Articles

Tacopunk

In Uncategorized on 2010-01-03 by Kyle Maxwell

Walk around in a Latin ghetto. Look around. Day laborers, kids laughing at their friends’ momentary misfortunes, families out to get tortillas and fruit-flavored sodas. At first glance, you might think not much has changed over the last 30 years except the size and maybe location.

But look a closer look. Maybe something has evolved a little more. Teenagers spend their time in the mobile web and care as much about what their friends and rivals say online as they do on the streets. Every block has a Photoshop expert. Carnitas and bachata music may take the place of meatloaf and “oldies” (Eighties music), but the dystopian reality of a working class population immersed in (and mastering) the technological detritus of their era match the original cyberpunk vision closely.

This fusion of immigrant cultures and the pre-existing dominant modes has existed for a long time, of course. But asymmetric class warfare? That’s new, and while it doesn’t always have an ethnic component, sometimes it still does.

What will these kids do as advanced technologies like augmented reality and ubiquitous computing become part of their world? How will they use the tools and politico-digital landscape to change what it means to belong to a minority in the 21st century?

I don’t know either, but I’ll enjoy finding out.

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