International Conference and Exhibition "Coding Decoding the Borders" (3 days)

This 3-day conference, as well as the exhibition, focus on the technologization of border controls, whether relating to persons, goods or capital.

Image conference "Coding Decoding the Borders"



For the past 20 years, many stakeholders (researchers, journalists, NGO workers and activists, elected politicians, employees of national administrations and international organizations, etc.) have been observing, documenting, studying and at times condemning the technologization of border controls. Alongside the militarization of borders, traditional control systems are now complemented by the deployment at state borders of increasingly-sophisticated technologies (biometrics, robots, walls, integrated surveillance systems, data mining, big data, etc.) which control movements of population groups, goods, capital and information. Analysts of this intensive deployment of technology generally tend to look at the objects of control separately: persons, goods and capital. Yet we should also look into the question of the possible movement and transfer of knowledge and techniques from one of these objects to another. Any analysis of border controls, whatever the object, needs to look at the same questions, namely efficiency, “fraud” and diversion.

This conference therefore has a dual objective: to examine the political and ethical issues related to this technologization of borders, its implementation as well as its misuses, and to show the resulting discrepancy between the representation it produces and the practical reality. We will try to understand to what extent speaking of dysfunction or not, is in itself politically significant.

The conference is organized by the ULB, the World Customs Organization and antiAtlas des Frontières.

The full programme is available here.


This exhibition "Coding/Decoding the borders" aims to represent the complex reality of border changes at the dawn of the 21st century. Combining collaborative productions developed by hard and social sciences scientists, practitioners and artists, it also offers to skip barriers between fields of knowledge. This exhibition presents artistic productions that incorporate digital tools (such as immersive installations, or Internet art), choosing borders and the crossing of borders as the main subjects. This exhibition does not only aim to expose the mutations of contemporary borders, but also seeks to make visitors aware of the significant impact these changes have on their lives.

When & Where?

CONFERENCE 13-14-15 April 2016

  • April 13th : Faculté d'Architecture (La Cambre/Horta) - ULB, Rue du Belvédère 21, 1050 Brussels: Auditorium R.G.19
  • April 14th : ULB, Campus du Solbosch, S Building, Avenue Jeanne 44, 1050 Brussels: Room Dupréel.
  • April 15th : World Customs Organization (WCO) Headquarters, Rue du Marché 30, 1210 Brussels: Room Kyoto A

EXHIBITION April 13th – May 31st, 2016 - Free entrance - Thursday to Sunday ; 2 to 6 pm

  • Exhibition and Opening Ceremony of the Exhibition : Espace Architecture Flagey-ULB, Place Flagey 19, 1050 Brussels


Registration for the conference is free but mandatory. You can register here.

Further information?

Further information is available on the ULB website.

Publication Date: Tue 05 Apr 2016
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