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By Rhizome

The term "globalization" has cemented itself as the preeminent adjective to describe our current socio-economic situation. However, the free trade of goods and currencies to which this term refers is rarely echoed in the movement of the world's human population. In fact, it seems quite the opposite as xenophobia, terrorism, and political tactics have seemingly fortified national borders throughout the globe. Often viewed as a way to transcend national borders, the internet has often been situated as a "post-border" utopia connecting cultures despite geography. Unfortunately, this way of thinking too often overlooks the fact that large portions of the "global village" have little or no access to this liberating technology. There has been an outpouring of art that looks at the dystopian side of globalization; and recently, a few compelling works have dealt specifically with the internet's role in globalization. The Citizen Exchange Program proposes a resolution to the highly bureaucratized and political systems of immigration. The Peer-to-Peer immigration network makes the alienating and bureaucratized systems of human migration personal, and expands P2P file sharing platforms beyond music and movies to life. The set up for the program is simple: find a person who wants to live where you live (and vice versa), and then simply broker a "person-to-person agreement. A trade, an exchange, for a temporary time span." Serbian artist Tanja Ostojic's work also takes a deeply personal approach to issues of borders and immigration, but her commentary is less optimistic than the Citizen Exchange Program. In the ongoing interactive web based project Looking for a Husband with an EU Passport, the artists reveals her shaved naked body with an overlay of the simple text "Looking for a husband with an EU passport" on the Web. Her figure represents the female body as a contested space and alludes to the trafficking of women and international prostitution, but it also reflects the challenges facing Eastern countries who were originally excluded from the EU. After a long series of emails (over 500) from potential husbands, Ostojic officially married (and later divorced) German media artist Klemens Golf, and immigrated to Germany. These projects point to, among other things, the potential for the web to enable cross border communication, while also exposing the personal and physical restrictions of immigration. - Caitlin Jones

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