[-empyre-] Transborder Tool

Ana Valdes agora158 at gmail.com
Sun Apr 25 08:29:02 EST 2010

Interesting work, Claudia! I did myself à similar research for one of  
my books about cyberculture. Maybe we can exchange material.
I liked the work of Anne Marie Schneider with the Blender platform and  
the work of Italian and Spanish independent companies, as Möller  
Industries and others.
Ana, om my way to California to explore new paths in the hybridization  
of Art and activism

Skickat från min iPhone

24 apr 2010 kl. 21.50 skrev "Claudia Costa Pederson" <ccp9 at cornell.edu>:

> Thank you Renate and Tim for the invitation. I would like to extend my
> support to Ricardo Dominguez and the research undertaken at the  
> b.a.n.g.
> lab. Que les vay bien.
> A little partial background on my current work: I'm wrapping up a  
> thesis
> on electronic games by artists using the medium for political ends,
> elaborating thereby on the notion of play as social relation. I'm  
> looking
> at this from parallel  activist perspectives of tactical media and  
> indie
> games in response to the commodification of play in the creative  
> economies
> of today, and drawing from historic avantgardes in which play and  
> games
> were central for critiquing existing forms of organization from which
> innovative forms of artistic and activist practices emerged.
> I'm familiar with Dominguez' work in terms of my research and  
> teaching at
> the History of Art and Visual Studies at Cornell. The network  
> disturbances
> of EDT are a standard work in the writing seminar on Tactical Media  
> that I
> been teaching. It is a difficult work to discuss with students born  
> around
> the time that the Zapatista uprisings were taking place.  That said
> students were dismayed at the recent developments relating to the
> transborder tool, which they see relating to the events around CAE's
> bioterrorist case. To their mind these works are not so much about
> producing working tools, but interventions in the border politics of
> immigration and the interdisciplinary turn of the university. I  
> should say
> that most of these students are in the sciences. Their immediate  
> concern
> is whether the Transborder tool works as a practical aid to immigrants
> crossing, and if not, they see the reaction of the USD managers as
> excessive.  Technical research, as they see it in general ought to be
> subject to equal standards.
> I'm equally worried but not surprised.  As other guests on this  
> list, Rita
> Riley and Nick Knouf, among them, have said the university as an
> institution is conservative. But to such a degree as to re-track  
> tenure?
> especially if tenure was given on the basis of the same research? We  
> are
> all precarious workers, I explained to my students. The university has
> traditionally been a precarious environment for activists and  
> artists. The
> university was founded on the model of the monastery.
> It can be argued that the transborder tool fits within the monastic
> tradition of hospitality and humanism, however. The tool as Micha  
> explains
> is conceived in the service of the oppressed as a form of humanitarian
> aid. It challenges the Transcendentalism enmeshed with the American
> tradition of conflating technological and social progress. In the  
> process
> it ends up revealing the contradictions of   research. The tool is
> designed on the processual principles of performance art, and poetic
> traditions connected with the act of walking.  How does it work?
> It is an ambitious project. It seeks to combine GPS data, and API
> (application programming interface) and an authoring layer that  
> allows for
> editing, with poetry, and transborder solidarity.  The team is still
> working on encryption in order to prevent militias from finding aiding
> sites like the water deposits left by border angels for immigrants  
> braving
> the desert. They are also working on translation interfaces to include
> indigenous languages, English, and Spanish.  There are also issues  
> about
> power usage related to the length of the journey, as well as reception
> because of the weakness of GPS signals.  It is no good to deal with  
> a "out
> of service" in the heat of the desert. In any case, GPS enabled
> technologies are used by border patrol and smugglers already.
> In the broader public context, the attacks on the work of Dominguez  
> and
> CAE relate to the fears of contamination emerging in conjunction  
> with the
> celebratory discourses of hybrid economies. In the context of the
> university, it is the issue of funding that is at stake. In meager  
> times
> artistic and humanist research is always the first to go, given that
> applied science continues to be framed as the motor of social  
> progress,
> the equivalent of economic prosperity, and the means to peace and
> stability. This is in a nutshell the neo-liberal argument. Now, a tool
> designed to safely navigate unaccounted-for 'others' through the  
> borders
> between Mexico and the US, seems to poke a big hole in our guiding
> principles?
> Claudia Costa Pederson
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

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