filmmaker, University of Aix-Marseille/London Metropolitan University)
– Cédric Parizot (Anthropologist, University of Aix-Marseille)
– Lorenzo Pezzani (Architect)
In Italian and French, with simultaneous translation.


Works by Charles Heller et Lorenzo Pezzani, Joana Moll et Héliodoro Santos Sanchez, Nicola Mai, Cédric Parizot et Douglas Edric Stanley. Curated by Isabelle Arvers.

– Cédric Parizot and Douglas Edric Stanley, A Crossing Industry, video game, 2013. The development of the informal border economy between Israel and Cisjordany in the last 20 years.

– Nicola Mai, Samira, video installation, 2013, 26′. The embodiment of humanitarian biographical borders: the story of an Algerian transgender woman in France who is changing her gender again in order to return to her country of origin.

– Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani, Liquid Traces, animation, 2013, 17′. A boat full of migrants leaves Libia and drifts away within the area of patrolling assigned to NATO.

– Joana Moll and Héliodoro Santos Sanchez, Texas Border, installation video, 2011. Images and videos taken from the private surveillance cameras monitoring the border between United States and Mexico in Texas.


French Institute in Italy
Festival Internazionale

antiAtlas Conference, Aix-en-Provence, 2013

International Conference – antiAtlas of Borders

Nouveau Conservatoire Darius Milhaud, Aix-en-Provence, France
September 30th to October 2th, 2013

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From 30 September to 2 October 2013, the Conservatoire of Aix en Provence hosts an international conference with participants from the world of humanities and scientific research, artists and professionals participating in the project. This conference will present the project and its results to university researchers, public institutions, politicians and, of course, the general public. An extensive media campaign will ensure wide publicity coverage by the press, radio and television. Holding this conference simultaneously with the opening of the exhibition at the Musée  des Tapisseries reinforces our efforts to break down the barriers between the worlds of research, art and politics.

Representatives of public and private institutions and non-governmental organizations directly involved in issues relating to frontiers are invited to participate in the conference debates: the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), academics researching border issues, representatives of companies involved in border crossings (Thales, Cassidian, etc.), politicians, and representatives  of institutions and associations working with migrants (Migreurop, La Cimade, etc.).



Presentation of the antiAtlas Manifesto by Cédric Parizot (IMéRA, IREMAM – CNRS/AMU, France), Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary (PACTE, UJF/CNRS, France), Antoine Vion (LEST, AMU/CNRS, France), Isabelle Arvers (commissaire d’exposition indépendante, France)(fr)

Discussion opening: “Pushing the frontiers of borders studies” by Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly

Border Technologies

Gabriel Popescu (IMéRA, AMU; Indiana University South Bend, USA)
Technological Determinism and the shaping of Mobile Borders

The modern political-territorial organization of the world has been built on a geographical imagination that sees space in absolute terms, as a rigid object that can be broken into quantifiable pieces. In political practice, this has lead to the division of the globe in mutually exclusive territorial units based on linear borders. Recently, we are witnessing a changing geographical imagination to incorporate a polyvalent perspective that acknowledges the relational nature of space and that is more in tune with a notion of space defined by mobility in the form of connections and nodes rather than by territorial proximity and distance decay. Accordingly, we are witnessing the emergence of complementary forms of state borders that depart from the norms of territorial linearity by becoming embedded into flows that can travel and be monitored continuously across space. The shaping of these mobile borders is heavily influenced by digital technologies that are assumed to have predictive powers and are generally conceptualized in terms of unfaltering efficiency and as panacea for securitizing transnational mobility. The problem with such logic behind the incorporation of technology into border making is that it assumes social life can be rendered digitally knowable and thus (mis)constructs border subjects as material objects detached from their social and political contexts. It is essential to clearly understand the limits and the benefits of these border technologies for society in order to assure border governance remains representative of the public interests instead of stifling them.

Hervé Braik (Thalès, France)
New needs and solutions for land border surveillance

Given the overall increase in illegal and criminal activities at state borders, which in some cases include terrorist attacks, many countries have an obligation to strengthen border controls in order not to jeopardise their development and/or to ensure their security. Urgently needing to improve the efficiency of surveilling devices and not being able to recruit thousands of people to monitor borders, governments increasingly choose to equip themselves with integrated surveillance systems.

