Reflections on Migration and Teleportation

On a recent journey between two European countries a list of unanticipated encounters with border agents made me start reflecting on the rehearsal process for this project.  I recall specific moments in which the performers and I were working to embody the idea that the information being teleported could be altered and/or corrupted as a result of unexpected/chance encounters with elements in the environment.   This notion is critical in the drive to develop the quantum computer because it is this moment, the moment of chance encounter, the moment of the unexpected influences that is quantum computers promise more transparency.  This transparency makes it possible to tell whether the information sent has be somehow intercepted and/or altered in the process of its journey.

This moment of unexpected/chance encounter is also critical for migration, for this moment has the potential to transform one’s identity; by this I mean the way an individual understands his/her space and place in the world, as well as the ways in which one’s family and community of fellows understand an individual’s role in the family, community and society.   Certainly much can be said for the ease in which travel is possible in our 21st century world, varying types of migration has become commonplace in many societies.  By migration, I am speaking here of any journey from one location to another that requires some type of border crossing.   For this short reflection, I am using border in its narrowest sense to point to territorial border.  Territorial borders are crossed every day; for many with the expectation of positive transformation in terms of identity.  For these individuals, journeys across borders as tourist, for professional careers, to reconnect with family and/or friends, the journey is a part of a constellation of positive markers that boosts their identity.  For others, the journey across borders is a result of having fallen by choice or circumstance into the category of vulnerable (and/or surplus) bodies.  My recent encounter gave me a glimpse into this latter world.  It has caused me to rigorously reflect about how easy it is in our 21st century western world for chance encounters at critical points such as territorial borders to unravel/corrupt/alter essential information that are foundational to identity.  With this understanding it is possible to see similarities in the complexities of migration and teleportation.

AHRC Cultural Engagement Showcase – University of Liverpool

30 January 2014

Carol Sorhaindo and I were awarded travel bursaries to present the project at the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Cultural Engagement Showcase hosted by University of Liverpool.  This took place on Thursday, 30 January 2014.  As Cultural Partner on the Transportation Transformation: Migration Teleportation and Railway project, it was the first opportunity for Carol to meet with officials and share her thoughts on the project.  We did a collaborative 40 minute presentation as a part of a larger panel.  The project presentation was well received and Carol was exceptional in her contribution as a cultural partner and emerging scholar.

IFRT/FIRT Conference

The first paper on the project, titled Performing Transportation Transformation: Migration, Teleportation, and Railways, was presented at the 2013 FIRT/IFTR International Federation for Theatre Research ( which took place in Barcelona, Spain 22nd – 26th July. This year’s conference theme was Re-Routing Performance and the project’s paper was presented as a part of the Experimental Research Panel. The conference paper used performance as the point of convergence to bring together and exploit three seemingly disparate understandings around the process of journeying, highlighting concepts of and challenges to identity and belonging.

2013 FIRT/IFRT Conference, Barcelona, Spain

It was a pleasure to be a part of the more than eight hundred international delegates gathered researching religion/spirituality, politics, gender, race/ethnicity, war, translation, architecture,  community and family structures, science, history, science, and geography through the lens of theatre and performance.