The technology that surrounds us, our latops, phones, tablets, begins its life somewhere vastly different from an Apple store. Produced in China, its journey is a vast and mostly unknown one—to most of us, anyway. Before it leaves one of China’s megaports on a cargo ship, it’s assembled in factories, raw materials processed in refineries, and the rare-earth minerals that are their fundamental beginnings, sought in the mines of Inner Mongolia.
That epic process is what the students of nomadic research studio Unknown Fields, run by architects Liam Young and Kate Davies, witnessed in an expedition to South East Asia, which began in South Korea, traveled through China, and ended in Hong Kong. “We travel around the world with a selected group of students and collaborators exploring the landscapes behind the scenes of technology, looking at the places where our world is actually produced,” explains Young to The Creators Project. “We treat these often unseen and forgotten sites as location shoot for a film and we develop narrative projects that are designed to raise awareness about these conditions and reimagine how we might think of them.”
One such film born from the trip is Blue-Eyed Me by filmmaker Alexey Marfin. Marfin’s seven-minute short is a speculative piece that ponders what a world might be like when the cost of sequencing a person’s genome is so cheap that the practice becomes ubiquitous—and around it, an entire industry arises where people can order personalized fish produced from their own DNA.
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