The Voice in the Machine

(in progress) The Voice in the Machine is an exploration of Asian identity in the high-tech industry. Asian labor has been intertwined with the rise of the tech industry, from engineers in Silicon Valley to iPhone factory workers in China. Yet Asian narratives of technology often become erased, whether it is through a glass ceiling or whitewashing. This project is an effort to give this workforce a voice in which to explore how identity and technology has shaped their lives — and how the major web technologies they make in turn shapes the world.

Over several months, I sat down with many Asians and Asian Americans who work in the technology to talk about how their sense of cultural identity shapes or is shaped by the technology they create. I asked them questions about their family histories, how they chose their careers and how their cultures inform their opinions of the economics and politics of the tech industry. Some of the questions I explore are how Asian American workers negotiate the exploitation of manufacturing labor from the countries they come from, or how first-generation immigrations from non-democratic countries view the debate around social media and democracy. To participate click here – interviews are collected until the end of February.

These voices will be presented in an installation via an analog telephone — as an examination of how our pasts inform our futures.