Varieties of Visual ‘Europe' in Images of Illegalized Mobility

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 8:45 AM
Room: 417
Oral Presentation
Rogier VAN REEKUM , Faculty of Social Sciences, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands
The governmental management of mobility is a crucial way in which contemporary Europe is being made. Images are part and parcel of the increasingly elaborate network of organizations, expertise, legal codes and material infrastructures set up to manage the ‘desirable’ and ‘undesirable’ mobility across EU-borders. Visualizations of registered data, routes, maps, risks, opportunities and uncertainties are implicated in governmental attempts to gain overview, anticipate the future and authorize control. However, these images of governmental surveillance and security exist and become visible in a wider field of image production and dissemination. State institutions are far from alone in their attempts to see and disclose ‘what’s going on at the border’. This paper will analyze the relations between images implicated in border management and alternate visualizations of cross-border mobility. The latter concern the work being done by NGO’s, advocacy groups, policy evaluations, political actors and activists. More specifically, illegalized migrants themselves work to make themselves visible in circumscribed ways, often to claim rights and gain political agency in highly precarious circumstances. How are images and the craft of making them copied, translated, disfigured and redeployed within this field of images? How can we conceptualize affinities and contradictions between different visualizations in order to assess multiple ways in which ‘Europe’ and 'not-Europe' can become visually enacted? Images and their interrelations may both confirm, contest and confuse existing imaginaries of ‘Europe’ and its ‘outside’.