Bruce Sterling: Using Art to Cross Borders

Bruce Sterling WeldingLife gets intensely personal at national borders, writes Bruce Sterling, science fiction author, design critic and our very own Visionary in Residence at ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination.

In a Future Tense article for Slate, Sterling muses about borders, open-source hardware, cultural dislocation and his interactive installation piece for Emerge, “My Future Frontier/Mi Futura Frontera.”

“Borders are dynamic and morally contradictory,” argues Sterling. “They process the individual, but they’re not built for his participation. You can live near a border, and prosper from tourism and arbitrage, but dwelling within the borderline is metaphysically impossible. A border crossing is a cultural clash.”

“My Future Frontier/Mi Futura Frontera” was designed at the Torino Fablab in Turin, Italy, and is built using Intel’s new Galileo circuit board. Sterling describes it as “a whirling tower of cultural images, surrounded by a jittery pair of marionettes. These polite border-crossing migrants do their best to obey the gestures of the viewer of the artwork. Like most of us in the passport office and the customs waiting queue, they’re doing the best to go through the motions. But they’re puppets of a system that isn’t built for their benefit, and reactions can get out of hand.”

Read the full article at Future Tense to learn more about the U.S.-Mexico border, Arduino and the global tech-hacker scene, and Bruce’s next stop after Emerge. Sterling’s article is part of a series exploring this year’s Emerge theme, “The Future of Me.”

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