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Shapes on the Horizon: Reading the Pumice Raft and Migration through Agentic Ecologies and Australian Border Control

Waterhouse, Jaxon ; Mitchell, Chantelle

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URN: urn:nbn:de:hebis:26-opus-157883

Freie Schlagwörter (Englisch): Deleuze , littoral spaces , geology , detention centers , migration
Universität Justus-Liebig-Universität GieĂźen
Institut: International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture
Fachgebiet: GieĂźener Graduiertenzentrum Kulturwissenschaften
DDC-Sachgruppe: Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie
Dokumentart: Aufsatz
Zeitschrift, Serie: On_Culture : the Open Journal for the Study of Culture ; 10
ISBN / ISSN: 2856008-5
Sprache: Englisch
Erstellungsjahr: 2020
Publikationsdatum: 18.12.2020
Kurzfassung auf Englisch: In 2019, reports of a raft of pumice adrift in the Pacific Ocean circulated. Expelled from the Earth by an underwater volcanic eruption, the raft is wonderous and abject, severed from its geologic origins. A threatening Anthropocene omen, it troubles the smooth space of the ocean through its intrusion. We track its movement through sur-veillance technologies — tools of control that buttress turbulent and shifting con-temporary borders.
Our consideration of the movement of people across porous borders apprehends migratory discourse and critiques framings of abjectness, fear, and colonial reper-formance in an Australian context. Security and surveillance, and the littoral compo-sition of Australian borders figure as means of maintaining and reinforcing fixed, terrestrial constructions of sovereignty. Recent border polices involving stratified spaces of offshore detention become bureaucratic and inhumane extensions of the littoral sphere — convergences of the smooth and stratified, that invert, yet reinforce colonial control and persecution.
Framed by Deleuzoguattarian notions of smooth, stratified, and holey space, and our ongoing research project, Ecological Gyre Theory, we see overlaps, collisions, and parallels between the pumice raft as agentic, ecological force, and legacies of invasion and colonisation, reperformed onto people and landscapes. Considering the agentic power of bodies, we read the traversal of the sea by both raft and asylum seekers towards a critique of Australian history and cultural identity. Our critique endorses both a decolonial and New Materialist approach, exploring ecology and be-ing amidst climate collapse and a rapidly changing world.
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