Isaac Julien’s Ten Thousand Waves : screening human traffic and the logic of ebbing

Authored by: Sean Metzger

Routledge Handbook of New Media in Asia

Print publication date:  November  2015
Online publication date:  November  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138026001
eBook ISBN: 9781315774626
Adobe ISBN: 9781317684985


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Perhaps, as Michaeline Crichlow suggests, art might be the best vehicle to apprehend the process of human traffic since it can capture the rich dimensionality of this phenomenon.1 Whereas journalistic coverage might emphasize economic determinism and the inequities of human rights in terms of both definition and distribution, art foregrounds issues like representation and the conditions that enable intelligibility. How do media forms shift not only the capacity to recollect the experience of traffic, but also the very material mechanics of trafficking? What circuits of power and technologies of visibility enable us to see what are often invisible currents of both documented and undocumented human labor? What sorts of fantasy projection does the dissemination of media networks across the globe enable? What possibilities not only for communication, but also for identification and production of agency (and subjectivity) become available through such networks?

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