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TitleAgamben, Giorgio - What is an Apparatus
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Page 34

What Is an AppllrdNlS? 23

gestu res and his health, his amusements and his occu­
pations , his diet and his desires, to be com manded and
controlled in (he smallest detail by apparatuses , is also
considered by power-perhaps precisely because of
this-as a pOlem ial terrorist. Wh ile a new European
norm imposes biometric apparatuses on al l its citizens
by developi ng and perfecting anthropometric technol­
ogies invented in the n ineteenth century in order to
identify recidivist criminals (from mug shots to fin­
gerprinting) , surveillance by means of video cameras
transforms the public space of the city into the interior
of an im mense prison. In the eyes of authority-and
maybe right ly so-nothing looks more l ike a terrorist
than the ord i nary man .

The more apparatuses pervade and disseminate
their power in every field of life, the more govern ment

wil l fi nd itself faced with an elusive element , which
seems to escape its grasp the more it docilely submits
to it. This is neither (0 say thaI (h is element consti­
tutes a revolut ionary subject in its own right, nor that

it can ha l t or even threaten the governmental mach ine.
Rather than the proclaimed end of history, we are, in
fact, witnessing the incessant though a imless motion
of this machine, which, in a sort of colossal parody of
theological oikonomia, has assumed the legacy of the
providential governance of world ; yet instead of re­
deeming our world, this machine (true to the origi nal

Page 35

24 What Is an Apparatus?

eschatological vocation of Providence} is leading us to

catastrophe. The problem of the profanation of appa­

ratuses-that is to say, the restitution to common use
of what has been captured and separated in them­
is, for this reason, all the more u rgent. But this prob­
lem cannot be r erl raised as long as t hose who
are concerned with it are unable to i ntervene in thei r

own processes of subject ification, any more than in
their own apparatuses, in order to then bring to light
the Ungovernable , which is the beginning and, at the
same t ime. the vanishing point of every polit ics .

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