Colder Now: Surveillance as Contemporary Colonialism in Canada

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McKnight, Stefy
surveillance; colonialism; settler; whiteness; research-creation; art; policing; performance
Canada is a settler state built on systemic racism, and is maintained by systems of contemporary colonialism. Systems of contemporary colonization such as internal colonialism (Tuck and Yang, 2012) take the form of the surveillance and policing of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour. Through a white settler artist-scholar lens, this research exposes instances of surveillance and policing in Canada, by analyzing policies such as the “Anti-terrorism Act, 2015” (Bill C-51) and its effect on non-white citizens. This portfolio of essays and visual work draws knowledges from my experience as a white settler artist-scholar. I use research-creation as a methodology for situating myself in this narrative, while complicating my identity through self-reflexivity. I critically engage with and attempt to disrupt the systems that continue to privilege me because of my white settler identity. More importantly, I see my creative practice as a method of decolonizing surveillance studies, while also rethinking and unsettling surveillance as not only a practice or system, but a political identity tied to whiteness and white settlerhood. Surveillance and policing is more than a way of governing and controlling citizens, but of creating citizens. Through an analysis of function creep, public policy, and law, I theorize surveillance as a political identity and a producer of knowledge in its own right, through visual and performative means.
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