Two papers on facecrime

Haywood, Ian 1988. Facecrime: George Orwell and the physiognomy of politics. Textual Practice 2(3): 345-366.

'Rebellion meant a look in the eyes.' Winston Smith's description of the mode in which political opposition to the state commences in Nineteen Eighty-Four has bathetic power. The significance of the communication (rebellion) arises from a minute physical gesture ('a look in the eyes'). That disparity attests to the repressive watchfulness of state surveillance techniques. Big Brother's ubiquitous, public stare forces a fleeting, furtive challenge. In order to be a rebel, one must be able both to transmit and to receive the necessary information in a unique moment of private exchange, a flash of intelligence. The reading of faces is a political act. Yet Winston's words do not identify the exact nature of that 'look'. Despite his experiences with Julia and O'Brien, Winston cannot say what a rebellious face looks like; he cannot categorize the all-important signal transmitted from one pair of eyes to another. Like O'Brien's 'equivocal glance' in the Hate Session, the 'look in the eyes' has a tenuous status, hovering on the borders of knowledge and mystery. On this unstable sign rests the instability of Winston's rebellion. The reliability of physiognomical information is therefore crucial for Winston. But it is also crucial for the state, which studies faces for evidence of unorthodox expressions (facecrime). These are dilemmas inside the novel, to which we shall be returning. But the problem does not end there. The critic outside the text must also participate in the struggle to stabilize the sign. The value of the political vision in the novel rests heavily on the intense physiognomic activity that occurs. (Haywood 1988: 345)
  • Nonverbal behaviour is a mode of political opposition to the state.
  • Bathetic means "producing an unintentional effect of anticlimax". Bathetic is different from pathetic, and was coined in 1834 to characerize bathos, "an effect of anticlimax created by an unintentional lapse in mood from the sublime to the trivial or ridiculous".
  • The "minuteness" in "a minute physical gesture" is notable, as it relates to the "effervescence" of O'Brien's brief glance, as well as to the whole idea of facecrime in general - that it cam be something very small and unnoticeable.
  • "Repressive watchfulness" is what produces the majority of dysphoria in 1984.
  • "A unique moment of private exchange, a flash of intelligence" is what Fiordo terms hypersemiotic communication.
  • The possibility of nonverbal communication becoming political is exactly what I want to get at.
  • I don't think there is such a thing as "a rebellious face". Rather, it is a rebellious nonverbal act. Mrs Parsons performs a facecrime by displaying fear when her child shoots Winston at the back of the head with a catapult.
  • It would do well to peel away some mystery from the tenuousness of facecrime.
  • Too bad that not much is told about studying faces for evidence of unorthodox expressions other than from Winston's own point of view, which more often than not is pure speculation.
The definition of physiognomy is 'equivocal'. It refers to the discipline or skill of interpreting faces and expressions as keys to personality. The word also means the countenance itself, the object of interpretation. This duality is often ignored, and the 'reading' is collapsed into the 'text'. A description of a face will strive to seem objective, masking the assumptions that must be made before expressions on the surface of a body can be allowed to correspond to emotions and qualities on the inside. For instance, to say a person has an 'innocent' face or a 'naïve' expression betrays many cultural presuppositions. Physiognomy as a science assumes that facial signifiers are causally related to the underlying signifieds of personality. The interpretative movement is from surface to core, but never back to the conditions of interpreting. (Haywood 1988: 345-346)
  • "Physiognomy" is an archaic term, though. As far as I know it went out of style around WWII, perhaps even sooner. "Countenance", for example, is a 19th century term if there ever was one.
  • Assumptions about nonverbal signs are exactly what I'm studying. These assumptions are exactly what should be at the center of focus in a cultural-semiotic approach to nonverbal communication.
  • Are facial expressions about personality? That sounds like an attribution error. To my knowledge facial expressions are not as "equivocal" as this kind of physiognomy makes them out to be.
