We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Lines of sight : on the visualization of unknown futures.

Amoore, L. (2009) 'Lines of sight : on the visualization of unknown futures.', Citizenship studies., 13 (1). pp. 17-30.


This article considers the specific mode of visualization that is at work in contemporary border security practices. Taking inspiration from art historian Jonathan Crary's genealogies of attention, it situates homeland security visuality in a particular economy of attention or attentiveness to the world. How is it that we come to focus on some elements of our way of life, establish them as normal and designate deviations from the norm? How does this algorithmic attentiveness break up the visual field, 'pixelating' sensory data so that it can be reintegrated to project a picture of a person? The pre-emptive lines of sight emerging in contemporary security practice become precisely a means of visualizing unknown futures. The article concludes with reflections on the creative artistic forms of attention that flourish even where the lines of sight of the consumer, the citizen, the border guard, the traveller, the migrant appear ever more directed and delimited. It is in these more creative modes of attention that we find one of the most important resources to contemporary political life - the capacity to question the 'better picture', to disrupt what we see as ordinary or out of the ordinary and confront the routines of our lives anew.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Borders, Citizenship, Security, Resistance, Technology, 'War on terror'.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This is an electronic version of an article published in Amoore, L. (2009) 'Lines of sight : on the visualization of unknown futures.', Citizenship studies., 13 (1). pp. 17-30. Citizenship studies is available online at:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:06 October 2010
Date of first online publication:February 2009
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar