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Michael Menchaca

A Cage without Borders

It was soggy out on Saturday so I took a look my NYC Museums twitter list to see what was going on. Izumi and I settled on visiting the Museum of New York City uptown and with our admission came a free pass to check out El Museo del Barrio which has an exhibit of Latinx contemporary art next door.

There were many thought-provoking exhibits, you can read about them here or here, but the one that captivated me was Michael Menchacha’s video installation, A Cage Without Borders.

Image credit: Michael Palma Mir

From the artist:

A Cage Without Borders hijacks the commercial appeal of motion graphics on social media platforms in order to critique the US carceral state. This three-channel video installation runs a synchronized HD animation on three TV’s that are vertically oriented, mimicking the visual presentation of mobile devices. This installation addresses the ways in which Big Tech is currently operating as a de facto neo-colonial project enabling racialized state surveillance to oppress the most vulnerable communities.

Michael Menchacha

The video (see embed up top) is overwhelming but that is the intent. I dare you to keep up with the commentary while assaulted by glittery animations that scroll by on the screen like a digital slot machine. Little snippets jump out at you and lodge in your brain like morsels of insight, something to chew over and ponder later in your day.

  • State-sanctioned bias bots
  • Your behavior is now their private property
  • The truth does not generate surveillance profits
  • Facebook has created a political whitelist which has exempted over 100,000 officials from fact-checking in order to maximize user engagement
  • A digital caste system
  • Digital re-incarnation
  • Become a digital vegan

With those thoughts jangling around in our heads, we sought refuge across the street and discovered the Conservatory Garden in Central Park, the perfect digestif to the technological assault we just experienced.

Another weekend adventure in our new home.

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