Call for proposals for a special issue of the Qwerty journal «Images, Interaction and Technology in Secure Environments»

Scientific presentation
This issue of the Qwerty journal seeks to investigate the mobilization of the transmission of moving images, as well as the use of still images, in the context of secure and constricted environments. Such practices can be linked to the use of technologies with regards to interactivity.

Technologies aimed at security and confinement are in constant evolution in penitentiary institutions, the same is true for other communications tools (as was the case for the Minitel, or landline telephones) which had already been introduced in prisons a long time ago. Other means of communication are currently in the process of being adopted. In fact, limited and controlled access to the internet is being progressively introduced in some prisons at least in France, through the CyberbaseJustice rooms. Nevertheless, the use of technologies for the purpose of communication and interaction is not yet widespread enough in activities held inside the institutions. These activities result from the intersection of external bodies, such as judiciary or university, and the institution involved in confinement. Synchronous communications by means of video communications in the context of judiciary, and sometimes, pedagogical activities are already developing in prisons of different countries. The use of these technologies requires the observation of the role of images in communication devices. It is in this perspective that this issue intends to link the use of images to social activities undertaken in an interactive mode.

Constricted environments may be seen in a rather wide sense. Indeed, the urban environment is also vested by the use of images for security purposes. Video surveillance is still a rather delicate issue in many countries and research on the direct observation of operators practices in surveillance centres is slow to come forward. The “raison d’être” of the “control centre” entity mainly lies in the organization and scrutiny of spatial areas dedicated to pedestrian and automobile traffic. Operators’ job involves the resolution of problems arising in these areas of attribution and competencies, which often concern traffic and security problems of “vehicular units” (pedestrians, cars, public transport) and “participative” units (isolated individuals, in twos or in groups). Agents are active in individual work on screens, in tripartite communication or in small groups. These interactions occur either face to face, between the team members alone or during incoming or outgoing telephone calls. These communications are stimulated by differentiated access to information. Visual resources are used at the time of these communications, for which they form the basic elements.

In this perspective, the urban environment is seen as a secure environment in an open space. Proposals may be concerned with questioning other aspects of these professional activities about security, in particular with regard to the junction between the identity card picture required of each citizen and “invisible” images produced by contemporary cities. The image of a citizen’s face concerns security activities and represents an object of interest to legislators, citizens and artists.

Lastly, one last orientation underlying the previous points is concerned with various methodologies used to capture still and moving images in secure environments. In fact, research as a device for observation (capture instruments, observer) takes place at the core of other organizations of which the vocation is the professional observation of individuals (prisons, tribunals), of spaces (video surveillance), of individuals themselves (face recognition). Thus, we could question the multiple relationships the researcher must build with other observational dimensions for the activities under scrutiny.

Within the interdisciplinary perspective this issue addresses (which implicates Sociology, Language Science, Psychology, Aesthetics, etc..) the following questions could be addressed:

• What is the role of images (either still or moving) in the various activities concerned, either closely or remotely, with security?

• What are the interactional practices held by images in security environments?

• What are the uses of images and which representational practices are explored in the artistic domain?

• What are the methodologies used to capture the role of images in security contexts?
We welcome the submission of original research papers, of which the theoretical, methodological and analytical scope shall be on a par with the very themes concerned with this call for proposals. All articles will be examined anonymously by readers. The languages we accept are French, English and Italian.
Authors are invited to submit their proposals in the form of a summary (500 words and 5 key words maximum) at the following address:, by the 31st of July 2014
Authors will in turn be contacted on 10th September 2014.
The article will be required before the 30th October 2014.
Reading results, and eventually requests for modifications, will be sent before the 15th of December 2014.
The definite version of the paper must be sent for review before the 28th February 2015.
APA norms must be respected. More information can be obtained from reading the guide for submissions available at this address:

Editor for the special issue Bruno Bonu
Praxiling UMR5267 – Université Montpellier 3 (France) – CNRS

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