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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  November 2015

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING November 2015

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Subject:

Re: Ground Truth: 'The Migration Machine' - The Transborder Immigrant Tool

From:

Ricardo Dominguez <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Ricardo Dominguez <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 23 Nov 2015 05:52:27 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (160 lines)

Hola Tod@s,

Thanks for inviting EDT 2.0/b.a.n.g lab to this dialogue. (As a side 
note EDT 1.0 started on just this type of list serv. back in the day).
And I am happy to say my long time collaborator and friend Brett 
Stalbaum will also be floating around the list). I will start with a general
research statement of the TBT (Transborder Immigrant Tool) project and 
what connections it might have with the 'migration machine':

*“**/...the border—analyzing it as an abjection machine and as a 
state-sponsored aesthetic project, and as a practice, not a static, 
violent, hybrid place, or a refulgent metaphor but rather as a network 
of regulatory mechanisms and disciplinary triggers.” /*

**

*/- /**Mary Pat Brady, **“**The Homoerotics of Immigration Control” 
**(2007)*



In 1995 the Border Research and Technology Center (BRTC) was opened; it 
is operated by Sandia National Laboratories, located in San Diego, 
California. BRTC works with Homeland Security, the U.S. Customs Service 
and Border Patrol, the U.S. Attorney offices, and law enforcement 
agencies to strengthen technology capabilities and awareness on U.S. 
borders. BRTC also works on joint ventures to identify technologies that 
will stop the flow of undocumented people crossing the Mexico–U.S. 
border, and is currently participating in a project to detect heartbeats 
of people concealed in vehicles or other containers. Nine years later 
(2004) b.a.n.g lab (stands for bits, atoms, neurons, and genes) in 
collaboration with Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0 (EDT) started 
developing a border art and technology research center at the California 
Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (CALIT2), a 
$400 million academic research institution jointly run by the University 
of California, San Diego, and the University of California, Irvine, that 
would develop a counter-aesthetic and critical technology to disturb the 
border technologies that programs like BRTC were developing.

In 2007 EDT 2.0/b.a.n.g. lab started developing a mobile-phone 
technology entitled the Transborder Immigrant Tool (TBT), which provides 
GPS coordinates and survival poetry to immigrants crossing the 
U.S.–Mexico border while leading them to water caches in the Southern 
California desert. In 2010, the project caused a firestorm of 
controversy on the American political scene, and the artists of EDT 
2.0/b.a.n.g. lab (Ricardo Dominguez, cofounder of EDT 1.0/2.0 with new 
media artist Brett Stalbaum, and new members, artist and theorist Micha 
Cárdenas, Amy Sara Carroll (poet and border studies scholar at 
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), and mixed reality artist Elle 
Mehrmand), were investigated by three Republican Congressmen, the FBI 
Office of Cybercrimes, the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), 
and the University California Office of the President (UCOP).

TBT began with the basic question: What ubiquitous technology would 
allow us to create an inexpensive tool to support the finding of water 
caches left in the Southern California desert by NGOs? Our answer was a 
cheap iMotorola phone series could be made useful for emergency 
navigation. The early generation of the platform we targeted can be made 
reasonably useful in a better-than-nothing scenario. Meanwhile, later 
phone generations (that don’t yet cross our price barrier, but are 
getting closer everyday) are already fully useful as practical aids 
without even a SIM card installed or an available network service. With 
proper use, the GPS performance of newer phones equals any GPS designed 
for desert navigation, and their used prices are falling. Moreover, GPS 
itself does not require service and has free global coverage, courtesy 
of the United States government. In an emergency scenario, we trust 
these later mobiles to direct a lost person to a nearby safety site. The 
TBT’s code is also available online to download at Brett Stalbaum's 
project site (http://walkingtools.net), sans water cache locations, for 
any individual or community to use for their GPS investigations.

