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EPCOT: Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow

Island of Conscious Power in an Ocean of Unconscious Cooperation
i35
Map of a Twin Mind
Selling Air
https://terranullius.global
x-o.global

 


INFO



 

 


EPCOT: Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow

 




Mixed-media installation, 10 min, 2021


 

The body of work presented in this exhibition is conceived as an iteration of an ongoing field research project throughout the community of Playa Bagdad (Tamaulipas, MX), located a few km below the US-Mexico border, on the shores of the Mexican Gulf. Up the shoreline—11 miles afar, lays SpaceX's launching facility of Boca Chica (Texas, US), where the space exploration enterprise is already performing the operational tasks needed to accomplish an ambitious agenda, including a forty thousand satellite-constellation floating in the low-Earth orbit and the colonization of Mars.

Given the nature of its location, Playa Bagdad—a precarious community with an economy reliant on the fishing industry—materializes the complexities inherent in the US-Mexico border industrialization, a set social conditions resulting from international free trade agreements that have chosen remaining blind to the asymmetries of neoliberal politics. Nowadays, Playa Bagdad embodies a systemic contradiction. On the one hand, the community stands in the front row to witness the mutation of a world economic order, in which space exploration promises the emergence of an economic zone delimited by a new dimension of geopolitical frontiers. On the other hand, Playa Bagdad is being systematically erased by the opaque and biased environmental impact protocols of SpaceX, which deliberately ignore the community's actual existence.

EPCOT: Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow borrows its name from the homonymous Disneyland's amusement park in Florida (US), first named "Progress City" and conceived as a settlement with multiple pavilions to learn about technology, oceanography, telecommunication, energy, and space. The critical parallelism between Disney’s utopia and Playa Bagdad frames technological advancement as a truncated symbol of progress; a systemic spectacle in which the act of contemplating connotes a political act where the audience is predetermined to passivity. 

The project alludes to the irony in the fact that Playa Bagdad  ––a community economically dependent on a biosphere now endangered by the environmental impact caused by the detrimental engine noise of SpaceX's launch vehicles–– is on the verge to become a sighting touristic destination from where to witness the frequent lift-offs persuading what once was thought as fiction: an industrialized outer space. Furthermore, it proposes a critical ground from which to think about the ambivalence implicit in the commercialization of space mediated through speculative frontiers, supported by colonial dynamics in which the other remains invisible. 

 

A mixed-media installation confronts the fragility and uncertainty embedded in Playa Bagdad’s rudimentary architecture to the techno-utopian mysticism characterizing the hyper-tech environments surrounding space expansionism. A modular structure made of reclaimed and deteriorated wood intersects the gallery room, holding a custom-made sound device enabled by a set of concealed sound exciters. The black box reproduces an algorithmic voice conceived as a programmed consciousness. This metaphorical form of intelligence wonders about the subjectivities shaping a stratified social order, around notions of planetary objectification, knowledge empires, emergent geopolitical abstractions, and the duality intrinsic to the technosphere.  The sudden intervention of a community member narrating the experience of living with the noise produced by the frequent lift-offs, opens a metaphorical connection that suggests  a micro-macro relationship, which examines power structures operating down here, on Earth through the lens of space industrialization. At some point, the sudden reproduction of the field-recording of the intense sound emitted by the engines of SpaceX’s launcher represents ––in the form of acoustic vibrance–– a cathartic moment of reflection that makes visible a situation that, paradoxically, remains in silence.

Informed by the ontology of the souvenir, a tapestry made of twenty beach towels sawn together speculates about the potential reconfiguration of Playa Bagdad’s fishing economy, towards one reliant on SpaceX’s sighting tourism. Hoyo Negro suggests a critical connection between the former and the notion of the spectacle, which is constituted by unilateral dynamics between a protagonist and an audience. In this case, the protagonist —SpaceX— is the one who produces and controls those technologies that will enable the emergence of a new economic zone. Meanwhile, the audience is expected to remain in passivity, contemplating the commercialization of space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 


>> Video Screen Shot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EPCOT: Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow
Island of Conscious Power in an Ocean of Unconscious Cooperation
i35
Map of a Twin Mind
Selling Air
https://terranullius.global
x-o.global

 

 

INFO

+

 


 

 

 




Jerónimo Reyes-Retana | 2021