Since 2016 Max de Esteban is working on a long-term research on the infrastructures of contemporaneity. Each project is the result of the collaboration of purpose-built networks of people who share their knowledge, artistic visions and personal experiences.
This long-term research is based on three tenets of Max’s artistic practice: art as a source of knowledge, art as a collective effort and art being about sharing. Exhibitions, objects, images, videos, texts, books, on-line archives, seminars, and group discussions are artistic tools for knowledge exchange and collective critical thinking.
As the 20th century cannot be understood from a materialist standpoint without the infrastructures that made it possible, this project aspires to survey the key infrastructures that will define the 21st century and unveil their ideological nature.
For the purpose of this research, infrastructures are defined as the key technologies, systems and physical conditions that enable the circulation of meaning and power.
This expanded definition includes technologies (e.g. artificial intelligence); systems (e.g. financial capitalism); and physical conditions (e.g. global warming). But also points to something else: what infrastructures really do is to frame and enable what is possible. Infrastructures are the determinants of the conditions of possibility; are the enablers of the circulation of meaning and power and as such, set the limits of our imaginations.
Understanding how these infrastructures operate and unveiling their ideological nature might contribute to the development of new collective dreams and aspirations.
The first project of this long-term research, 20 RED LIGHTS (2017), analyzes Financial Capitalism as the dominant contemporary infrastructure for the allocation of economic resources. The second project A FOREST (2019), examines Artificial Intelligence and reflects upon the implications of this technology and the ideological frameworks under which it operates. The latest project, WHITE NOISE (2020), deals with Extinction, arguably the defining structural condition of the 21st century. Currently being developed, AFTER ITS OWN IMAGE, will explore Taxation and its effects on inequality.