Skip to main content
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Latest updates.

Work In Progress

‘The Vein, the Fingerprint Machine and the Automatic Speed Detector’ Upcoming Performance by Dr Catherine Charrett – 5.12.2018

28 November 2018

International Studies Research Unit presents a performance with Dr Catherine Charrett – 4pm-5.30pm on the 5th of December 2018. 

On the 5th of December the ISRU will be welcoming Dr Catherine Charrett to perform her work ‘The Vein, the Fingerprint Machine and the Automatic Speed Detector’. This performance will be held between 4-5.30pm in room 2.28 of the School of Law and Politics. Dr. Catherine Charrett is an Early Career Research Fellow for the Independent Social Research Foundation and is currently based at Queen Mary University of London in the School of Politics and International Relations. Dr. Charrett’s work interrogates the ritualised practices and language of security and diplomacy in the Occupation of Palestine.

Dr. Charrett uses interdisciplinary methods to disseminate her research, and is the producer of a political performance on EU-Hamas relations entitled, “Politics in Drag: Sipping Toffee with Hamas in Brussels. A video of this performance has been published by the Review of International Studies, alongside an article on her methodology  

This article is available at:

Below is how Catherine describes this performance:

What does it mean to call a weapon sophisticated, advanced and precise? This performance takes on the spectacle of technology and its role in the Israeli colonisation of Palestine. Helga Tawil-Souri describes technology as a “mechanism by which we learn to internalise values, beliefs and norms of culture and as a material device in which are encoded the dominant beliefs and norms of society.” Technologies can act as reflections of the societies that develop and use them. They hold myths about national identities and encoded messages about hierarchies. But what if these technologies could talk? What if they could unveil their myths to you, share their secrets, and explain their encoded messages? What if they could reveal the distortion of intelligence embedded within them, the destruction of trust and community they promote and the melancholy and sadness behind their design? Would we still call them sophisticated?

By tracing the technologies that shape Europe’s involvement with the occupation of Palestine this performance tells a story of the global colonial structures that maintain the oppression of the Palestinian. This project is based on the performer’s ethnographic observations of the technologies of Occupation, as well as interviews with Israeli start-up firms who imagine the future through their technologies and interviews with Palestinian police who try to manoeuvre around the limitations imposed by these technologies. It presents weapons fairs in Europe and in Israel where new technologies are put on display and passed around. It discusses the restrictions Israel imposes on the equipment and movement of European police working in the West Bank. Technologies act as windows into the inconsistencies, but also trends that compose this international order of occupation.

Timothy Mitchell’s writings on the colonial exhibition reveal the coloniser’s attraction to its own spectacle of security. ‘Life as exhibition,’ he explains favours structure over reality, appearance over essence. This performance interrogates how Israel’s technologies of occupation reflect a plan that misses an essence of life and movement. From the Gaza-Jericho Agreement, to the segregation wall, to the provision of 3g in the West Bank, to the permit system imposed on Palestinian police, this performance tackles what it may mean to be the reality that circumnavigates a colonial spectacle of order.

This 60-minute performance uses the techniques of drag, melancholia and satire to directly challenge the structures that idealise technologies of war and segregation. By speaking from the position of the object and embodying its design, its circulation and its intervention into life this performance aims to dislocate the appearance of order that permits the waging and witnessing of the continued violence against the Palestinian.


All interested members of staff and PGRs are welcome. For more information please contact the WIP series convener Dr Hannes Hansen-Magnusson