Workshop 5: CASA SEGURA by Robert Ransick


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Robert Ransick (Media Artist and Professor of Digital Arts, Bennington College)
Casa Segura / Safe House

Robert’s project highlights various issues dealing with immigration, border control, those who cross the US/Mexico border and those who live near the border. His work  can be seen on his casasegura blog and is currently exhibited at the LAND WARS exhibition at the Te Tuhi centre for the arts in Southern Auckland.

Cross disciplinary practices are his interest: he is an artist and designer and currently the Professor of Digital Arts at Bennington College,Vermont USA . He visits various design classes and positions his work in visual and fine art context. Borrows from strategies of design. Gets students to read social science documentation. He is very sensitive to the ideas that Dunne + Raby address in their work.

Addressing Fear Neuroscience institute visit, spent time to meet neuroscientists. Trying to match up with their disciplines. Learnt about the amygdala. Part of the brain that dictates fear and response. Preconscious. Amygdala remembers the pain from when you get a bee sting, next time you see a bee you fear the bee and the heart rate goes up, adrenalin, you flee. Fear is a terrific motivator and controller.Government encourages this fear to allow emails to be read, pursue surveillance policies etc. Politics of fear: powerful in relation to how our brain works. The subject of Immigration is now mixed with and correlates to Osama bin Laden to immigrants crossing the border and the fear of another catastrophic disaster. The US and Mexicio border in the South West runs along California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas. Interested in the illegal immigrants, crossing the border, the property owners and the larger populous and how we learn about migrants and border control. Robert concentrates on how we try to help the populous to think about these things.

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Workshop 5: Borderline Security Theatre by Andrew Clement

What is the future of airport security?

Andrew Clement (Professor of Information Studies, University 0f Toronto)
Borderline Security Theatre: Performing asymmetric risk with no-fly lists and biometric identification.

>Download Andre’s presentation: andrew-clement.ppt

Andrew is Computer Scientist originally, reformed one and now more interested in relationship between computer system, digital infrastructure, social organisation and issues that are implicated by these systems. Focusing on privacy, surveillance, the dark side of these infrastructures and positive ones.

How to address recurring atrocious uses of complex assemblage of digital uses. How can we imagine them being designed differently? Technology that is used within borders: tech development and political strategic rhetorical developments. Roberts talk of borders and Mexican borders. Andrew is from Canada, and will discuss border with US. + Canada. Not talking about physical fences but institutional and technological fences built over the past few years.

Summary: How the border is created in different places and moments.Ways in which formal governemnt processes are used and subverted in creating new borders.Biological and physical bodies. Imperative to tie your biomedical data to the records of you crossing the borders: biometric UK leading example of problematic issues surrounding ID cards.

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links for 2008-03-19

How much is your dead body worth?

BBC2 Tuesday 18th March (today)

“A modern medical revolution has fuelled a market for body parts which has seen a cadaver sell for as much as $250,000. Horizon investigates the booming industry that supplies human bodies. It has spawned a grisly black market trade in stolen body parts which includes among its victims the veteran broadcaster Alistair Cooke. After his death in 2004 what happened to his body as it lay in a funeral home would reveal a story of modern day grave robbery and helped smash a body-snatching ring that had made millions of dollars by chopping up and selling-off over 1000 bodies. Dead bodies have become big business.

Workshop 5: Truth and justice in the wake of dictatorship and armed conflict by Jose Zelaquett


photos:Will Pollard

The Irdell Lecture is run by the Department of history and law at Lancaster University and is 15 year old lecture series for interdisciplinary scholars of history, society and law. As part of the fifth Designing Safe Living workshop dealing with Presentation, Documentation and Mediation, Jose Zalaquett was invited to speak with the IAS.

José Zalaquett is the Professor of Law at the Human Rights Centre at Chile University

José Zalaquett is probably Latin America’s foremost and most well known authority on human rights. He has taught as visiting professor at the Law Schools of Harvard University, New York University, the University of Maryland and the University of Toronto. Advocate of human rights. Head of amnesty international committees. President in American commission.Human rights missions to numerous countries. UNESCO + carter foundation. Arrested, detained and exiled in the past in his beliefs. Worlds most respected members of human rights. Field of Human rights in the world and in Chile.

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Workshop 5: Presentation, Documentation + Mediation


Two exhibitors from the Design and the Elastic Mind exhibition, Michiko Nitta and Susanna Soares, will be presenting some of their work at the next Safe Living workshop at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Lancaster University. This month’s theme “Presentation, Documentation and Mediation” is being organised by Cindy Weber and will include a variety of speakers over two days from Thursday 13th -Friday 14th march. For more information please visit the Institute for Advanced Studies website.

Invisible People


Invisible People offers a range of short radio interviews with those who work at the HQs of various megasystems we rely upon in our society, from Telecare social services to Group4Securicor, the National grid and the London Bus Centrecomm, the emergency command and control centre for the London Bus company. Joe Kerr, RCA lecturer and head of the Critical and Historical studies programme, presents meets and observes these invisible people in 5 of these little documentaries via BBCradio 4.

The TSA Gangstas

For a little light entertainment and mockery check out this little skit about the TSA (the Transportation Security Administration aka airport baggage security in the US) via Bruce Schneier, the security tzar!

Design and the Elastic Mind

If anyone happens to be dropping in to New York over the next couple of months be sure to pop in to MOMA and check out the new exhibition: Design and the Elastic Mind. It has been curated by Paola Antonelli,, who previously put together the Safe exhibition in 2006, and has much inspired this Designing Safe Living research programme at Lancaster university. As cited in the exhibition text “Design and the Elastic Mind explores the reciprocal relationship between science and design in the contemporary world by bringing together design objects and concepts that marry the most advanced scientific research with attentive consideration of human limitations, habits, and aspirations.” I was overwhelmed by the intensity of information and the plethora of objects, photographs, video, visuals and text on show which demanded my time and concentration. There is no way any could summarise or spin this into an easy bitesize review and give it justice. So if you dont get to go to MOMA , just make sure you spend 30 mins per lunch hour reading through the online exhibition.

Bruce Schneier the Security Expert

Bruce Schneier is an internationally renowned security technologist and author. Described by The Economist as a “security guru,” Schneier is best known as a refreshingly candid and lucid security critic and commentator. When people want to know how security really works, they turn to Schneier. Recent posts from his blog include these security toys! Thank you James King.

The Playmobil Security Check Point


Scan-It Operation Checkpoint Toy XRay

boy girl play with scan it xray device