In recent years, more and more border fences have been erected across Europe. These fences, designed to stop ‘illegal immigrants’ on the Hungarian-Croatian/Serbian, Latvian-Russian and Greek-Turkish borders, among others, are often described as advanced technologies: they are supposedly ‘high-tech’ or even ‘smart’. This terminology and the focus on the various sensors attached to the fences obscure the physical violence that is enacted on humans and non-human animals with these so-called ‘passive safety’ structures. Moreover, their framing as supposedly clean and precise technologies is symptomatic of a broader cultural practice that uses narratives of technologization to justify means of violence (e.g. ‘smart bombs’ and drones).

 

My ongoing project Smart Fence, which started in 2018, engages with fences and digital technologies on the outer borders of the European Union. Using digital video, Virtual and Augmented Reality, celluloid film, electronically controlled mechanical structures, as well as found objects he remediates the high- and low-tech aspects of these structures to deconstruct the techno-ideologies that are often inscribed in them.

Photos by Alexia Manzano