"Infiltration Visuality," ASAP/14 Panel Proposal

deadline for submissions: 
March 30, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Scott Volz, University of California, Irvine
contact email: 

We are seeking contributions for a panel entitled “Infiltration Visuality” for the 2023 meeting of the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present (ASAP). Please email a 250-300 word abstract and short bio to srvolz@uci.edu by March 30 to apply.  

Call for Papers

 “Infiltration Visuality”


Panel proposal for ASAP-14, Seattle and Bothell, WA, October 4-7, 2023


Panel Organizer: Scott Volz, University of California, Irvine



Please email a 250-300 word abstract and short bio to srvolz@uci.edu by March 30, 2023 to apply.


This panel critically addresses the history, legacies, and tactics of police infiltration of revolutionary and activist movements, and reflects on cultural practices opposing surveillance capitalism and the carceral state. The Intercept recently revealed that the FBI paid an informant significant sums of money to spy on racial justice activists during the uprisings of 2020, shelling out tens of thousands of dollars to devise a conspiracy and ensnare organizers in prosecution. The strategy marks a continuation of the type of subterfuge used to undermine previous liberation struggles and echoes the recent example of corporate mercenaries secretly penetrating the NoDAPL movement, where they employed counterterrorist measures and psychological warfare to monitor and intimidate water protectors and sow fear and paranoia. The return to the old Cointelpro playbook by state and private actors signals a serious danger for radical political activities, one adding to the ongoing use of counter-insurgency operations, hyper-militarized policing, mass surveillance, and extreme sentencing policies. Just as before, infiltration today largely targets Black, Muslim, and Native individuals and spaces and it attempts to incapacitate the wellspring of anti-capitalist, anti-colonial, anti-imperial, and anti-racist movements for socialism and liberation now taking place. The purpose of this panel is thus to bear witness to the fact that law enforcement, corporate interests, and security companies are carrying out violent measures dissembling, prosecuting, incarcerating, and assassinating figures on the left. Thinking about the visuality of resistance, subterfuge, and infiltration, the panel seeks papers considering visual cultural actions to evade, critique, resist, or thwart the surveillant gaze of the carceral-capitalist state apparatus. We invite contributions by organizers, scholars, and artists investigating themes of security, fugitivity, opacity, and in/visibility from an art historical and visual cultural perspective.Paper proposals may address these or other topics, including:


  • The history of infiltration
  • The actions and legacies of Cointelpro
  • Counter-insurgency policing
  • Data-driven policing
  • Repressive state institutions
  • The Black Panther Party
  • The American Indian Movement
  • NoDAPL & TigerSwan
  • Opacity & darkness
  • Propaganda & guerrilla imagery
  • Surveillance & counter-surveillance
  • Abolitionist art & aesthetics
  • Anti-imperialist & revolutionary visual culture


Due to the long history of the state, fascists, and reactionaries surveilling academic events and mining scholarly publications for information that can be used to prosecute or implicate left-wing activists, we strongly advise against any paper that reveals confidential, sensitive, or private knowledge, or which inadvertently offers tips on how to strengthen and improve infiltration tactics.