Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

All from the Comfort of Chihuahua

August 10th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Many moons ago at the Bronx Museum, we caught a great bit of satiric video art entitled Why Cybraceros?. We’ll let the artist himself, Alex Rivera, explain the riotous concept:

In his second film, Why Cybraceros? (USA 1997), Rivera sarcastically imagined a future in which migrant farm workers (or Braceros) could work in America, but never actually come to America, by controlling robotic workers over the internet from their country of origin. The Cybracero concept started as a surrealist satire of anti-immigrant politics, and internet utopianism in 1997. Strangely, it has become reality today in Indian call-centers in which thousands of people work in America over the net, but may never participate in any other way in U.S. society.

The five-minute clip, which can be viewed here, has now spawned an equally sharp-edged (if lamentably content-light) website that purports to be the corporate portal for Cybracero Systems Inc. We wonder how many folks have stumbled across the site and not gotten the joke—we reckon a lot, given that Rivera plays it awful straight. Well, except for The Onion-style testimonials—we sincerely hope anyone could see right through those.


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