Part of the history of the Electronic Disturbance Theater 1.0/2.0 and 
b.a.n.g. lab has been to develop works that can create a performative 
matrix that activate and take a measure of the current conditions and 
intensities of power/s, communities, and their anxieties or resistances. 
So, for us the U.S. Department of Defense launching “info-weapons” at us 
for a virtual sit-in on September 9th, 1998 or the current confluence of 
“viral reportage” and the affective contagion of hate about TBT are all 
part of the performance – of course we would much rather the hate-mail 
never occurred – dominant media is bad enough to deal with. The 
aesthetics of working in the zones of post-contemporary “artivist” 
gestures cannot really escape these types of encounters; it is part and 
parcel of the patina of our work. But we also feel that the hate-mail or 
the general fear of losing national purity is coequal in importance with 
the poetry that they were attacking. In fact, Glenn Beck, an extreme 
right-wing pundit on the Fox News Channel, attacked not only TBT’s use 
of poetry, but that the poetry itself had the power to “dissolve” the 
nation. The performative matrix of TBT allows viral reportage, 
hate-mail, GPS, poetry, the Mexico–U.S. border, and immigrants to 
encounter one another in a state of frisson – a frisson that seeks to 
ask what is sustenance under the sign of globalization-is-borderization 
and its border aesthetics.

http://bang.transreal.org/




*
*
n 1995 the Border Research and Technology Center (BRTC) was opened; it 
is operated by Sandia National Laboratories, located in San Diego, 
California. BRTC works with Homeland Security, the U.S. Customs Service 
and Border Patrol, the U.S. Attorney offices, and law enforcement 
agencies to strengthen technology capabilities and awareness on U.S. 
borders. BRTC also works on joint ventures to identify technologies that 
will stop the flow of undocumented people crossing the Mexico–U.S. 
border, and is currently participating in a project to detect heartbeats 
of people concealed in vehicles or other containers. Nine years later 
(2004) b.a.n.g lab (stands for bits, atoms, neurons, and genes) in 
collaboration with Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0 (EDT) started 
developing a border art and technology research center at the California 
Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (CALIT2), a 
$400 million academic research institution jointly run by the University 
of California, San Diego, and the University of California, Irvine, that 
would develop a counter-aesthetic and critical technology to disturb the 
border technologies that programs like BRTC were developing. - See more 
at: 
http://blog.zkm.de/en/dialogue/border-art-research-visible-borders-invisible-people-transborder-immigrant-tool/#sthash.rgU95qd6.dpuf

n 1995 the Border Research and Technology Center (BRTC) was opened; it 
is operated by Sandia National Laboratories, located in San Diego, 
California. BRTC works with Homeland Security, the U.S. Customs Service 
and Border Patrol, the U.S. Attorney offices, and law enforcement 
agencies to strengthen technology capabilities and awareness on U.S. 
borders. BRTC also works on joint ventures to identify technologies that 
will stop the flow of undocumented people crossing the Mexico–U.S. 
border, and is currently participating in a project to detect heartbeats 
of people concealed in vehicles or other containers. Nine years later 
(2004) b.a.n.g lab (stands for bits, atoms, neurons, and genes) in 
collaboration with Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0 (EDT) started 
developing a border art and technology research center at the California 
Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (CALIT2), a 
$400 million academic research institution jointly run by the University 
of California, San Diego, and the University of California, Irvine, that 
would develop a counter-aesthetic and critical technology to disturb the 
border technologies that programs like BRTC were developing. - See more 
at: 
http://blog.zkm.de/en/dialogue/border-art-research-visible-borders-invisible-people-transborder-immigrant-tool/#sthash.rgU95qd6.dpuf

n 1995 the Border Research and Technology Center (BRTC) was opened; it 
is operated by Sandia National Laboratories, located in San Diego, 
California. BRTC works with Homeland Security, the U.S. Customs Service 
and Border Patrol, the U.S. Attorney offices, and law enforcement 
agencies to strengthen technology capabilities and awareness on U.S. 
borders. BRTC also works on joint ventures to identify technologies that 
will stop the flow of undocumented people crossing the Mexico–U.S. 
border, and is currently participating in a project to detect heartbeats 
of people concealed in vehicles or other containers. Nine years later 
(2004) b.a.n.g lab (stands for bits, atoms, neurons, and genes) in 
collaboration with Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0 (EDT) started 
developing a border art and technology research center at the California 
Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (CALIT2), a 
$400 million academic research institution jointly run by the University 
of California, San Diego, and the University of California, Irvine, that 
would develop a counter-aesthetic and critical technology to disturb the 
border technologies that programs like BRTC were developing. - See more 
at: 
http://blog.zkm.de/en/dialogue/border-art-research-visible-borders-invisible-people-transborder-immigrant-tool/#sthash.rgU95qd6.dpuf

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