Captive to the Technology of Capture

I wrote to a friend about one particular aspect of the peaceful anti-transphobic protests at the Palmerston Branch of the Toronto Public Library – one that touches on the politics of representation (and insertion in social discourse)…

bio-power, regimes of truth-telling, policing, policing of speech,
policing of protest, policing of policing, ontological stakes, micro-aggressions …

There was a bit of activity at our local branch yesterday evening.

I wonder were we ever so earnest and devoid of self-reflexivity in our protests*. So contradictory when it came to the politics of surveillance and counter-surveillance?

What struck me in one of the Twitter streams… taking umbrage at the Library’s policy of no photography or filming on the premises without prior permission. It’s in the Rules of Conduct. Wouldn’t this protect privacy rights of patrons and yes protestors in the library are patrons too? Seems like the camera phone has become weaponized. A right to bear phones : )

Those cameras could have been trained outside the venue on a black trans woman declaiming the words of Sojourner Truth: Ain’t I a Woman**. But she wasn’t there… or if she was she wasn’t captured on camera or otherwise recorded.

*Some of those days are documented by Douglas Crimp in AIDS Demo Graphics. And lately I applaud the creativity of the “angels” with extra wide and tall wings and dignified silence that block the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church protestors. Like good theatre the impact hinges on the exploitation of contradictions.

** I have learnt that there are different versions of Sojourner Truth’s famous speech …

And so for day 2564

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