A video essay on the internet, obsidian, and the symbol of the eagle in Aztec and American mythologies. Made on occasion of the Eternal Internet Brotherhood, 2013, in Mexico.
Obsidian is a volcanic glass. When polished its surface becomes reflective. It fractures easily, with each break creating sharp edges. Over time, obsidian is broken down by contact with water. Using each volcano's unique fingerprint, the origin of obsidian artifacts can be traced around the world. The Aztecs used obsidian for sacrificial knives. Today, it is used for experimental scalpel blades – the sharp edge of which can be as thin as three nanometers.
A Tour of the AC-1 Transatlantic Submarine Cable is the first-person account of visits to the four landing points of a telecommunications cable known as Atlantic Crossing 1, which passes through Fire Island, New York; Sennen Cove, England; Castricum, the Netherlands; and Sylt, Germany. The video takes the form of the travelogue. Chance encounters and associative digressions link the communications cable to political protest, global security, war, the panopticons of Jeremy Bentham and Argus, the urban history of docks and data centers, Sylt's corrective geology, and the problem of representing global communication structures, whose scale far exceeds that of the individual.
Views of a Former Verizon Building is the second in a series of works that explores the physical sites of the global telecom infrastructure. The former Verizon building is located in the Civic Center district in downtown Manhattan, an area that has seen a proliferation of checkpoints and facial-recognition security cameras. Views focuses on the data center's proximity to the state apparatus, giving equal measure to prisons, courts, the African Burial Ground, the Tombs, and the destruction of Richard Serra's Tilted Arc.