Physiognomy has an ancient pedigree. The first treatise was written by Aristotle. Appropriately, he was one of its first victims. In an incident recalled by Parson Adams in Fielding's Joseph Andrews, a physiognomist named Zopyrus declared that Aristetle's countenance revealed him to be a rogue. Public opinion was outraged, but Aristotle confessed he did in fact have many insalubrious propensities, and only his self-control had prevented people realizing this. In Orwellian terms, his facecrime had not been detected. Aristotle's unmasking exposed a fractuce in the procedure at its inception. On the one hand the body is the mirror of the soul: one's expressions are formed involuntarily according to what type of a person one is. One's face therefore will show certain 'tell-tale' signs. The logical conclusion of such a deterministic creed is cataloguing, classifying, and stereotyping, all of which involve grave moral problems. On the other hand, one can exert at least some control over one's features, loosening the tie of signifier to signified, and forcing physiognomy to yield only partial knowledge, blocking its dehumanizing potential. Both camps celebrate the special function of the face as the site of the production and exchange of meaning. The disagreement is not about theory (faces can be read) but about the degree of usefulness: a social issue. (Haywood 1988: 346)
  • "Physiognomy" is an archaic term, though. As far as I know it went out of style around WWII, perhaps even sooner. "Countenance", for example, is a 19th century term if there ever was one.
  • Assumptions about nonverbal signs are exactly what I'm studying. These assumptions are exactly what should be at the center of focus in a cultural-semiotic approach to nonverbal communication.
  • Are facial expressions about personality? That sounds like an attribution error. To my knowledge facial expressions are not as "equivocal" as this kind of physiognomy makes them out to be.
For art, however, the problem is also an aesthetic one. Realism may aim to avoid stereotyping; the use of conventions and types may be the most readily available vocabulary. Art has been intimately involved in studying and fixing kinds of facial expression. One of the most famous exponents is Hogarth, the eighteenth-century satirical engraver and artist. His work contributes to the great age of physiognomy in Europe: the period stretching from Charles Le Brun's Method for Drawing the Emotions (1696) and Expression of the Passions (1698) through Johann Lavater's The Art of Understanding People (1772) to Charles Darwin's The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872), by which time physiognomy was firmly established in the craft of the realistic novel. (Haywood 1988: 346)
Another score for cultural semiotics - that art and literature are heavily involved with nonverbal sign systems, their study and development.
As much as Hogarth deployed physiognomy in his prints, he needed a much more extensive visual vocabulary to perform his satirical attacks. Hogarth noted, for instance, that a grave expression does not tell the observer whether the cause of the expression is a trivial or important matter. (Haywood 1988: 346)
That's because the object of emotion (the so-called stimuli) is subjective.
Roland Barthes was one of the first theorists to attack the idea that a photograph is a 'message without cade' - pure denotation with no connotation. To put it another way, there is no text without interpretation. To believet here can be is to endorse the nineteenth-century illusion that a photograph is an unmediated copy of the real world, in which signifier and signified are fused. Yet most subsequent critical approaches still employ referentiality, a movement from the 'surface' of the photograph to something behind or beneath it. Even semiotics and structuralism suffer from this essentialism, or what Derrida called the 'metaphysics of presence'. For Barthes, 'all images are polysemous' and made up of a 'floating chain' of signifieds which cannot be fixed. (Haywood 1988: 148)
But referentiality is not only deictic, pointing to something in the hic et nunc. Remember relayed or displaced speech - discourse about something that isn't here or doesn't exist at all. That is why Jakobson's referential function is equivalent to the ideational (cognitive) function of symbols, not some sort of "reality" function.
So the self-conscious foregrounding of vagueness and uncertainty, of 'unstable signs', may seem to avoid the dangers of loading physiognomy with objective political significance. But the absent information is still a problem. Orwell wants us to believe the 'candour and ferocity' are actually contained in the face. Without any evidence for this, there is the danger of the militiaman becoming a mere extension of Orwell's consciousness, despite his ostensible function as 'the flower of the European working class'. Yet to specify actual facial detail might particularize at the expense of typicality. The memory of the face of the unknown soldier is nothing less than the objective correlative of the whole war. When Orwell recalls the face - 'oh, how vividly!' - 'the complex side-issues of the war seem to fade away and I see clearly that there was at any rate no doubt as to who was in the right'. The face is 'a sort of visual reminder of what the war was really about'. These are remarkable statements. Despite the pointers to perspicuity ('vividly', 'see clearly'), the man's face is a blank, a featureless cipher, which calls into question Orwell's reduction of 'complex side-issues' into impressionistic, firsthand experience which will yield instinctive political wisdom. (Haywood 1988: 351)
The problematic of ambiguous description has deeper corollaries. Ambiguity is in some cases practical.
