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Emily Abendroth's SOUSVEILLANCE PAGEANT is a hybrid work that coasts restlessly between the categories of poetry, novel, and nonfiction essay. The text's primary figure, whose name is also Sousveillance Pageant, functions not only as an individual character but as an unruly and deviant guiding principle, who desperately longs to be guided by others in turn. If surveillance describes that which watches from above (be it the state, the police, a financial institution, or a private data tracker), then sousveillance describes that which watches from below (fixing an unflinching but also quixotic and wandering eye upon the nature of power and its mechanisms). This book asks: what are those forms of recognition or ways of being seen that we as humans cannot live without, and what are those forms of recognition or ways of being seen that we cannot possibly live with (or which make life unsurvivable)? One inimitable encounter and discomfiting event after another push the Pageant to consider what constitutes security or safety, under what conditions, and for whom. In the words of historian Dan Berger, "SOUSVEILLANCE PAGEANT is our abolitionist avatar, our determined alter ego marshalling collective wisdom against the punitive surveillance state with an ingenuity all her own. Follow her rebellious spirit."
The selection included here comes from the book's second-to-last section, titled "A Biometric Drubbing.View playlist