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Monthly Archives: April 2014

markflear2Dr Mark Flear, lecturer at Queen’s University, Belfast visited LSTS during the week 21-25 April 2014. His main research interests are in public health and new health technologies with a focus on their biopolitics. His first book (the pioneering Flear and others, ‘European Law and New Health Technologies’) was published by Oxford University Press in 2013. Mark is currently completing a monograph, ‘Governing Public Health: EU Law, Regulation and its Biopolitics‘, to be published by Hart Publishing in 2015. In 2013 Mark was appointed to the Northern Ireland DNA Database Governance Board. Further details can be found at his personal site. Mark can be contacted by e-mail and via Twitter (@MarkFlear).

On 24 April 2014 he gave a presentation titled ‘Neoliberal Biomedical Knowledge Production: Clinical Trials and the Vulnerable Subjects of EU Law‘.

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picture by wnjr (@flickr)

picture by wnjr (@flickr)

On 6 May 2014 Rocco Bellanova will publicly defend his thesis ‘The Politics of Data Protection: What does Data Protection do? A Study of the Interactions between Data Protection and Passenger Name Records Dispositifs‘, in view of simultaneously becoming Doctor in Political and Social Sciences by the Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles, and Doctor in Law by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. More information can be found here (pdf).

picture by monkeyc.net (@flickr)

picture by monkeyc.net (@flickr)

The first Policy Forum of the ‘EU Food Law: What’s on the Menu? series organised by the VUB Food Think tank will take place on 5 May 2014. It will be devoted to novel food and count with the participation of Sirkku Heinimaa (European Commission, Directorate General Health and Consumer Protection), Frédéric Leroy (VUB), Phillipe Mortier (Belgian Ministry of Health), Harri Kalimo (IES) and Jens Karsten (Lawyer at bxl-law, Brussels). For practical details and registration, visit this page.

SSN2014 The 6th Biannual Surveillance and Society Conference, named ‘Surveillance: Ambiguites and Asymmetries, will take place from 24 to 26 April 2014 in Barcelona. LSTS will contribute to the event with presentations of papers by Antonella Galetta, Gloria González Fuster, Rocco Bellanova and Raphaël Gellert, Dariusz Kloza, and Rosamunde Van Brakel, who is also member of the Organising Committee. More information: SSN2014. Programme: here (pdf).

Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon, the ultimate surveillance image, is the main theme of this new episode of our MUSIC & SURVEILLANCE series. Panopticism is here explored through the aural lens of Paul Baran’s ‘Panoptic’, which combines elegant improvisation with a touch of electronics. 

Paul Baran is a Glasgowian artist operating sometimes alone and sometimes as a member of The Cray Twins. While The Cray Twins seem to devote themselves primarily to inventing unusual electronic instruments, on his own Baran appears especially concerned with linking music and thinking. ‘Panoptic’, Baran’s only solo record for the moment, was published in 2009 by Fang Bomb (a new one is apparently imminent). It is a conceptual album about creativity under surveillance, dedicated to thinkers such as Alain Badiou and Slavoj Žižek.

The album’s opening track is a slow motion ode to forgetting, being undocumented, and self-erasure. Titled ‘Scotoma Song‘, it hints that Baran’s ‘Panoptic’, just like Bentham’s Panopticon, is as much about what is seen (and heard) as about what is no longer seen (or heard). The record then unfolds slowly and gently, at least at the beginning.

Love Under Surveillance‘, co-authored and performed with Andrea Belfi (percussions) and Werner Dafeldecker (at the double bass) offers a ten minutes promenade through surveillance threats. The mood is melancholic and at the same time spine-chilling, but eventually the record becomes progressively infected with more and more disruptive glitches. During To Protest In Their Silence‘ (again with Belfi, and now also with Gordon Kennedy) electronics go all over the place: it is certainly more about protests than about silence, like a tribute to the art of banging pots, pans, and other utensils in order to express dissent wordlessly.

The human voice reappears in Jackson and Lee’, painfully singing ‘and back, and forth‘, like an unmotivated pendulum. In ‘Pomerol’, it closes ‘Panoptic’s exploration with some apocalyptic mumbling floating on Keith Rowe’s prepared guitar and a sighing calculator. A worthwile conceptual experience. Text by Gloria González Fuster

pic by _marmota (@flickr)

A new Food Think Tank is being launched at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), bringing together researchers interested in food from a wide range of disciplines. The VUB Food Think Tank, currently led by members of the Law, Science, Technology and Society (LSTS) and Social and Cultural Food Studies (FOST), and collaborating with the Institute for European Studies (IES), aims to gather perspectives, and to nurture discussions on issues related to the current and future challenges of food. The Think Tank is organising the ‘EU Food Law: What’s on the Menu? Policy Fora‘, three events that focus on key issues being debated at European level: Novel Food (5 May 2014), Organic Farming (12 May 2014) and Sustainable Food (2 June 2014). All the details can be found here.