Friday, February 10, 2006

Performing NAFTA with a transport truck and RFID

Exchange by Nancy Nisbet



"The Exchange project is an artistic inquiry that uses cultural resistance to unsettle questionable relationships between international politics, technological surveillance, and identity construction. Specifically this project addresses:

1. The politics of trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

2. Myths of increased national security through technological surveillance of people and commodities

3. Identity construction based on collections of economic and surveillance data.

One outstanding feature of the Exchange project is a cross-border performance that combines Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) surveillance technology, a full-size transport truck, and all of Nisbetís personal belongings. In this sustained performance, Nisbetís things will be inventoried, radio frequency tagged and freely traded with individuals encountered during the six month trip that circumnavigates Canada, the United States and Mexico. This project exchanges the studio for the roads, truck stops, border crossings and cities of North America. 'Exchange' creates through the untidy weaving of politics, surveillance technology and identity construction. From the spaces between these coarse threads will emerge resistance, solidarity, vulnerability and moments of human connection."

The exchange project starts in Vancouver on May 1st and proceeds across Canada, stopping in Ottawa on June 6th and in Montreal on June 9th, and with stops all along the periphery of the U.S. beginning in July. More details are available in EXCHANGE 2006: A Performance of Resistance (pdf).

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