This project is our ongoing investigation into the industrialization of the social imaginary and the commercialization of scientific knowledge. Through a series of workshops, talks, and exhibitions using conceptual prototyping, futurecasting, reappropriations, and micro-narratives, we propose different frameworks for reflecting on the geopolitics of technology development and the reinterpretation of technologies for more personal uses.
In 2014 and 2015, we worked in the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez border region building alternative communication networks. The first prototype was a reinterpretation of NASA’s laser communication technology (LLCD, LCRD, OPALS) that used a laser modem to open a high-powered long-distance channel across the sociopolitical distance marked by the border.
While working on the laser modem, we started to explore the possibility of using lasers to create other kinds of local networks to communicate with the future, and began to engrave rocks using a glyphic alphabet of our own design. During public workshops and interventions, we invite people to use our laser to carve their predictions and warnings into rocks, and later redistribute the engravings throughout the region.
Part site-specific minimalist installation, part laboratory and workshop, this platform invites direct participation and creates an opportunity for manifesting anxieties about the future.
Support for the project came from the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts at the University of Texas at El Paso and the Unsettled Artifacts exhibition at SIGGRAPH 2017. Production support was provided by Fab Lab El Paso.