Mapping immaterial flows : how consumption invisibilizes labor : the satellite and shipping container
MetadataShow full item record
The kiosk system went down and everyone missed their flight. I had this experience recently at Chicago O’Hare International airport when I was flying to Austin. It affirmed the importance of understanding networks and how their working (or in this case, the lack thereof) immobilizes goods and people. Usually, when you check in for a flight, there is a kiosk, a station where you can print out your ticket, bag tags, and receipt. This automation of airline customers and their luggage is routine and due to its speed, allows a lot more people to obtain services. A standard of speed and ease of access is therefore coupled and expected. When this automation is no longer available, people lose their shit or more elegantly stated, the artifice of entitlement becomes gruesomely apparent. I understand everyone has a place to go and we won’t get their soon enough. However, the system is down and the airline workers are doing their best. Of course, once the network is back in place, the kiosks will resume operation and yes, they will arrange a later flight. But in a global economy where networked spaces are equated solely to make money at an expedient pace, how do we get people to understand other ways to respond to a malfunction? The common assumption is that systems are supposed to be perfect and a glitch or a malfunction is an exception, however it is quite the reverse. What if networks weren’t based on dualism? The binary being either: an all digital internet of everything kind of space or a cyberpunk infused reversion to the analog. Instead, what should be thought of and put into place is a multiplicity of network configurations such as A to Z, alif to bari yay, 1 to a 1000, uno to millón. This is what I propose in my research and arts practice: how do we build multiplicity and equity in systems? Networks are not arbitrarily put into place, they have funders, users, buyers, beneficiaries, and losers involved. Therefore, they are porous flows, exchanges, and axioms, always open to change. My research lies in between histories of media, technology, and globalization. I investigate these themes through performance, sculptural installations, reading groups, and workshops that focus on the role of technology. Specifically, my practice is focused on objects that are produced from global circuits and their embedded codes, encompassing both the technological and sociological. I investigate the history of objects such as the satellites and shipping containers and make immaterial streams tangible. The specific objects of the satellite and shipping container carry information that frames notion of historic and present day globalization facilitated by technology. The sections of this text are not necessary meant to be read sequentially, there are organized like nodes. In the first node, I will examine the role of satellites in my projects, Satellites and TELL A STAR. Satellites project examines Our World, the first global transmission (1967) through a sculptural installation, video and website. This project critiques the notion of techno-utopianism, a idea that technology will resolve all inequalities plaguing humanity. Then, I will review TELL A STAR, a 3-channel installation, where I divert the history of the first American satellite, Telstar (1962) through the lens of Afrofuturism, archival research and fluidity of identity. In the second node, I will review my project, Con-tain-er, its installation and performative elements and the role of “flows” within global shipping networks. Near the ending node, the role of networks, “junk,” and the use of workshops will be examined as part of my arts practice. Demanding the creation of more inclusive and divergent networks is central to imagining fluidity. It is within reach, we need to imagine it.