POWER: GRIDLOCKED

Introduction

Andrea Polli

Mesa Del Sol Endowed Chair of Digital Media
Associate Professor, Fine Arts and Engineering
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque

The Power/Gridlocked theme created by Nancy Zastudil, Erin Elder and Nina Elder invited artists and scholars to respond to issues of interlocking power of all kinds, for example, issues surrounding increasing instances of blackouts and the smart grid technologies that respond to them, but also on transforming systems of social, economic and political power due to technologies.

This track includes one essay, The Matter of Technology, written by Anita McKeown. It accounts for the discussion taken up by a panel of international experts including the Gridlocked creators themselves. These specialists address the use of power in cloud computing and web 2.0 environments, highlighting the linkages between the virtual and the real. Appropriate to its setting in New Mexico as a place with many natural resources, participants in this panel discussed the material costs of networked technologies, such as carbon and rare earth metals. Panellists also presented ways in which artists have thoughtfully responded to problems created by the matter of technology, including alternative materials.