'Indefinite Imprisonment, Infinite Punishment'


This chapter draws on a number of visual and verbal testimonies and activist documents produced by camp inmates themselves, ‘opening in this way to specific understandings of camp identity, as a realm of presence, recognition, subjectivity, agency, and resistance.’ (Iriz Katz, Diana Martin, and Claudio Minca, Chapter One ‘The Camp Reconsidered’ in Camps Revisited: Multifaceted Spatialities of a Modern Political Technology)

Suvendrini Perera on the creative forms of embodied resistance from Manus Island:

Another powerful embodied act through which the Manus prisoners make themselves appear is the distinctive posture they adopt at protests and sit-ins. This posture of upraised arms combined with bowed heads and crossed fists, has become a signature stance, signaling at once both vulnerability and protest.  It is a stance that evokes both the ‘hands up’ of the disarmed prisoner confronting by deadly force, and the closed fist of the anti-apartheid salute and other protest movements of the mid-twentieth century… Like the ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ that Mirzoeff identifies as a ‘signature gesture’ (2016, 96) of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Manus men’s performance of an acquiescence that also signaled refusal was one adopted as a gesture of solidarity elsewhere. Repeated and restaged on Australian streets and in government offices taken over by protesters, the Manus salute bridged the separation between off shore camp and the civic spaces of the nation, between citizen and prisoner, legal and illegal.

Read Chapter, Indefinite Imprisonment, Infinite Punishment: Materializing Australia’s Pacific Black Sites by Suvendrini Perera in Camps Revisited: Multifaceted Spatialities of a Modern Political Technology.


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