Border Theatre: On the Arts of Security and Resistance

Louise Amoore, Alexandra E J Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This essay addresses the conditions and limits of artistic interventions in the contemporary landscape
of border security. It argues that the theatrical rituals of border security – scanning, screening,
verifying identity – have become domesticated and all-but-invisible in our daily scopic regimes. At
the same time, the essay suggests that surprising, enchanting encounters with the techniques and
technologies of security can interrupt border sequences and create invigorated possibilities for
public engagement. An ethics of unanticipated worlds is proposed as an alternative to political action
as always proximate to observable and visible violence. In a world where rituals of border security
increasingly operate precisely by pre-deciding and pre-empting in advance, art that works in the
absence of certainty and decidability offers a crucial window through which to evaluate and respond.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-319
Number of pages20
JournalCultural Geographies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • art, borders, dissent, public, ritual, security

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