Thursday, January 31, 2008
This installation is designed to situate a visitor at the technological and financial interface of Mongolian white phone workers who operate on the streets of Ulaanbaatar. It includes a projection of a series of straight-on photographs of different phone workers with different stands offering time for sale. The visitor is positioned in front of the projection screen as if he/she is about to purchase a call. While standing at this interface, he/she will be encouraged to recognize a form of public mobile telephony. City maps of Ulaanbaatar are projected onto the floor along with the footprints of wireless phone corporations that operate in the city. The visitor is thus be positioned as if a user who is standing within the footprints of the Mongolian wireless infrastructure. The piece is designed to simulate and stage an act of "roaming" – wireless use in another country – but rather than being charged additional fees, the visitor will learn about a different configuration of mobile telephony. The installation is intended to emphasize technological variation in the context of globalisation, the figurative relocations that occur through transnational infrastructures, and the dialectics of distance and proximity that shape wireless encounters.
I am in Berlin at the Transmediale festival and conference this week. I arrived on Tuesday just in time to set up my installation before the opening, which started at 7pm. My installation is called Roaming and is in the main exhibition hall at the Center for World Cultures. I will also be giving a lecture about this project on Fri Feb 1 at 5:30pm in the Bilderberg Salon. I'll be posting some comments about various talks as the week proceeds. Above are some photos of the opening night. There is more information about Transmediale available here: http://www.transmediale.de/site/en/transmediale/home/