by Anthony Stagliano
University of Alabama Press, 2024
eISBN: 978-0-8173-9488-2 | Paper: 978-0-8173-6135-8 | Cloth: 978-0-8173-2186-4
Library of Congress Classification JC328.3.S79 2024
Dewey Decimal Classification 303.61


Examines emergent forms of creative civil disobedience that have arisen in response to digital tools of bodily surveillance and control

The contemporary world bristles with tools of observation and manipulation. Security cameras, social media, data mining, biometric scans, and other instruments ensnare the individual in a web of surveillance. In Disobedient Aesthetics, Anthony Stagliano exposes the use of human lives as sites of data exploitation and outlines paths of resistance. From the thermal-vision systems used on military drones, which use human body heat itself as a media object, to facial recognition platforms that use human faces as data mines, and from law enforcement tools of DNA analysis to data-driven urban governance, the realm of algorithmic surveillance and control is wide and subtle.

Disobedient Aesthetics outlines interventions into the technical systems subtending data-driven surveillance and control. Stagliano maps not only the surveillant regimes afforded by recent networked technologies, but also the inventive, artistic research into ways of undermining, upending, or redirecting such technologies. The concluding chapter examines creative, critical, and collective efforts to democratize access to the technology that undergirds such scrutiny and enables ways to detect and contest its power.

In a fascinating epilogue, Stagliano revisits current theories of control and offers an alternative reading of Gilles Deleuze’s oft-cited thesis on control societies: namely that it is not a matter of “finding new weapons” to undermine control but developing new techniques, new designs, new prototypes, and new modes of creative escape.