‘Bioscopic Archives’ looks at the current ‘conflict’ of the covid pandemic and examines the site of the hotel which in the Australian context has transformed to become the stage for the temporary occupation of hotel quarantine protocols. The hotel has become a political machine and acts as an extended and inhabited border condition that becomes a hybrid space that exists outside normal jurisdictions, allowing the state to extend its history of detention techniques, extractionist logics and controlled immigration, now only accessible to the privileged, through flight caps, fees etc.
The hotel acts as a live archive of the state’s policies and protocols surrounding ‘foreign bodies’ as well as those charged with fighting the ‘invisible’ virus. As Judith Butler explores, these temporary sites become states of exception which are involved in “producing and managing subjects as well as a process of de-subjectivation – those that are compliant with the law, those that are without rights and human entitlement.” These sites become political pawns and objects of contention.
By conducting archival research, unearthing ephemeral artifacts, collecting eyewitness testimonies, and exploring new tools, technologies, and readings of the body the operation of hotel quarantine is mapped, revealing the infrastructure and hidden protocols of the operation: what bodies, invisibilised workers, technologies of control and surveillance and material conditions constitute this process. Through the production of a live/ living map or palimpsest the fragments produced by a time of crisis can be assembled and traced.