Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Deterritorialization: Appadurai & Sleep Dealer

We are introduced to Memo as he recounts his story, immediately drawing the viewer into the character's past in Alex Rivera's Sleep Dealer. Memo notes that it is hard for him to remember home, but sometimes, during his dreams or when he is connected through his plugs, the memories of home will resurface in his conscious. Although Memo is both geographically and mentally disconnected from his home, Sleep Dealer introduces the concept of memory banks, and thus disconnects the idea of Memo's home from the past and allows us to view and Memo to experience them in the present. In fact, throughout Sleep Dealer, the notion of temporality is continually twisted and reworked, and in fact, through Luz's memory bank, even commoditized.

I found that this related to Appadurai's examples of 'deterritorialization', a condition or state that forms because of the constantly changing ethnoscapes and ideoscapes we find ourselves in. Appadurai claims that "...the sheer speed, scale, and volume of each of these flows are not so great that the disjunctures have become central to the politics of global culture." In Sleep Dealer, we see these descriptors that serve as catalysts of disjunctures in global flows depicted as the net. Sleep Dealer introduces and exaggerates to  it's audience the immediacy of today's want for an instantaneous, and 'real' connection to our present.

Perhaps because of the trauma of losing his father, perhaps because of a dream of making it in the big city, Memo exemplifies the experience that is deterritorialization while in Tijuana. Memo becomes embedded in various foreign networks upon his arrival, contrasting sharply against his arguable 'off the grid' upbringing in Santa Ana del Rio. Appadurai claims, " this fertile ground of deterritorialization, in which money, commodities, and persons are involved in ceaselessly chasing each other around the world...". Likewise, Memo soon becomes a part of Luz's aspirations as a writer, the US government's search for 'aquaterrorists', Miguel's search for retribution, and is granted access to the highly prized commodity of his nodes. In fact, in order to establish himself as a 'deterritorialized' person, Memo's main objective is to obtain nodes and connect himself to his new surroundings. Sleep Dealer also compares Appadurai's concept of deterritorialization with outsourced workers, which both Memo and Miguel come into direct contact with.

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