Sousveillance Pageant, by Emily Abendroth
"The drone, the cage, the market accumulate their victims by watching them. They watch so they can tag, they tag in order to conquer. But, as Sousveillance Pageant shows, we are not theirs. A brilliant blend of insight and imagination, Sousveillance Pageant has an exuberance that exceeds the page. With a creative pathos and an unruly commitment to a world within our grasp, Emily Abendroth offers an incandescent look at watching back, dreaming big, and fighting to win. Sousveillance Pageant is our abolitionist avatar, our determined alter ego marshalling collective wisdom against the punitive surveillance state with an ingenuity all her own. Follow her rebellious spirit."
—Dan Berger, author of Rethinking the American Prison Movement & co-curator of the Washington Prison History Project
"Sousveillance Pageant offers delicate looks and creative thought that could dismantle and redefine systems of surveillance, causing individual actors and reactors to have no choice but to redirect their usage. An overall revolutionary way that Emily Abendroth suggests a redirection is to surveil surveillance or rather, in the interest of the people, to SOUSveil surveillance."
—Clinton Walker, incarcerated writer, activist, & founding member of LifeLines: Voices Against the Other Death Penalty
"Here’s a book written on behalf of every seen face, each of us surveilled, targeted, data’d and metadata’d unto state and market, mugshotted, incarcerated, known by heat trace and GPS. Abendroth has written an extraordinary essay/fiction, heedless of genre’s limits, tumbling with joyful desperate exuberance from analysis to care to theorization to performance art to pun to tender languages for decarceration. This book gives form to Sousveillance Pageant, agent and avatar of the action we need: surveillance from below. What if a drone was seen by your seeing? What if you could slip through the hands of surveillance capitalists like a ghost? What if we each cared how we each answered the question What do you think security is? This book is comfort, incitement, inspiration, manifesto, careful dreaming, courageous friend."
—Hilary Plum, author of Strawberry Fields
"Each act of surveillance is a contact point with power. Sousveillance Pageant suggests that each touch by a surveilling agent is an opportunity: to remind the archons of weaponized, nonconsensual intimacy that we see them, too, and each touch goes both ways. Our protagonist, the Pageant, is as marvelously adept at cataloging the myriad ways we are surveilled as she is at fashioning 'a creative, pliant, open, and surprising life' amidst and against the rigid systems that would discipline her and those she loves. Given that, as Emily Abendroth reminds us, 'We respond to a world. We shape it, we escape it (albeit provisionally)/or we grate against it, but it pre-dates us,' our task is to make our contact with power somehow count against it. A document of carceral harm, an essaying across genres, a guidebook of resistance, a novel of ideas, a comrade’s song, this remarkable, big-hearted book asks each of us the biggest asks: will you be brave? will you not be dissuaded? will you act? will you wear the mask?"
—Brian Teare, author of Doomstead Days