Andrea Rea (Université Libre de Bruxelles-GERME)
Controlling the Undesirable at the border-network

This paper aims to present the main contemporary approaches of the concept of border. The second part of the paper is dedicated to an alternative approach of the processes of bordering focusing more on the relationship between bordering and mobility rather than bordering and territory as often encountered in the literature. The border is defined as border-network, a network of space-time units (airport, seaport, public space for instance) where the human (bureaucrats at the consulates, border guards, liaison officers, travellers, etc.) and the non-human (databases, laws, procedures) interact with the aim to produce practices of state sovereignty. A special attention will be paid to the relation between Europe and the countries south of the Mediterranean in a third part. Based on the concept of border-network, it is possible to analyse the European mobility policy with regards to the countries south of the Mediterranean, by paying particular attention to the security dispositifs accelerating the mobility of legitimate travellers, on the one hand, and filtering and blocking undesirable people, persons suspected of circumventing immigration laws on the other. Every single person who has to do with mobility is placed under surveillance but some are under control. Last part of the paper will be dedicated to the outline we can produce with the use of border-network concept for the analysis of the control at the airport.

See the slides on Slidehare

Noel Sharkey (Sheffield University, UK)
Keeping them out and keeping us in: the robot border

This talk will examine developments in future robotics technology that could be applied to the protection of borders. The use of unmanned aircraft is already being used to identify border incursions and track ‘offenders’. And there are plans for the use of ground robots to intercept those crossing borders illegally. But this is just the beginning. The next generation of military robots will find their own targets and attack them without human supervision. Currently states are reluctant to give up such developments despite international protest. If they continue, it will only be a matter of time before autonomous robots enter service in the civilian world to help keep out ‘illegal’ immigrants. But in any discussion of the new technologies we must consider their potential misuse to seal us in.

See the slides on Slidehare

Julian Oliver (artist, New Zealand)
EU/US Border bumping project report: network infrastructure and tele-cartography at the edge

Border Bumping is a work of dislocative media that situates cellular telecommunications infrastructure as a disruptive force, challenging the integrity of national borders. As we traverse borders our cellular devices hop from network to network across neighbouring territories, often before or after we ourselves have arrived. These moments, of our device operating in one territory whilst our body continues in another, can be seen to produce a new and contradictory terrain for action. In this lecture, I will present documentation and experiences from the deploying Border Bumping on the U.S./Canada border and throughout the EU. Alongside, he will frame networks as tangible territories, with an emphasis on emerging techno-political challenges in this domain.

Robert Ireland (WCO, Brussels)
New perspectives on the ‘customs supply chain security paradigm

This presentation is a brief history of the emergence of the Customs Supply Chain Security Paradigm, which at its heart was the customs contribution to counter-terrorism following 9/11.  The “new perspectives” in the title are some concluding thoughts on where we are now.  In essence, the Customs Supply Chain Security Paradigm is fading as a prioritized customs policy issue, even for the United States. Following the 9/11 attacks, the paradigm emerged consisting of new national customs policies and World Customs Organization (WCO) standards intended to communicate that international cargo ships would be deterred from being used as  a conduit for the delivery of terrorists or terrorist attacks. This presentation traces the paradigm’s emergence and its upward trajectory which began with the launch of the two key US Customs programmes (C-TPAT and CSI), continued with the adoption of the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade, and reached a climax with the US 100% container scanning law.  It will discuss the major policy themes pushed by the US Government, namely advance cargo information submission requirements, customs risk management, non-intrusive cargo scanning equipment, and security-oriented Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programmes.  It will then describe where we are now, namely a downward trajectory with the de facto abandonment of 100% scanning and the US budget crisis which foretells fewer resources for the paradigm.

Didier Danet (Responsable du Pôle Action globale et forces terrestres, Centre de recherche des écoles de Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan, France)
120,000 dollars per Wet Back”: what economic rationale for the Smart Border programme at the southern border of the United States?

In raw numerical terms the erection of a “smart border” between the United States and Mexico cost $ 18 billion in 2012 and resulted in the arrest of 357,000 people trying to cross illegally, which means that the cost of intercepting one clandestine amounts to more than 50 thousand dollars. This extremely high cost raises questions about the efficiency of policy implementation and the type of solution it favors, in which the bulk of the effort is focused on the deployment of sophisticated technological devices reinforced by substantial human resources.

