the limits of style

New year, new post in Reading the Pictures – this time about a New York Times ‘Style’ section feature on fashion in South Sudan.  The images, I think, dramatize the necessity of seeing victims of militarized violence as more than victims of militarized violence; at the same time, they highlight the dilemma inherent in photos of survival, namely that they might license us to overlook suffering.

hot off the (electronic) presses: my new article on “security glitches” is now available …

… in Science, Technology, & Human Values!  The full title is “Security Glitches: The Failure of the Universal Camouflage Pattern and the Fantasy of ‘Identity Intelligence.'”  The article is available here.

If you’d like to read the abstract beforFigure 2e you click:

Focusing on the paradoxes revealed in the multibillion dollar mistake of the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) and the expansive ambit of a leaked National Security Agency briefing on its approach to “identity intelligence,” this article analyzes security glitches arising from the state’s application of mechanized logics to security and visibility. Presuming that a digital-looking pattern would be more deceptive than designs inspired by natural forms, in 2004, the US Army adopted a pixelated “digital” camouflage pattern, a print that rendered soldiers more, rather than less, visible in the field; it acknowledged this error in 2012. Two years later, “Identity Intelligence: Image Is Everything” visualized the episteme of National Security Agency surveillance with an illustration detailing hundreds of different types of data—biometric, biographic, and contextual—that the agency believes it could exploit to identify and monitor “targets of interest.” These glitches originate in technofetishistic convictions about the nature of digital images and information, limited ways of imagining bodies and lives, and reductive understandings of complex relationships between power and perception. Together, they expose the paradoxes that arise as the state tries to extend its power over the body and the contingency of that power on the smallest of things.

and then i became the person who critiques Sesame Street …

… And I don’t know what to think about that.  But nonetheless I’m looking forward to presenting my research on the webites Sesame Street for Military Families and Military Kids Connect at Console-ing Passions later this week.  Along with Stacy Takacs, Dave Kieran, and Colleen Glenn, I’ll be on a panel entitled “Constituting the Soldier Subject: Masculinity, Militarism, and Family Life.”  My paper, “Stress Monsters and Feeling Flowers: Gender, Innocence, and Affective Pedagogies in Media for Military Families,” considers the competing visions of military childhood and family life operative in SSMF and MKC.

elmo