Images of biometric screens are becoming increasingly common in television and film, particularly in genres such as police procedurals, “terror” television programs, and medical dramas. Digital surveillant screens establish and produce authority and scientific truths about national and racial identity in the television program 24. Facial recognition systems (FRSs), in particular, participate in earlier visual discourses of privileged facial imaging such as the close-up and the mug shot, and link them with forms of machine envisioning such as automated rapid facial comparison and database matching. These techniques of facial recognition evident in film and television programs relating to the recognition of the pathologized body, the terrorist body, and the racialized body bring together modes of seeing that transfer the work of profiling racialization onto seemingly neutral new media technologies. Technophilic television programs like 24, which create pleasure out of paranoia and dramas out of identification, employ digital special effects sequences like FRSs to demonstrate the power of both cinema and science to reveal hidden identities. These identities are often racialized as Asian or Asian American. 24 conflates East Asians, Asian Americans, and West Asian ethnic groups together by representing all three as users as well as subjects of digital imaging technologies.
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Lisa Nakamura; Interfaces of Identity: Oriental Traitors and Telematic Profiling in 24. Camera Obscura 1 May 2009; 24 (1 (70)): 109–133. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/02705346-2008-016
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