Since 2015 Max de Esteban is working on a long-term art project on the infrastructures of contemporaneity. The project aspires to survey key infrastructures that will define the 21st century and unveil their ideological nature.
For this research, infrastructures are characterized 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 meaning 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.
This research-based art project is rooted in three tenets: art as a source of knowledge, art as a collective effort and art as conversations. It is also based on the conviction that contemporary critical thinking requires the confluence of techno-scientific and artistic disciplines. Each project is the result of the collaboration of purpose-built networks of people who share their knowledge, artistic vision, and personal experiences.
The first project of this long-term research, 20 RED LIGHTS (2016), analyzes Financial Capitalism as the dominant contemporary infrastructure for the allocation of economic resources. The second project A FOREST (2018), 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, BLACK BOOK (2022), explores the ideological nature of Taxation and Inequality and the hidden mechanisms by which global corporations avoid taxes.