The success of the solution adopted is even more important to evaluate since it exerts a powerful attraction on many policy makers, even though the resources that they could mobilize for this purpose are incommensurate with the budgets and time allocated by the U.S. administration in this program. As these dynamics are presented as matters of security and defense, two of the fundamental characteristics of the U.S. program need attention. The first relates to the conditions of implementation of a solution in which technology is presented as the central axis of a policy addressing a global issue with political, economic, and social dimensions. But this is a recurrent theme in the contemporary analysis of safety and defense issues. Secondly, the policy of “smart borders” is integral part of the increasing power of private actors in the implementation or design of sovereign mandates. Without a priori condemning the participation of certain types of private actors in the conduct of a state policy, it is however possible to question the relevance of the solution being implemented.

See the slides on Slidehare

Janna Shadduck-Hernández (UCLA, USA)
Crossing the Line? The political actions and organizing efforts of undocumented youth as responses to current U.S. immigration and border policies

Approximately, 65,000 undocumented high school students graduate from U.S. high schools every year but only 5-10 percent go on to college. Most of the estimated 1.9 million undocumented youth (16-30 years of age) residing in the U.S. are offered little incentive to finish high school, leading to high drop-out rates and no legal opportunities to work. During President Obama’s first term in office unprecedented numbers of undocumented youth and their families were detained and deported.  As a response to the draconian U.S. immigration policies that separate parents and their children and deny undocumented youngsters educational and professional opportunities,  a national youth movement, commonly known as the Dream Movement, has challenged, contested and resisted federal immigration legislation and border control through political organizing, direct action and civic advocacy and education. Hundreds of protests and actions led by undocumented youth are being organized throughout the nation. These include blocking access to federal immigration offices and detention centers; sit-ins in congressional members’ offices; cross border solidarity actions where undocumented families meet through border fences or create bi-national concerts; the public distribution of texts and social media written by undocumented youth; and the highly publicized youth organized self-deportations and self-arrests. In this workshop I will discuss, what conservative policy makers have called,  youth “crossing the line”- the experiences of an ever increasing number of undocumented immigrant youth standing up and directly challenging U.S. government’s border and immigration policies despite their precarious and liminal migration status.

Thomas Cantens (WCO, Brussels, EHESS, Marseille)
Time and money of Borders: the case of transportation corridors in West Africa

This communication is based on empirical data on the public development aid projects and activities undertaken by international organizations in the area of trade regulation and standardization. It will analyze the movement of commodities through borders. The flexibility granted to goods more than to human beings is historically rooted, although it is usually presented within the contemporary intellectual framework related to globalization and development paradigms. This flexibility is connected to wealth circulation and accumulation and the representation of abundance existing beyond the territory or the community. Based on the observation of trade and administrative practices, the communication will explore how borders are spaces of calculations following a specific topology.

See the slides on Slidehare

Representation-Fiction at Borders

Jean Cristofol (ESAA, France)
Distance and proximity in a multidimensional space

The physical space in which we live is inseparable from the forms through which we represent it. These forms mobilize objective knowledge, but they also engage an imaginary in which we project ourselves. From this point of view, the physical space is not only the result of our practices. It is inhabited by subjects who identify issues within it . It is defined by fictions and stories.

We inherit these stories and fictions, which implement a continuous space that is based on the opposition of near and far, distance and proximity, here and elsewhere. Borders draw lines of discontinuity between homogeneous entities. The figure of the journey, that of utopia, the themes of the island or the labyrinth, the limit and the crossing are incarnations of such stories. But these figures are not only free constructions of the mind, they are also in correspondence with the forms and media in which they were articulated. They are actually produced by the relationship to the modes of technical and social existence of an era.

When trade and travel are determined by the flow of information and ubiquitous autonomous devices affect our modes of perception and our direct action capabilities, how can we conceive and operate them? What is our relationship to space when it is built in a complexity that disrupts the ways to understand the very meaning of distance or proximity? If the space in which we live and communicate is a complex and multidimensional one, how can we build its representation?

