Transborder Immigrant Tool (detail), 2007–ongoing

Electronic Disturbance Theater
Transborder Immigrant Tool (detail), 2007–ongoing
i335 Motorola, software, images, poetry, audio; dimensions variable
Installation view: Art in the Age of Anxiety, Sharjah Art Foundation, 2020
Courtesy of the artists
© Electronic Disturbance Theater
Photo: Danko Stjepanovic


Electronic Disturbance Theater is a collective that organises online software and acts of solidarity to express their views against propaganda and military action in the form of online sit-ins and a digital platform for collective presence. The collective consists of artists Micha Cárdenas, Amy Sara Carroll, Ricardo Dominguez, Elle Mehrmand and Brett Stalbaum. 

The Transborder Immigrant Tool (TBT) (2007) is a mobile phone application intended as a guide to finding water for individuals making their way to the United States through the deserts of the US/Mexico borderlands. Repurposing inexpensive used mobile phones that have GPS antennae, the project represents a multi-balanced code-switch that delivers poetry to its users in an effort to ensure their mental well-being while simultaneously offering information about safe routes during the dangerous journey. While the project was never delivered to its intended users due to political interference, it brings attention to the long unresolved history of fear, prejudice and misunderstanding on both sides of the Mexican-US border. TBT navigates the borderlands of GPS as a ‘global positioning system’ and what, in another context, Laura Borràs Castanyer and Juan B. Gutiérrez slyly misread as a ‘global poetic system’.

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