Aarti Sunder’s artistic practice are interested in fictions can be born out of investigating situated experiences and asking if these help us re-think the ways in which we understand technology and our relationship with it. So far she have focused on contemporary labour practices, fictional edges of protest, myth and digital-terrestrial play. Technologies, internet and algorithms are somehow understood as immaterial and always future-oriented tools. Her interest is to problematize the determined linearity of ‘progress’ inscribed within the promise of the algorithm, technological prowess and a quantifiable future. Looking at globalised framework of precarious labour, non-human exhaustion and storytelling that lies at the strategic intersection of power, knowledge and aesthetics. Relooking at these intersections, Aarti believes, can help us tell better stories, of fictions past, present and future.
WE OWE EACH OTHER EVERYTHING
We Owe Each Other Everything is interested in the question of labor in Dubai and is set around conversations I had with Uber/Lyft drivers, aquarium attendants, restaurant workers and IT professionals in Dubai. The film relies on the metaphor of the fish and the aquarium as a means to bridge the gap between human and animal fatigue.
The film begins with a tamil word amaithi which means to be calm, peaceful and/or silent. It is what pushes us to work harder, better, faster. It also helps us cope with the obsession to be functional. Be functional is the response of a system straining to work amicably over and over again, while the excessive noise of fatigue, anxiety and neurosis is laid to rest until its next uncontainable outburst in the form of protest, collapse, a tear or fatality depending on the capacity to keep adjusting. This work is an attempt to craft a counter-viewpoint, using the very material of the excess: Exhaustion and fatigue that ensures repetitive inertia, where the fatigued already seem artificial.
Ghost Cut: Some Clear Pixels Amongst Many Black Boxes
Ghost Cut: Some Clear Pixels Amongst Many Black Boxes is a year-long research and production endeavor explores the complexity of remote gig platform work from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (Mturk). Mturk is an online platform that mediates labor on a global scale, a complex hybridized platform that is a coming together of a jobsite, a marketplace, shop-floor and trading floor – that largely (but not always) has tasks that need to be done for the back end of machine learning and algorithmic processes (image annotation, image segregation, document conversion, social media content checking, providing content for facial recognition, surveys etc.) The research focusses on the lives and work of remote gig platform workers between India and USA. Businesses and individuals who use these platforms to employ between one to thousands of people to complete work that software cannot do. The word ghost indicates that it is not just the physical absence of a person doing a particular job, but the pretense that such a person does not even exist; the silent laboring hand behind the magic of technology; the silence that requires spontaneity, creativity and cultural interpretation.
This project comes in a series of iterations, as films, prints and texts
Fictional Landscapes of Togetherness
This collaborative project is an attempt to stretch and add upon the understanding of what a digital platform can do for times of social distancing. Not only to serve as a communication device for touch but also as a way to store touch. By collecting data through the surfaces generated in collective mapping landscapes data gathered from these landscapes will be collected and stored as a translation of actual movement. The landscape serves as a fictional model of physical experience. This is an online synchronized digital landscape that invites people to wander together while interacting in person with touch and sound. A virtual site to create new collective stories in the midst of past memories. A fictional land that penetrates through the confinement of the physical world. A storytelling platform that relies on the collaboration between physical and virtual, aesthetic and technology, visual and audio, moving and touching.
In collaboration with Yimeng Zhu, Chucho Ocampo, Chi Pohao, Faruk Sabanovic
online interface : https://fictional-landscape.herokuapp.com/
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