Can you describe in a few words your impression of IMPACT18? What issues or experiences are you taking home?
A diverse group of people with different backgrounds coming together creates a special atmosphere. It makes it possible to think through topics in a much richer and encompassing way. I was very impressed. We should do these kind of gatherings more often! I felt that this form of assembly enables a more inclusive way to approach the complex entanglements of today’s worlds.
Ariana Dongus is a researcher and writer based in Berlin. With a focus on refugee camps in Jordan and northern Iraq, she researches on new forms of work, outsourcing, biometrics and artificial intelligence, to contribute to a critic of political and digital economies. Her research includes documentary films, articles and artistic projects dealing with individual political movements and public action.
What is your profession? How do the IMPACT18 topics relate to your work?
Currently, I am doing research for my PhD that deals with new forms of (immaterial) labour in the hidden backsides of the machinic assemblages in the technospheres of contemporary ‘data capitalism’. Refugee Camps have become labo(u)ratories for both the testing of new technologies and a sites that enable new forms of data-, of identity work. The people living in the camps have to give their (biometric) data to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the private companies involved in the process. This turns the refugee camps into a neoliberal marketplace in which the UNHCR has transformed the people who fled into suspicious figures, who, if they are “lucky”, can become consumers of a service and of assistance, rather than claimers of their (human and refugee) rights for protection and shelter. In this setting, technological applications can be used for counter-strategies that empower the encamped people and create spaces for resistance, rather than being a tool for control and surveillance.
What issues or experiences are you taking home of IMPACT18?
It inspires, irritates, moves and touches me how everybody involved takes care of the world from unique perspectives that matter. A concrete project I intend to start is creating a library of Medicine Songs that involves an algorhythm my husband developed to find songs appropriate in Ceremonies that heal issues within a certain community or land.
Deborah Haaksman is a psychologist, playwright and yoga teacher based in Berlin. She is part of FORMATIONS, a transversal working group which deals with the question on how knowledge production participates in the legitimation of ‘othering'.