Recent thoughts on the 100-metre dash:

Starting gun

The sprint begins with the firing of the starter's pistol. This means that the race begins with a sound, which is translated into the athlete's body movement and the start of the electronic race clock.

Starting blocks

The starter determines if there has been a false start with the aid of pressure sensors in the starting blocks that measure if a suitable number of milliseconds have passed before the athlete launches forward. That is, false starts are adjudicated by touch and a model of appropriate human reaction times.

Finish line

The winner of the race is determined visually as the athletes cross the finish line. However, given the speed of the runners and the precision required to accurately assess the victor, assistance is provided by a photo-camera mechanism that is connected to the electronic timing system. Thus, it is the archive that is required to establish the Truth of this particular sporting event in determining the winner.

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Earlier, I described how Rosie Ruiz had permeated the enclosure of the Boston Marathon, and the subsequent technological innovations (RFID chips, networked digital cameras) that had been introduced to prevent such an incident from occurring again. The implication was that the standard surveillant gaze Foucault analyzed in the prison, school, factory, etc. was not scalable to larger spaces, and as such was an incomplete strategy of control.

This quick glance at the other end of the running spectrum — the sprint — suggests that as speeds increase and precision becomes more requisite — that is, an application of Virilio's dromological thinking — the surveillant gaze breaks down once again. Touch, as McLuhan's "interplay between the senses", becomes necessary to complete the control solution.

Thus, we may see that both spatial and temporal vulnerabilities in discipline yield to Deleuze's society of control.


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