Lake Tahoe

Brett Stalubum and Electronic Disturbance

Brett Stalbaum(on the left)
Brett Stalbaum, CADRE MFA 1999, is a full time, tenured faculty member in the department of visual arts at UCSD, where he co-directs the walkingtools laboratory (with Cicero Silva of UNIFSP, Brazil). He is the primary information system developer for projects in the laboratory, which produces cloud applications, software and APIs for many different projects including the Transborder Immigrant Tool, HiperGeo, and many one of a kind, custom performance art works. He is a founding member of the Electronic Disturbance Theater (with Dominguez, 1997), C5corp, and many other collaborations.

Electronic Disturbance (on the right)
Ricardo Dominguez, Brett Stalbaum, Amy Sara Carroll, Elle Mermahnd and Micha Cardenas are collectively known as The Electronic Disturbance Theater or EDT for short. Taking the idea of the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, the EDT members always used their real names. They never concealed their identities. As a collective group they organize and program computer software to show their views against anti-propagandist and military actions, and begin mobilizing micro-networks to act in solidarity by staging virtual sit-ins on-line and allowing the emergence of a collective presence in direct digital actions.

Transborder Immigrant Tool

The Transborder Immigrant Tool is a Mobile Phone Application and Poetic intervention into the spaces of the U.S./Mexico border and United States immigration policy. The project recognizes that our immigration policy is implemented to satisfy differing demands from within the membership of one of the two major U.S. political parties. On the one hand, we import the labor that we need to meet the needs of one major constituencies of that party: the various big businesses including agriculture that desperately require the workers. But within the same political party umbrella there is also an aggrieved faction - tea party types and poor working class racists - who demand in exchange a number of sacrificial deaths drawn from among those who are offered these jobs. Allowing thousands of deaths by heat, dehydration and freezing cold just so that some U.S. citizens "feel alright" about the free importation - in the millions - of easily exploitable undocumented workers is something every American citizen should be deeply ashamed of, and is root of the humanitarian crisis that the Transborder Immigrant Tool (2009-10) proposed to enter intercede in.

The actual tool is a GPS application designed to operate on inexpensive used mobile phone (both aging JavaMe handsets and low end Android), and helps immigrants find water and safety resources (life saving help such as the U.S. Border Patrol), so that there is both an increased chance of survival during crossing, and so that the slice of the U.S. electorate who are fiendishly satisfied by each immigrant death is denied the pleasure and satisfaction they derive from the painful, torturous death of a fellow human. The tool also provides poetic sustenance to immigrants, audio that contains messages of welcome, encouragement, and useful desert survival information.

The gallery installation consists of a non-interactive "demo" version of the Transborder Immigrant tool that contains examples of the poetry that is actually installed on the "real version" of the Transborder Immigrant Tool, as well as more conceptual poems written as part of the project (Amy Sarah Carroll), read in many languages. Elements of the TBtool user interface, and images of the dangerous desert environment compliment the poems. This work was part of the 2010 California Biennial, and has been exhibited broadly nationally and internationally. A version of this work including six mobile phones is available for a $1000 tax deductible contribution to Water Station Inc, one of the humanitarian groups dedicated to placing lifesaving water in the desert for immigrant use, and who originally inspired the transborder project.
Video Interview

Image of Artwork