Nowhere is the danger of this approach more apparent than in his physiognomizing of Big Brother's real-life counterparts Stalin and Hitler. The problem is not in his professed admiration for them, but in the complexion of that admiration. Stalin receives brief treatment in a review written in 1938, where Orwell notes that 'Stalin, at any rate on the cinematograph, has a likeable face.' This is too cursory to be taken very seriously, and in any case Orwell adds: 'Al Capone wsa the best of husbands and fathers.' Still, one might carp at the value of divorcing Stalin's likeable' countenance from political context. The physiognomy of Hitler si much more substantial. Orwell wrote a review of Hurst and Blackett's edition of Mein Kampf in 1940. The review begins dismissively. The book is merely the 'fixed version of a monomaniac' who strives to create a 'horrible brainless empire'. Then Orwell changes tack, confessing: 'I have never been able to dislike Hitler.' There is something 'deeply appealing about him', though Orwell would 'kill him if I could get within reach of him'. Note the opposition between the personal and the political. (Haywood 1988: 353)
"A horrible brainless empire" could equally well describe the political regime of 1984. Also, note that Big Brother is also equally likeable and despicable, and Winston's feelings towards him do fluctuate along said lines.
Goldstein's heretical writings describe the theoretical rationale behind the enigmatic machinery of conditioning. The effect 'B.B.' has on people can be stated, but its confirmation, its actual performance, can only be witnessed in the 'plot' of the novel, the world of Winston's empirical experience, the world of aesthetic writing (Goldstein's manual has been criticized as a non-literary intrusion into the naturalism of the rest of the novel) and of dangerously uncertain signs. It is in the 'real' world of the novel that B.B's ability to 'focus' contradictory emotions must prove itself.
An initial problem is that Winston is not meant to register a typical response to B.B. Winston's consciousness, which filters the action of the novel, is seditious precisely because it is aware of the ways in which it is being manipulated. Winston can think on a conceptual, theoretical level, though he cannot achieve the systematic overview of Goldstein's manual. Winston's insights are constantly compromised by his experience, which paradoxically may lend those insights greater authority. In order to be able to resist thought control, Winston must be able to understand it, to know what the orthodox response to B.B.'s face ought to be. He must look at the face as a site of political struggle. (Haywood 1988: 354-355)
This is why 1984 is such an interesting case - facecrime is not only present, and active, but it is conceptualized, given a name and a definition.
Without its famous caption, we first see simply a man's face on a large poster tacked to the wall in Winston's block of flats: 'the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features' (p. 5). As Alexander Dallin has observed, there is 'vagueness' and 'uncertainty' in this physiognomy. B.B. is 'about' 45, and There is little to define 'ruggedly handsome', the only specific feature being a moustache (the latter detail has been enough for many readers to find the lurking image of Stalin, Kitchener, etc.). 'Handsome' is surely a subjective response, though Winston is probably meant to be registering the consensus view. (Haywood 1988: 355)
In other words, this "ruggedly handsome" is a perfect example of what I call an ambiguous description. What makes it ambiguous is that it is a Third - a final interpretant - lacking the possibility of various other qualities being affirmed in concrete details. E.g. it is a general symbol rather than a particular index.
The next physiognomical detail introduces the possibility of 'fear': 'It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move' (p. 5). The appeal is to a familiar notion of optical illusion which does not have to be explained further. The importanct point is that 'contrived' alerts us to the fact that this is not an 'unmediated' reproduction of a 'real' face but a construction, a play of signs. The next sentence introduces the caption 'BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU', which seems to follow naturally, when in fact an illusory 'following' movement of the eyes is being invested with purposive intent: 'watching'. The caption has given the face identity: a name (more on this later) and a mind - a 'depth' behind the image. This naturalizing continues when Winston looks at another poster and 'the dark eyes looked deep into Winston's own' (p. 6). There is depth on both sides but the power of penetration is B.B.'s. The interaction has the aesthetic appeal of mystery, a considerable elaboration from the mere visual trickery of magnetic movement of the eyes, or the sinister state surveillance of ubiquitous 'watching'. 'Deep' suggests an enigmatic, irrational relationship, which may or may not be typical, and may or may not be reducible to politics. (Haywood 1988: 355)
This is where Ron Scollon's (1998) Goffmanian terms "watch" and "view-sign" would become useful.