See the slides on Slidehare

Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary (PACTE, UJF/CNRS, France) et Sarah Mekdjian (PACTE, UPMF/ CNRS, France)
An Anti-Atlas of lived borders. Sharing the sensitivity of cartographer-migrants

This paper gives an account of a project conducted jointly by researchers, artists and migrants which consisted in mapping, creatively and critically, the migratory in-betweenness. This experience of participatory mapping workshops, located between art and science, also allows to question the methodological issues at stake when tacking in-betweenness within a project involving both creation and research, implying complex inter-relations of all stakeholders. How to create a framework for exchanges between scientists, artists and the invited guests to tell about their migration routes ? On most scientific maps, the spaces crossed by migrants during their travels are often flown over by arrows that indicate the flow or direction of trajectories. The experiences of border crossings are nevertheless very significant in individual migration stories. For people who have no right of residence, the traveled border extends into the so-called reception areas. Thus, in Grenoble, but it could be also in many European cities, travelers still travel… Four mapping devices  between art and science, have been proposed to twelve persons who were either seeking asylum or who had obtained refugee status, with the aim of presenting ” expanded” borders experiences.

Even produced with a participatory methodology, the map is never clear of power struggles. The interaction with the artists helped diversify the power of this mediation tool within the relationships between the different actors of workshops. Accounting of journeys by mapping them has created an original and creative framework for exchanges both during the workshops and now, within an exhibition space. The production of maps on four different media, allowed to bypass the dominant narrative register experienced by asylum seekers, that of chronologically linear life stories required by government agencies. Serving a scientific, artistic and political project, the maps have allowed the emergence of novel forms of ” undisciplined “knowledge.

See the slides on Slidehare

Nick Mai (LAMES, AMU/CNRS, France, London Metropolitan University, UK)
Assembling Samira: an antiAtlas art science installation on embodied humanitarian borders

The humanitarian protection of vulnerable migrant groups has enforced new biographical borders. Migrants seek to obtain state benevolence and legal migration status through the performance and embodiment of humanitarian scripts emphasizing victimhood and suffering. Only those whose performances of suffering and humanitarian subjectivities are deemed credible are given humanitarian protection. Gender and sexuality have become strategic narrative repertoires through which humanitarian and biographical borders are inscribed on the bodies of migrants. The Emborders filmmaking/research project reproduces the different performances and narratives of migrants targeted by humanitarian protection as they emerge in interviews with authorities, with social researchers and with peers and families. It draws on real stories and real people, which are performed by actors to protect the identities of the original interviewees and mirror the inherently fictional nature of any narration of the self. By using actors to reproduce real people and real life histories, the project ultimately challenges what constitutes a credible and acceptable reality in scientific, filmic and humanitarian terms.

Samira is a two-screen art science installation presenting the story of Karim. It assembles different ethnographic moments and scripts as they emerged through ethnographic fieldwork in Marseille. Karim is an Algerian migrant man selling sex as SAMIRA at night in Marseille. He left Algeria as a young man as her breasts started developing as a result of taking hormones and was granted asylum in France as a transgender woman. Twenty years later, as his father is dying and he is about to become the head of the family Samira surgically removes her breasts and marries a woman in order to get a new passport allowing him to return to Algeria to assume his new role. SAMIRA (Emborders 1) is the first of Emborders’ 4 installation/movies. It was produced by IMeRA in co-operation with SATIS (Departement Sciences Arts et Techniques de l’image et du Son of the Aix-Marseille University) and will be presented at the antiAtlas exhibition.

See the slides on Slidehare

Micha Cardenas (University of Southern California, USA)
The transborder immigrant tool: science of the oppressed

Science of the Oppressed, a term first used by the feminist philosopher Monique Wittig, and later adopted by the “artivist” collectives *particle group* and the Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0, proposes an approach to knowledge production that does not claim an objective stance, or a profit motivated stance, but is informed by an experience of oppression and is aimed at creating social justice. In this performative talk I will discuss my collaboration with the Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0 to create the Transborder Immigrant Tool, a dislocative media tool and media virus designed to provide poetic and physical sustenance to people crossing the Mexico/US Border. My work on this project led to my own further practices of Science of the Oppressed on a later project called Local Autonomy Networks / Autonets with the aim of building community based networks, both digital and post-digital, to prevent violence against transgender women of color, disabled people and sex workers. Autonets extends Science of the Oppressed with Femme Science and Femme Disturbance through relationship building as a strategy to build a world without prisons.

