Aesthetics of Logistics: a distance-based collaborative moving image research framework

NAISS 2023/7-6



Principal Investigator:

Benjamin Gerdes


Kungliga Konsthögskolan

Start Date:


End Date:


Primary Classification:

60401: Visual Arts

Secondary Classification:

50701: Human Geography

Tertiary Classification:

50801: Media Studies



It is a difficult logistical problem, in a sense, to visually convey the complexity of global logistics networks. This research project explores contemporary visual art’s capacity to confront the social and ecological impact of global logistics infrastructures by assembling an international practice network and footage database. Using a custom installation of the open source Kaltura video CMS, the intention is to use the SNIC science cloud as a platform to complete a short video in collaboration with artistic researchers in two other sites. For reasons of ecology and global health, video production alternatives to traditional models which require researcher-producers to physically travel are sought. Beyond the basic technological facilitation of a collaboration, the research hopes to demonstrate viability of a project combining multiple sites to address the social and material conditions of transnational supply chain management, logistics networks, and data and cargo infrastructure. With an emphasis on a proof-of-concept experiment toward the collaborative potential of an video server, this action-research facilitates new public discourses (poetic, experimental, transnational) for understanding the complexity of these overlapping networks. The project enacts a parallel logistics infrastructure to generate these new visual and perceptual analyses, utilising artistic research methodologies to suggest new relationships to labour, ecology, and collaboration. Aims of a broader project based on this prood-of-concept would include: 1. Convene a transnational resource group to develop models for collaboratively-produced media work that juxtaposes relevant sites and contexts, cultivates the trans-disciplinary potential of sound and moving image work, and facilitates encounters between artists, researchers, workers, and community organisations. 2. Draw on expertise of this resource network and commission test footage contributions by partnering local film crews with individuals and groups working or living near sites of logistical interest (see workers’ inquiry in “Theory”). 3. Design and implement a multilingual database of media and metadata, including its legal framework. Per item 2 above, produce three collaboratively edited films to test and demonstrate its capabilities. 4. Conduct workshops, outreach, and peer feedback to grow the research-in-practice network and implement the server as a public resource for artists and researchers. With these public encounters, formulate methods for reading and utilising the images produced.