State scrutiny, personal paranoia, orthodoxy becoming instinct. Exactly how this watch on deviant signs is maintained is not explained by the manual, despite the mobilization of armies of professionals, including Swiftian scientists: 'The scientist of to-day is ... a mixture of psychologist and inquisitor, studying with real ordinary minuteness the meaning of facial expressions, gestures, and tones of voice' (p. 156). The reason why the scientist has turned state physiognomer is ironically because thoughts cannot be read but only deduced. That leaves open the possibility that orthodox responses can be faked, and that is precisely the unstable space that Winston occupies. His facial expressions still remain partly under his control. (Haywood 1988: 358)
This is only slightly disappointing. Winston's own conscious reflections on the topic kind of make up for it and allow for a more general type of speculative theorizing. For example, "unstable space" is a deduction - Orwell, to my knowledge, didn't use these kinds of spatial metaphors.
The totalitarian logic seems coherent, until we examine it with 'minuteness'. The intention of the state is to ossify facial expression: there must be only one sign for the ever-narrowing range of signifieds. Connotation must become denotation. But we are not told how Party members are trained in 'wearing' the 'proper' expression. In the example Winston cites, one must look 'credulous', as if this will mean the same configuration on the face of each comrade. It is also difficult to know how one can mentally police an 'unconscious look', which by definition is involuntary. Presumably facecrime is there to deter, but that exposes the precariousness of the process. If conformity has to be coerced, it is not the 'instinct' the Party requires, and it remains a mere surface, the core untouched. This ambiguity is most strikingly demonstrated during the Hate Sessions. Winston 'could not help sharing in the general delirium': 'Of course he chanted with the rest: it was impossible to do otherwise. To dissemble your feelings, to control your face, to do what everyone else was doing, was an instinctive reaction' (p. 17). 'Dissemble' and 'control' are at odds with 'instinctive'. The use of the generic 'your' indicates that the description applies to the 'general delirium', which surely is not meant to be seen (by the state, or us) as mass dissimulation. On the treshold of his journey to Room 101, Winston decides that to be successfully loyal
mere control of the features was not enough. For the first time he perceived that if you want to keep a secret you must also hide it from yourself. You must know all the while that it is there, but until it is needed youm ust never let it emerge into your consciousness in any shape that could be given a name. (pp. 225-6)
The irony here is that this paradoxical logic has all the trappings of doublething, to which Winston is still resistant. (Haywood 1988: 359)
Yup, the logic behind facecrime is indeed murky. An analogy with doublethink is certainly possible, but one would need to add a new term to newspeak - doubleact (but adding words is contrary to the idea of newspeak, which is to subtract words). Actually, no, it's a pretty huge assumption that "facecrime is there to deter".
It is worth noting that Winston's role as surrogate narrator of the novel requires him to provide physiognomical details about most characters. There is no space here to look at all the instances, though they are uniformly interesting because all have political ramifications. The faces of O'Brien and Julia warrant most discussion, and I shall be focusing on them shortly. (Haywood 1988: 360)
I suspect that he is a "surrogate narrator" because the whole novel was first intended as a diary, a la Zamjatin's We, but proved more productive if the diary were something extraneous.
'Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.' The mind is a non-state, a vacuum, no longer occupied by thought. The problem for the state is that it has not yet abolished expression, which constantly promises to refer to the meaning 'behind it'. (Haywood 1988: 360)
Is this not a characterization of a "horrible brainless empire"?
The excitement of make-up is not its ability to enhance but its ability to conceal. Winston is lured to the subversive potential of a 'mask', the falsification, the fabrication, of appearance in a regulated world. (Haywood 1988: 360)
That is also the lure of facecrime, for me, as understanding the nature of nonverbal surveillance may prove to unravel ways to conceal dissidence.
The reaching of physiognomy into the realm of the irrational is nowhere more advanced than in the contact Winston makes with Julia and O'Brien. Both relationships commence with highly charged, mysterious glances. In both cases Winston is certain there has been an almost telepathic communication. In both cases he misreads what is 'written' on the other's face. His physiognomical powers are finely tuned enough to mark Julia and O'Brien out as special, but his interpretations are also fatally compromised. (Haywood 1988: 361)
I knew that O'Brien's glance could readily be approached with Fiordo's "hypersemiotics", but I'll try to keep in mind that the same can be done with Julia.