Borders, flows and networks

Ruben Hernandez Leon (UCLA)
The migration industry: charting the Relations of facilitators, control and rescue actors in international migration

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In this presentation I argue that the migration industry plays a more significant role in structuring human mobility across borders than has been acknowledged by most theories of international migration.  I first identify three forms of the migration industry: classic migration facilitators, the booming industry of migration control, and the so-called rescue industry.  I then use Zolberg’s “Strange Bedfellows of American Immigration Politics,” a theoretical construct which explains the unusual alliances different actors establish in the field of immigration, to chart the location and relations of the migration industry with these actors.  Finally, I account for the movement of actors across various divides (the profit/not-for-profit boundary, facilitation versus control, and the pro and anti-immigrant divide), demonstrating how these actors establish regular connections by means of multiple bridges and overlapping infrastructures.

Cédric Parizot (IMéRA, IREMAM, AMU/CNRS, France), Antoine Vion (LEST, AMU/CNRS, France), Wouter van den Broeck (Addith, Belgium)
“Israel Palestine below maps”: an anthropological experience of networks across the wall

“Israel Palestine below maps” is a project of dynamic visualization of the relational chains developed by an anthropologist throughout his field work withtin the Israeli Palestinian space (2005-2010). This exploratory work involves an anthropologist (Cedric Parizot), a sociologist (Antoine Vion) and a specialist of complex data visualization (Wouter Van den Broeck). The first aim of this project is to provide a different understanding of the interconnectedness between Israeli and Palestinian spaces. The second aim is to confront the three researchers to unfamiliar practices, methodologies and data coming from other disciplines. One the one hand, the anthropologist is bound to operate a radical refocusing of his data, which resorts to a higher level of abstraction. While losing temporarily the precision of anthropological observation, this dynamic visualization offers a more global understanding of the social world he was inserted in. One the other hand, this experiment provides the sociologist together with the anthropologist a better sight on the condition of production of this knowledge, not merely by taking into account that this data is situated in specific places, time and interactions, but more particularl by stressing that the anthropologist and the sociologist are integral part of the border-network they intend to decipher. In other words, this project involves the anthropologist and the sociologist both as researchers and as objects of the research they perform. Finally, by tackling a different kind of complex network (involving fewer individuals but more complex layers of interactions), Wouter van den Broeck intends to experiment a new semiology in network mapping applicable to the study of networks drawn from qualitative research.

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Olivier Clochard (MIGRINTER, CNRS, MIGEUROP, France) et Laurence Pillant (TELEMME, AMU/CNRS, France)
Connected camps: detention places in Europe and beyond

Although camps imprisoning migrants in Europe each have their peculiarities and unique history, the rationale for their existence, as well as theiur underlying legal, political and economic dynamics are similar and are part of a common process. Adopting a network approach highlights the places now constituting the reticular borders of the Schengen area and of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which allows the authorities to implement boundaries that include territories laying within and outside the European union. The aim here is to define the scale and the extent of the networks linking the migrant camps. The cartographic analysis of this network allows us to understand and make visible the phenomenon of regional enclosure implemented by the European migration control.

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Joana Moll (artist, Spain)
“Move and get shot”: Surveillance through social networks along the US-Mexico Border

“The Texas Border” and “AZ: move and get shot” are two net-based artworks which explore the phenomenon of surveillance on the internet carried out by civilians on the border between Mexico and the US. Many of these online platforms appeared during the rise of the social networking service whose structure was adopted as a cheaper and more efficient alternative way to monitor the border. Thus, the recreational activity became a tool for militarizing the civil society. This talk will expose the research process behind the two artworks and will analyze the evolution of some of these net based platforms from its inception to the present.

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Federica Infantino (FNRS/Université Libre de Bruxelles (Cevipol), Sciences Po Paris
Bordering at the nonstate window. The effects of the outsourcing to private service providers on the visa policy implementation in Casablanca

This contribution explores state responses to immigration based on the shifts in mode of regulation involving non-state actors (Guiraudon & Lahav, 2000). It focuses on the case of Schengen States cooperating with private service providers to implement the visa policy. The paper applies the street-level, implementation theoretical framework to an unusual field of inquiry: bordering policy rather than welfare policy. The paper draws on the case of visa services outsourcing in Morocco and is based on in-depth fieldwork research (12 months) carried out at the consulates of Belgium, France, Italy, and their relative visa application centres in Casablanca. The aim is twofold: first, tracing the processes leading to public/private governance as an emerging mode of the Schengen border management; second, questioning how public/private cooperation changes the conditions in which the visa policy is implemented therefore changing the policy outcomes. By putting forward how the conditions in which the visa policy is implemented change, the paper will argue that the determinants of the convergence of the Schengen visa policy outcomes are organizational factors determined by public/private cooperation.

