115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

Alternative Geographies of Struggle: Mobilizing A Poetics of Resistance

Nancy Quintanilla, Cornell University

My paper will consider how the Electronic Disturbance Theatre's radical project: the Transborder Immigrant Tool, reimagined a new practice of belonging for migrants lost in the Sonoran desert. I argue that the tool’s purpose was to distribute life saving information that transforms the status of migrants from opaque bodies devoid of legal personhood to translucent figures.

Proposal: 

At the turn of the twenty-first century, a digital civil disobedience group called, Electronic Disturbance Theatre, engaged in forms of hactivism that flooded access to U.S. Government websites with experimental poetry. Their purpose was not only to disrupt sites of surveillance and policing that render undocumented migrants invisible and vulnerable to the dangers of border crossing, but also to enact a performative resistance. My paper will consider how the collective's most radical project, Transborder Immigrant Tool, reimagined a new practice of belonging for migrants. Using GPS technology, the T.I.T. poeticized the Sonoran desert landscape in order to lead lost migrants to water sources. Thus, I argue that the tool’s purpose is to distribute life saving information that transforms the status of migrants from opaque bodies devoid of legal personhood to translucent figures. This claim to translucency acknowledges the ways natural landmarks account and provide for those missing bodies wandering the desolate desert.