With hindsight we know that O'Brien is faking this look - a very remarkable skill which must lead some readers to disregard the 'flash of intelligence' as mystery-mongering. (Haywood 1988: 363)
I don't think it was "faked". The concept of "doubleact" would come handy for explaining it. I have a theory that O'Brien was there during the Hate Session that time exactly because of Winston, because Winston remarkde that he has seen O'Brien only half a dozen times in just as many years. O'Brien is Thought Police. His "flash of intelligence" may have been intentional, but there was nothing "fake" about it, for it inspired Winston to write his diary. Perhaps that was the goal all along - to give a "go ahead" for making his thoughtcrime manifest.
Orwell believed Zamyatin's We was superior to Huxley's Brave New World because of We's 'intuitive grasp of the irrational side of totalitarianism - human sacrifice, cruelty as an end in itself, the worship of a Leader who is created with divine attributes'. See review of We published in Tribune, 4 January 1946; CEJL, 2, pp. 72-5, 75. (Haywood 1988: 365)
Ooh, finally, a reference to his notorious review.

Pugliese, Joseph 2009. Preincident Indices of Criminality: Facecrime and Project Hostile Intent. Griffith Law Review 18(2): 314-330.

In this essay, I examine the contemporary deployment of somatechnologies concerned with screening and capturing subjects who are identified by these apparatuses in terms of prospective criminals who have not actually committed any offence but who intend to commit a crime. (Pugliese 2009: 314)
Somatechnologies, huh? I wonder how much these are related to either 'techniquesof the body' or 'biopower'. I am aware that "technologies" has become a catchword for some contemporary quarters of philosophy, e.g. "phatic technologies" and whatnot, but I still like the concept for some reason.
I focus, in the first instance, on the International Association of Chiefs of Police's Training Keys #581: Suicide (Homicide) Bombers: Part I as a document that purports, through a series of preincident indices, to enable law enforcement personnel to identify prospective suicide bombers. I discuss this deployment of biotypological regimes of criminal profiling in the context of the travesty of justice endured by Dr Mohamed Haneef. (Pugliese 2009: 314)
The phrase "biotypological regimes of criminal profiling" sounds slightly more promising than "the politics of physiognomy", but pre-incident indices and pro-spective identification are suspicious terms when it comes to facecrime, as in the context of Orwell's novel the temporal question is a bit murky. Namely, I wish to propose that Winston was essentially coaxed into committing facecrime, and although thoughtcrime supposedly contains facecrime, it is facecrime (his moment of intelligence in a glance with O'Brien) which lead to his thoughtcrime (writing "I Hate Big Brother" in his diary).
Drawing on George Orwell's Newspeak term facecrime, in which criminal intent is seen to be inscribed on racialised phenotypologies in the case of the wrongful arrest of Dr Haneef. I then proceed critically to examine the US Department of Homeland Security's development of Project Hostile Intent - a multimedia and multimodal somatechnological apparatus that is being developed in order to expose criminal intent in screened subjects. I frame my critical analysis of these technologies within biopolitical frameworks predicated on anatomies of deviance and disciplinary regimes of normativity. (Pugliese 2009: 314)
Since Orwell's facecrime makes strictly sense only in the universe of discourse of his novel, this application on real world seems at least slightly dubious. On the other hand, the existence of Project Hostile Intent - or now renamed, Future Attribute Screening Technology - proves my somewhat paranoid suspicion that knowledge of nonverbal communication can be mistreated by the State.
TK #581 announces in its Introduction that it is concerned with offering the reader 'profiles' of suicide bombers in order to enable law enforcement personnel to prevent attacks. In the first instance, suicide bombers are scripted as at once graphically anomalous in the context of normative culture and yet invisible. This paradoxical feature is what gives them inordinate power: they are grossly aberrant in their anti-social values, yet they appear to pass through social spaces without detection. (Pugliese 2009: 315)
These terms may prove useful in my analysis of Winston's anti-social behaviour, although he barely passes through social spaces without detection - his literary fate is at every step spelled out, sometimes quite literally ("You're a thought criminal!" the little boy exclaims before shooting him to the back of the head with his toy catapult).