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Materialization-Dematerialization of Borders

Steve Wright (Reader in Applied Global Ethics, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK)
Corporate military management approaches to climate change: from refuge to exclusion

If we are to adequately anticipate and accurately judge the likely trajectory of future responses to climate change, a working assumption must be that the probabilities are that elite, state and corporate “solutions” over the next 50 years will be necessary, but not sufficient. For several nations this may mean the end; others will be faced with substantial internal migration and for others a mass exodus to foreign shores, as people struggle to find continuity. This presentation assumes that preparations to meet these challenges will be wholly inadequate. States will be panicked into emergency measures, including deep clamps on freedom of movement. Past analyses have treated such scenarios as environmental disasters but this presentation sees such scenarios as emergency planning options which have already been structured into state planning. What can we expect when continuity of energy and food supply chains can no longer be guaranteed? Wright will present evidence that many military organisations are already working on responses to climate change from a state security rather than a human security perspective. What does this entail?

Essentially, two interrelated processes kick in: one informatics based; the other focussed on technologies for systematic physical exclusion of unauthorized citizens, based on a wide variety of emergent coercive capacities. States already have tough systems at borders to prevent anyone without documentation passing and these are becoming increasingly sophisticated with various biometric recognition, surveillance and tracking capabilities. Face recognition and vehicle tracking systems originally designed in response to the “war against terror,” can be rapidly re-orientated towards climate change refugees. Such people will not be officially designated as such, since the general derogatory label of illegal immigrants will facilitate a legal exclusion response because climate change refugees have no legal status. We are already witnessing a security paradigm shift amongst key military powers to reframe climate change, as a major security threat. Similarly, the military, police, media entertainment, university security complex is already refining its capability set towards new measures, to ensure border security and zone exclusion. This new capability sets already include non-human algorithms and robotic elements for patrolling long borders and a wide variety of sub-lethal weaponry has emerged which can either be fired at crowds by humans or operated by machine intelligence. But how probable are such deployments?

I will explore the current reconfiguration of the major manufactures of intelligent fencing systems; unmanned ariel vehicles, robotic security and patrolling systems as well as lethal and sub-lethal weapons technologies and doctrines to meet the demands of these new markets. The presentation ends with a discussion of some ethical dilemmas of how to respond to such technical fixing. Should we acquiesce (which may be tantamount to collusion), or should we engage in research activism to reveal social and political consequences of existing fence systems like those recently erected in Bangladesh.. Such uneasy ethics will be at the core of any future intelligent policy response to climate-induced mass migration. Do we build resilience into modern architectures and infrastructure or a fortress: a human or an inhumane menu of future solutions?

Amaël Cattaruzza (CREC Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan, France)
Wall or Network: Debate on Border Control

This presentation is based on an observation: border security is oscillating between two complementary architectures: the “wall” and the “network”. Walls are physical barriers, which make possible to canalize material and human flows, and to check them at a checkpoint, or any passage-point. Networks are the interconnected intelligence agencies, which allow gathering and cross-checking data in order to anticipate, to identify and to trace out all kind of flows (Frontex and Eurasur model). Both control disposals have to be questioned and to be evaluated. Wall is expensive and creates an economy of smuggling, which leads to be suspicious on its real efficiency. Network makes the border control move from physical place to virtual and centralized databases. But the emergence of this virtual control, without any democratic debate, requires new thoughts about the validity, the processing, the storage, and the safeguarding of the collected data.

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Stéphane Rosière (Université de Reims, France)
International borders between materialization and dematerialization

Contemporary international borders are characterized by seemingly contradictory process of, on the one hand, virtualization and erasure and, on the other hand, materialization. Virtualization is the result of the increasing porosity of borders that are crossed by increasingly significant flows. Under the pressure of such flows boundaries tend to disappear or become ‘discrete’. They are also characterised by dynamics of delinearization and deterritorialization (development of dot-like frontiers as in the case of airports). At the same time, boundaries are marked by a process of materialization, with the construction of many “barriers” (Israel, United States, Saudi Arabia, Ceuta and Melilla, etc.), which are often called “walls”. This presentation will attempt to show how these dynamic, far from being contradictory, are rather linked according to a process of hierarchical ordering of flows within which people seem to be more problematic than goods…

