Technology and control – the future revisited.

A Note on Production

… there were 21 papers presented at the conference. [-] I typed all the edited papers onto a main frame computer (a VAX 780) with the intention of transferring the files on-line to a computer at Oxford capable of laser typesetting (Lasercomp). However, time ran out, and an alternative plan had to be activated. The main frame computer did not have a word processing facility, so the files were transferred to floppy disc and word processed on a micro-computer (a Gemini Galaxy 1); each floppy has an amazing 800K capacity. Finally, the files were printed out on a daisy wheel printer, pasted down on lay-out sheets and presented to the printer photo-ready.

I would like to thank a number of people for their help in this process. Mike Tomlinson had the hassle of dealing with the printer and the binder, and of organising the manual collation of the printed sheets. Had we been able to use Lasercomp he would have had the main hassle there also. [-] And Alistair Gilmore in the Faculty of Social and health Science at the University of Ulster at Jordanstown was more than pleased to drop everything else in order to introduce me to the mysteries of transferring files from the main frame to the micro computer.

A final point: it is perhaps a minor example, but the very process whereby these Working Papers have been produced shows that new technology is not totally oppressive. The papers that follow consider some of the many ways in which it is oppressive, but they also contain the hopeful message that “we” can master the machinery in some ways ourselves, that we do not have to leave it all in “their” hands.”

From: Bill Rolston, ‘Introduction’, in The State of Information in 1984 – Conflict, Social Control and New Technology. Working Papers in European Criminology N° 6, European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control, Cardiff, September 1984

EG 1984


De verdwenen dorpen van Palestina — Salon van Sisyphus

Naar aanleiding van het Eurovisiesongfestival in Israël in mei van dit jaar organiseert de Academische BDS (Boycot, Divestment, Sanctions) een reeks activiteiten om te protesteren tegen deze propagandastunt van de zionistische apartheidstaat. In samenwerking met de overheidsvakbond ACOD stel ik vanaf dinsdag 29 januari mijn fotoreeks “De verdwenen dorpen van Palestina” tentoon in de gebouwen van […]


Carceri d’invenzione as metaphor

In May 2016 I suddenly received a request for a contribution to a book inspired by the No Prison manifesto. This manifesto had been written a few years earlier by Massimo Pavarini, professor in criminal law, and Italian journalist Livio Ferrari. You can find the text in several other languages on the website www.noprison.eu.

Contributors to the volume included among others Johannes Feest, Hedda Giertsen, Thomas Mathiesen, Vincenzo Ruggiero and Sebastian Scheerer, so I was quite flattered. I wrote an article inspired by the eighteenth century etchings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Carceri d’invenzione. Publication of the book was expected at the end of 2017.

Later I got an email from editor Johannes Feest, stating that “we all think that your paper is great and should be published asap. At the same time, we feel that it does not really fit in our context, which is strictly abolitionist.”

Based on the English text, I also wrote a Dutch version. That was published in May 2017 by the Belgian monthly magazine Streven – cultureel maatschappelijk maandblad as ‘Carceri d’invenzione, een actuele metafoor’, included here with kind permission of the publisher.

Between 1745 and 1761 Giovanni Battista Piranesi made a series of etchings depicting imaginary prisons. He called them Carceri d’invenzione. Very soon these drawings gave rise to multiple metaphorical, historically or psychologically tinted interpretations. At the end of the twentieth century they inspired British composer Brian Ferneyhough to the writing of a music cycle with the same title. Then again, you can read his interpretation of Piranesi’s work as a metaphor for the complexity of the actual prison system and as an incentive to listen to all the sounds, human and non-human, that still come together in jail.

As far as I know, the ‘No Prison Volume’ has never been published. So here is my article, Carceri d’invenzione as metaphor’, slightly reviewed January 2019.



Brussels en route

Exceptionnellement, et gratis, une publicité

(English version on http://durieux.eu/blog/brussels-en-route)

Bruxelles – et donc pas Renaix – est la seule ville vraiment cosmopolite en Belgique. On peut en faire l’expérience de plusieurs façons. Une d’entre elles serait de parcourir la ville par transports en commun – et ceci pendant une assez longue période. Voilà précisément ce qu’a fait le photographe Bram Penninckx. Pendant un an et demi, il a effectué tous les trajets de bus, tram et métro possibles, de terminus en terminus. Ces trajets lui ont fourni le matériel pour les images et les histoires de Brussels en route.

Comme celle-ci :

Dis papa, pourquoi les poubelles sont cassées? Demande une gamine de quatre ans à son papa étonné de sa question.

—           Parce que le monsieur qui nettoie la station de métro a perdu la clef, répond le papa après une brève hésitation.

—           C’est pour ça qu’ils ont mis une autre à côté de la cassée ?

—           Oui, ma puce.

—           Mais papa, pourquoi…

Le bruit tonitruant du métro entrant en gare couvre sa voix frêle. Main dans la main, père et fille montent à bord du wagon.

Bruxelles est une métropole et en même temps un hameau dans le marais. Dans Brussels en route  il ne faut pas s’attendre à des déclarations sans ambiguïté ou à une définition globale de cette collection urbaine de 19 municipalités. Plutôt à une sorte de recherche photographique sur la question : « Qu’est-ce que ces scènes de la quotidienneté des transports publics nous apprennent-elles sur cette ville et notre société? »

Brussels en route de Bram Penninckx est une expo, un livre photo et aussi le beau et ingénieux site web trilingue Brussels en route.

Ici quelques photos, en format réduit pour ce site :