I evidence this Orientalist marking of the figure of the terrorist, as the text that I have been citing is situated under the rubric of 'Suicide Bomber Advantages'. Under this rubric, the text begins with this first dot point: 'Superior dedication to the mission. A suicide bomber considered a shahid - a martyr who engages in jihad (holy war) and will, upon completion of the mission, bring honor to his or her family and organization and enjoy the benefits of eternal paradise.' From the start, TK #581 marks the figure of the suicide bomber as singularly Muslim. This Orientalist figure serves to colour and frame all the text that follows. The now charged terms 'jihad' and 'shahid' render Islam as coextensively terroristic and violent. Regardless of the fact that TK #581 is purportedly addressed to an international audience of law enforcement personnel, the suicide bomber is homogenised to the singular and monolithic figure of the violent Muslim. (Pugliese 2009: 315-316)
Even here a parallel with 1984 is possible - what else is Winston but an Eurasian spy? He is not only a thoughtcriminal, he is a Goldsteinist!
TK #581 supplies the reader with a series of bullet-point biotypologies organised under a number of sub-headings, beginning with:
Behaviour. Does the individual act oddly, appear fearful, or use mannerisms that do not fit in? Examples include repeatedly circling an area on foot or in a car, pacing back and forth of a venue, glancing left and right while walking slowly, fidgeting with something under his or her clothes, exhibiting an unwillingness to make eye contact, mumbling (prayer), or repeatedly checking a watch or cell phone.
Encoded in this description is a biopolitical regime predicated on schemas of disciplinary normativity. Odd, fearful and dissonant mannerisms beg the question as to what constitutes, conversely, the behavioural attributes of the presupposed normative subject. Delineated in TK #581 is, in fact, the masculinised, white middle-class Western subject: cool, rational, able in both body and mind, a citizen of the world, assimilated to the dictates and codes of normative behaviour. I do not invoke the seemingly formulaic 'white male middle-class' subject for purely rhetorical purposes. On the contrary, it is evident that this hegemonic subject is precisely the figure against which the 'abnormal' behaviour mapped in TK #581 is judged and articulated. In the face of this presupposed normative subject, TK #581 fails to account for the fact that there are individuals who, in the face of traumatic experiences with police and figures of immigration and law enforcement, might display precisely any or all those mannerisms of fear, anxiety, restlessness and fidgeting when in public spaces. This would include non-white, non-citizen, refugee, asylum seekers, undocumented individuals and racialised subaltern subjects whose constant surveillance by law enforcement agents, unconnected to criminal activity on their part, makes them anxious and fearful in the presence of institutional agents. (Pugliese 2009: 317)
In 1984, some schemas of disciplinary normativity is laid bare in instructions about how to pose one's face in publir or in front of telescreens. It might be a good idea to construct a normative subject on the principle of binary opposition, a la Jakobson in "Mark and Feature". The circularity of being fearful of law enforcement because of their brutality and the brutality ensuing from looking fearful is surely not lost on racial minorities, but it's relation to facecrime is somewhat tenuous. "Cool" is underlined because I just checked out because I just checked out Cool (aesthetic) on Wikipedia, where under the rubric "Cool as a behavioral characteristic" it reads: "The sum and substance of cool is a self-conscious aplomp in overall behavior, which entails a set of specific behavioral characteristics that is firmly anchored in symbology, a set of discernible bodily movements, postures, facial expressions and voice modulations that are acquired and take on strategic social value within the peer context." And more importantly: "Cool was one an attitude fostered by rebels and underdogs, such as slaves, prisoners, bikers and political dissidents, etc., for whom open rebellion invited punishment, so it hid defiance behind a wall of ironic detachment, distancing itself from the source of authority rather than directly confronting it." Quite relevant for this discussion.
It is here, caught in the aporetic logic that structures TK #581, that the document self-deconstructs in order to reveal an unreal world whose empirico-positivist biotypologies and indicators morph into groundless, shape-shifting phantasmagoria of spectres, doubles and hauntings. (Pugliese 2009: 321)
When a text starts using these kinds of words, I become suspicious. The fact that the next subchapter is titled "Facecrime and the Faciality of Face" makes my face red in the face of the fact that the first result when googling define:faciality is a 2010 paper titled "This Face: a Critique of Faciality as Mediated Self-Presence", which reveals that "faciality" is a concept proposed by Deleuze and Guattary in A Thousand Plateaus. A thousand apologies, but I don't fuck with that noise. But as much as I'd like to quit right now, I'll push through.
