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Accepted Paper:

Streams of surveillance, or the flows of water, chemical compositions, and the consequences of safety in the city of Jerusalem  
Emilie Glazer (UCL)

Paper short abstract:

Sensors and streams of data reveal compositions of water flows under the streets of Jerusalem. They also reveal how safety intertwines with surveillance. What follows carries stories of transformed relations with water, where justice intervenes in the intimate spaces of imagination, affect, care.

Paper long abstract:

When water flows through the pipes underneath the city of Jerusalem, chemical traces are detected by sensors placed along the lines. Algorithms developed within the water quality team of the Jerusalem water utility monitor where chemical parameters cross standardised thresholds, alert to changes in water quality along the urban network. For a utility which claims to have the most sophisticated digital systems in its field, real-time water quality monitoring signals not just the potential to rapidly detect biochemical contamination, but the vanguard of a future for water management and public health in a time of ecological uncertainty. At the core of these efforts is a preoccupation with safety. Their consequences take on particular meaning in a city located in the wider context of occupation, where the surveillance of water – and its transformation into streams of data – connects with broader regimes of control. Through these links, water surveillance ricochets with trajectories of trauma which span pasts and present, global and hyper-local, and which conceal other less visible ways of keeping water safe, invoking realms beyond our world. Changing relations with water here reflect questions of justice on the hidden planes of the imagination, affect, and care. Attending to them exposes environmental urban politics that are otherwise eclipsed. Safety and surveillance intertwine in the informatics of urban water, cutting to the heart of what it takes to remain a resident of Jerusalem.

Panel P48a
Informated Environments
  Session 1 Tuesday 7 June, 2022, -