The Con-tain-er installation excavates the shipping container industry and traces historic "flows" of people and goods: the Silk Road, spice trade, triangular trade including slavery, Columbian exchange, and refugees. The present-day movement of goods across borders, zones and spaces is commonplace in our daily reality; however, it is relegated to the background of our contemporary globalization.
The performance, done through the popping of balloons and patrolling an artificial border of Amazon-ordered catch-all "international" flags, calls attention to the axis on which cultural exchanges have occurred. Through text and the femme body of an employee in all-black attire wearing a blue-tooth, the worker is provided instruction on how to speak about the history of global exchanges. She ruminates on a different method of circulation that is equity-driven rather than profit-driven. Circulation is emblematic of the global shipping industry. This installation refers to the uneven spread of globalization, specifically how corporate production invisibilizes off-shore labor into an easily discarded tag of "Made in___."
Hiba Ali is a new media artist, writer and musician from Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. Her digital and sculptural installations and performances focus on the history of objects that are produced from global circuits and their embedded codes, encompassing both the technological and sociological. She conducts workshop around open-source technologies, reading groups about technology, personal and colonial histories. She has worked with black, immigrant, queer, brown, white, old and young populations and community organizing and employs digital technology in ways that empower people. She holds two undergraduate degrees from the School of the Art Institute Chicago with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film, Video, New Media and Animation and a Bachelor of Arts in Visual, Critical Studies. She is a Master of Fine Arts candidate at University of Texas-Austin. She has exhibited and presented her work in Chicago (IL), Toronto (ON), New York (NY), Istanbul (TR), Detroit (MI), London (UK), Riga (LV) and Dubai (UAE).