This presentation takes the image of the ocean platform—real and imagined—as a starting point for thinking through the economic and colonial infrastructures of digital platform technology. Digital platforms can offer a temporary, stable space or ‘island’ for social, financial exchange against a background of fluid, unfixed meaning and value. At the same time, they situate themselves in international waters, so to speak, ideally ‘outside the state’ and independent of regulation or taxation. The video imagines a science fiction version of the ocean platform as abstracted financial trading point that takes advantage of its physical location for trade while also abstracting from life on Earth’s surface.
Tim Corballis is a novelist and art writer living in Te Whanganui-a-Tara. His latest works are the speculative fiction novel Our Future is in the Air (VUW 2017) and the exhibition Human Hand (Dowse Art Museum 2020, with Fiona Amundsen). He is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Science in Society, Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington.