Security blankets: Uniforms, hoods, and the textures of terror

  • Archer N
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Images of the hood have become central in contemporary discourses of state-sanctioned violence. While many have commented on how the hood is situated relative to the politics of in/visibility, scant attention has been paid to the materiality and haptic circumstances of this technology of torture. In an effort to better understand the War on Terror, this essay considers how the hood's particular, textilic form corresponds to the figuration of the un-uniformed, unlawful enemy combatant and to the place that textiles hold in our everyday lives, while it also pays special attention to contemporary artworks that contend with the consistencies of this complicated material network. It ultimately positions "the textile" as a material formed at the intersections of desire and modern politics, and focuses attention on those instances where and when the textile's textility (or texture) trumps its "textuality" (or readability). In so doing, it further aims to contemplate the specific ways that the textile works to produce and maintain the limits of legitimate versus illegitimate forms of state violence, particularly at those junctures where the limit of the word, or the text, is reached.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Allison Smith
  • Elana Mann
  • art and politics
  • haptics
  • hoods
  • textiles
  • texture
  • uniforms
  • unlawful enemy combatant
  • war on terror

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  • Nicole Archer

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