Historical Materialism Athens
In April 2023, we presented our in-progress research on the Control Room located at the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum, as part of the Migration stream at the Historical Materialism Athens conference. Titled, 'A critical study of the Centre for Management of Incidents & Emergencies, Athens', our talk explored the site in relation to the intersection of architecture and carcerality, AI and digital surveillance, and the role that different forms of imaging play.
The control room at the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum (MOMA) was established in Athens in 2021 to collect and process surveillance footage from new 'closed' refugee camps across Greek islands. The room is a nascent centralised typology that monitors and predicts ‘unknown threats’ across the camps through two networked surveillance systems: Centaur, which uses AI Behavioural Analytics alongside CCTV/drone footage; and Hyperion, which monitors movement in and out of the camps. Greece’s location as a first transit country and its periphery to the EU renders it a fertile ground from which to test migration management policies and technologies by the bloc’s migratory agencies. This presentation and exhibition contribution will take the control room as a site through which to consider the increasing role of technology and predictive systems evident in the EU’s migration management tactics, as well as the role Greece plays as a testing ground for emergent surveillance technologies.