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Dystorpid Visions
Cameras, microphones, exploring surfaces, territories. At first an astonishing window into other worlds, one marveled at the sight of life being projected on the screen, and at the conquering of distances that allowed one to hear the other’s voice and see the crushing of the train into the room that opens and lets in.  Now, communication technologies move widely, roaming into streets and buildings, sending digital information into the networks that we can access, intoxicated in a virtual embrace that has our mobility fixed on the screen, feeling we are free to move and be still connected, like a dog on an elastic leash…

Globalization: access to anywhere in the world, at least virtually, through the network that is ever so ubiquitous. Or is it the same place? Mobility: that’s the new motto. Who can move and where? We turn on our Android, there is a sense of fluidity when we walk down the streets of downtown Toronto listening to the news in Argentina, until a police officer of the G-20 inspired deployment of force stops you for standing in a –so you thought- public space. Access denied.

When it comes to transnational border crossings, it seems like globalization translates into global capital. Fluidity of bodies across borders translates into corporate bodies, with arms that reach from the gold mines in Chile to the rivers of Colombia and back; while free trade agreements declare that human rights are respected in the democracies where resources are rich, and, therefore, migratory flows like those of people seeking refugee status should be stopped.

While it is claimed that the state is losing its capacity to mediate between global capital and local communities, thus talking about a “destatization” or erosion of the state, the truth is that, when it comes to its citizens, the state is exercising ever-increasing control over the population it allows to cross or remain within its borders. In this context, digital communication technologies and locative media, while allowing for connections between different social movements and playing an important role on organized resistance, also provide a window for state forces to conduct surveillance in a way that is not conspicuous, and flagrant violations of civil liberties are proposed in this, the ‘civilized world’.

Technology allows mediated access into the world of another. What stories get told, and how are they used? What was technology developed for, and whom does it benefit when we use it? Is it possible for artists or activists to use technologies in a way that would be disturbing to the system of global capital?

In dystoRpia, the project presented as part of Subversive Technologies, No Media Collective is researching the utopias of integration in the Americas and probing the realities of the flow of bodies, both corporate and individual, using technology to bring to the gallery and broadcast from it soundscapes, testimonies, opinions and everyday life situations that betray dreams and desires, disappointments and dystopias. Different approaches, from historical research to performance and field recordings, attempt to reveal a continental landscape with affective intersections, exclusions, forced integration and split identities.