Shanzhai Passport

2017

What: Counterfeit passport stand offering forged passport services.
Where: ZK/U OPENHAUS, Berlin.
When: 24/08/2017

“One can safely argue that colonialism and imperialism provided the impetus for developing modern surveillance technologies. In the name of state security, surveillance emerged as essential for managing the population and territory.” -Colonial oversight by Elia Zureik, Nov 2013.

One such surveillance technology is that of biometrics used in ID’s such as passports to track, identify and control the movements of the colonial subject (e.g African american slaves, 19th-century colonised India) and unwanted racial migrant groups (e.g Chinese prostitutes denied by the US Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, muslim population affected by the Trumps ’muslim ban’ and the contemporary refugee).

Attempting to put into action the articulation of Iranian design researcher, Mahmoud Keshavarz, that passport forgery can be viewed as a ‘critical practice of making which momentarily interrupts the matching accord of body, citizenship and freedom of movement’, the project ‘Shanzhai Passports’ not only attempts to place questions of race and empire at the centre of the surveillance discourse, but also how this continues to perpetuate the construction of illegalised bodies from the ’third world’ and illegal counterfeit products made in Asia.