Surveillance Assemblages and Lines of Flight

What if the surveillance system itself is less than it is perceived to be? What if, despite the best efforts, those rhizomatic networks of pulsating data cannot finally be controlled and directed? This is the more emancipatory notion explored in this paper featuring a Deleuzean elaboration of ‘lines of flight’. Post-panoptic surveillance is deterritorialized as well as rhizomic and as such resists exclusionary control strategies. In the panopticon, which is a ‘machinic’ assemblage, material flows are joined and separated. But in enunciative assemblages, words are attached to things by relations of power. The soul-training of the panopticon with its moulded subjects gives way to flexibly modulated hybrid subjects, suited to varying circumstances. But lines of flight within these latter systems include filesharing, decryption, using proxies and sousveillance as well as conventional political antisurveillance strategies. Does this mean, as Felix Guattari provocatively puts it, that there may be ‘safety in the machine’? The reply given here brings Heidegger into the conversation but concludes with a carefully qualified yes.

Released: Replika 89, 61–81.
Replika block:
Ágoston Fáber