This guest programme, organised by research project System of Systems, draws on the expertise of border specialists, media scholars and artists to explore the increasing technological nature of Europe’s borders. The reinforcement of the EU’s external borders – managed by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, more commonly known as Frontex – has been closely intertwined with, if not inseparable from, the asylum-seeking system since the establishment of the Schengen agreement in the mid-1990s. Since then, Frontex has been pledged ever increasing budgets by the European Union to monitor and control migration ‘at and beyond’ Europe’s borderlands.
Technologising the EU Border
Frontex is part of a networked infrastructure which encourages the accelerating development of technologies to assist in border management operations. The European Commission has significantly increased the budget allocated towards the management of external borders from €5.6 billion for the period 2014-2020 to €21.3 billion for 2021-2027. This includes funding that has been poured into emerging technologies for surveillance, biometrics and other forms of collecting the data of those crossing borders. These measures demonstrate that the EU’s migration policy continually encompasses the notion of a 'Fortress Europe', where the collapsing of finance, technology and securitisation combine to create a nebulous and opaque system that is navigationally impenetrable.
This curated evening will present the work of Ariana Dongus (media scholar and researcher), Flavia Dzodan (writer and researcher), Matthias Monroy (writer, activist), Ahmet Ögüt (artist and founder of The Silent University) and Annalisa Pelizza (professor in science and technology studies), who each offer a range of insights into this issue. The programme demonstrates the multiple perspectives that those from wide-ranging disciplines bring to the increasingly reliance on technology within migration systems. From exploring technologies as methods of both making and discrediting evidence, to the role of tech in forming an unevenly distributed restriction on bodies, and to the border as a site of growing investment and profit, their research and practice contributes to exposing and thinking through the surge in technological strategies for exclusion in, and by, Europe.
Technologising the EU Border is one of three research strands currently being developed by System of Systems as they work towards the publication of their second book (2021). Their other two evolving strands – Outsourcing Europe's Borders and Migration, Extraction and Colonialism – will take the form of two programmes later on this year.
The programme is supported by Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie.
About System of Systems
System of Systems is a research project that uses the format of exhibitions, publications and public programming to address the use of technology and bureaucracy in the asylum seeking process in Europe. SoS sees the importance of a long-wilterm commitment to focus, not just on the individual migrant experience, but specifically on the system that produces and processes migration, under the pretence of security. By involving artists, architects and designers along with policy-makers, activists and researchers, SoS strives to create a diverse way of critically examining migration processing systems in a way that is accessible to non-specialists.