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Mariya Polner  (WCO, Brussels)
Border Control Technologies: General Trends & Patterns of Development

The protection of sovereignty has always been the major task of the state since its inception, along with another important function of differentiating ‘us’ from ‘them’. Thus, borders serve not only as gateways to a particular territory, but also as a manifestation of the state sovereignty. At the same time, in a globalised world where interconnectedness and integration are key dynamics influencing economic growth and social development, policymakers are increasingly realizing the need for accelerated border management regulatory reform to reduce unnecessary barriers and burdens on trade. The dilemma of balancing security (and to a certain extent, state sovereignty) and trade facilitation pushed both states and international organizations to seek for different solutions, enshrined in a whole body of newly created policies and standards. This presentation will touch upon a small part of the overall border management ‘machinery’: border control technologies. Along with the technological progress, border agencies have been reinventing themselves, as well as the way they were operating due to the new tools used in daily operations. Therefore, tracking the development of border technologies provides an interesting insight on the functioning of the state and its policies.

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Charles Heller (Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths College, University of London/ Watch The Med project)
The EU’s maritime frontier: striating the sea

Because any trace on water seems to be immediately dissolved by currents, the seas have long been associated with a permanent present, that resists any writing of history. The infinite liquid expanse has equally represented a challenge for governance: the impossibility of drawing stable boundaries in ever changing waters has led to consider the seas as a space of absolute freedom and flow – the “free seas”. In this presentation, I will show that on the contrary, the seas are increasingly documented and divided, and inextricably so. A complex sensing apparatus is fundamental to a form of governance that combines the division of maritime spaces and the control of movement, and that instrumentalises the partial, overlapping, and “elastic” nature of maritime jurisdictions and international law. It is in these conditions that the EU imposed migration regime operates, selectively expanding sovereign rights through patrols in the high seas but also retracting from responsibility, as in the many instances of non-assistance to migrants at sea. Through the policies and the conditions of maritime governance organized by the EU the sea is turned into a deadly liquid – the direct cause of over 13.000 documented deaths over the last 15 years. However, by using the Mediterranean’s remote sensing apparatus against the grain and spatialising violations of migrants’ rights at sea, I will demonstrate that it is possible to re-inscribe responsibility into a sea of impunity.

Organisation Committee

Cédric Parizot – anthropoloist, coordinator, IREMAM (AMU/CNRS), Aix-en-Provence
Anne-Laure Amilhat-Szary – geographer, PACTE (Université de Grenoble Alpes/CNRS)
Isabelle Arvers – independent curator, Marseille
Jean Cristofol – philosopher, École Supérieure d’Art d’Aix-en-Provence
Nicola Mai – anthropoloist and film maker, LAMES (AMU/CNRS), London Metropolitan University, Londres
Joana Moll – artist
Gabriel Popescu – geographer, Indiana University


Institut Méditerranéen de Recherches Avancées (AMU), Marseille
Ecole Supérieure d’Art d’Aix-en-Provence
Laboratoire PACTE (Université de Grenoble Alpes/CNRS)
Isabelle Arvers, commissaire d’exposition indépendante, Marseille
La compagnie, lieu de création à Marseille


Aix-Marseille Université (AMU), Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Réseau Français des Instituts d’Études Avancées (RFIEA), Labex RFIEA+, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Euborderscapes (Union Européenne, FP7), Institut de Recherches et d’Études sur le Monde Arabe et Musulman (IREMAM – AMU/CNRS), Laboratoire Méditerranéen de Sociologie (LAMES – AMU/CNRS), Laboratoire d’Économie et de Sociologie du Travail (LEST- AMU/CNRS), Laboratoire d’Études et de Recherche sur le Monde Anglophone (LERMA-AMU), Laboratoire d’Arts, Sciences, Technologies pour la Recherche Audiovisuelle Multimédia (ASTRAM-AMU), Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme (MMSH), LabexMed, Information Media production, Aviso Events, Marseille-Provence 2013 (MP 2013), ville d’Aix-en-Provence, Organisation Mondiale des Douanes (OMD).

Media Partners

Télérama, Arte, Culture Science en Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Journal of Borderlands Studies, Perspectives (journal du RFIEA), L’Espace Politique, Ventilo (journal culturel bimensuel) , MCD (Musiques et Cultures Digitales) , Digitalarti , Poptronics.