Material Flows: Rafts and Bodies at Sea
Starting from the project Plastic Raft of Lampedusa (by YoHa, 2016–17), featured in the exhibition “alien matter,” this session discusses moments where technical objects such as watercraft and human life becomes inseparable. By dismantling the type of rubber boat used by refugees for crossing the Mediterranean, the project addresses an underexplored space where technical objects and human bodies historically and contemporaneously conjoin and merge into new entities. Placelessness is contrasted with the forms of governance, materials, and technical standards that have the power to hold a body afloat or allow it to drown. It is an extreme metaphor for our relationship to digital technologies, where bodies emerge that are in transversal collaboration with technical objects and the administrative machinery of advanced capitalism. This is not a project that is concerned with the morals of the European migrant crisis, nor is it an attempt to re-invoke the sublime of European aesthetics. This project is about a plastic boat whose journey takes place in the sea’s lack of fixity, the space between different state actors and scales of administrative discipline.