Articulated in this revelation is the symbolic conflation of an object (balaclava) into a racialised ethnic identity (of Mediterranean or Middle Eastern appearance) that marks a criminal figure in advance of the fact of having committed any crime; in other words, a suspect wearing a balaclava that actually obscures her or his face is identified, by default, as being 'of Middle Eastern appearance'. Operative here is what I would term the racialised somatechnics of identity in the service of cultural ponics. Somatechnics refers to the indissociable way in which the body of a subject is always already technologised and mediated by cultural inscriptions. (Pugliese 2009: 322)
Wasn't it "somatechnologies" before? I don't think "biopolitical intextuation" is a thing, is it? Also, how in the hell is any of this related to facecrime?
The face of a figure 'of Middle Eastern appearance' is, in this context, already inextricably interchangeable with the technology of the balaclava - precisely as symbol of the terrorist and the criminal. (Pugliese 2009: 322)
What is technological about a piece of clothing?
The balaclava is a somatechnology precisely because it biopolitically intextuates an ethnic descriptor onto the face of the target subject. (Pugliese 2009: 322)
It does what?
Articulated in the media images that reproduce the face of Dr Mohamed Haneef is the phenotypical face of terror/terrorism. What can be seen to signify in this instance is what I want to term the faciality of the face. The faciality of the face is not a tautology; rather, it brings into focus the inscriptive schemas and discourses that render a face culturally intelligible precisely as identifiable face in terms of tacit knowledge and assumptions. There is never any unmediated visual encounter with the face; rather, the moment of visual apprehension and comprehension is always-already marked by an inscriptive cultural and discursive schematicity of the face before one's gaze: it is the faciality of this schematicity that render the face culturally intelligible and identifiable as face. (Pugliese 2009: 324)
Huh. I stand corrected. This is a pretty interesting idea, although far from what Orwell means by facecrime, which has nothing to do with the identifiability of a face, but the identifiability of a thoughtcriminal through facial expressions. The author nevertheless proceeds to quote Orwell, that a nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, or a habit of muttering to yourself - anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, could give you away. I don't see how this has anything to do with the racial schematicity of face discussed here.
In this final section of this essay, I want to examine the manner in which preindicators, designed to assist law enforcement authorities in the capture of prospective terrorists, are being digitised and technologised through the US Department of Homeland Security's funding and development of Project Hostile Intent (PHI). PHI will be based on 'video cameras, laserlight, infra-red, audio recordings and eye-tracking technology [that] are expected to scour crowds looking for unusual behaviour, with the aim of identifying people who should be approached and quizzed by security staff'. Designed as a multimedia and multimodal system, PHI is being designed to 'pick up tell-tale signs of hostile intent or deception from people's heart rates, perspiration and tiny shifts in facial expressions'. Reminiscent of the sci-fi realm represented by the Hollywood firm Minority Report, the goal of PHI is to 'identify people "involved in possible malicious or deceitful acts" - before they ever commit the crime'. The Department of Homeland Security envisions integrating PHI 'with other technologies aimed at identifying individuals who pose threats to the U.S.A., e.g., biometric tools and databases'. (Pugliese 2009: 326)
This is more like it. Here "technology" actually makes sense. It is also more in line with what can be read in the RAND publication Out of the Ordinary (2004) about a vision for an automatized system for detecting atypical behavior.
With Project Hostile Intent, the target body is enmeshed within a regime of biopower designed, in Michel Foucault's terms, to bring 'life and its mechanisms into the realm of explicit calculations'. Pulse rate, perspiration and micro-facial expressions are all digitally calibrated and gauged against what one computer scientist involved in the project has called an 'integrated score of malfeasance likelihood'. Presupposed in this integrated score of malfeasance likelihood is a disciplinary norm that establishes the guiding templates for 'correct', 'normal', and 'appropriate' looks and behaviour against which deviations signal targets that pose security risks. (Pugliese 2009: 327)
Cosmopolotian Quiz: What is YOUR Likelihood for Malfeasance?
In the course of this essay, I have tracked the manner in which a series of somatechnologies are being deployed and developed in order to capture prospective criminals. (Pugliese 2009: 329)
No, in the course of this essay you have presented some good-to-know cases of racial discrimination, quoted some scary postmodern hyperboles, called an item of clothing a technology and dedicated only a few paragraphs to actual technology, only to blow its function way out of proportion with the help of said postmodern hyperboles. I've learned very little about the actual deployment and development of said technologies. Eloquent presentation does not make up for a substantial argument.


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