Clara Winter: Wikiriders - the Thesis

 

Thesis Advisor: Grant Watson

October 2021

Abstract

The Wikiriders project (a collaboration between Clara Winter, Mi(gu)el Ferràez, and Megan Marsh) started with a Wikipedia article about a Mexican family that has had a critical role in shaping Mexican economy, politics, and society to this day—in an evil way.

Our interest in this family found a variety of outputs, including songs, texts, and short films. In Wikiriders: the feature film, we position ourselves as protagonists searching for a young member of this family in order to shoot him (with a camera).The road-trip becomes a metaphor and embodiment of a digital search: a non-linear route through a shifting time-line, in which the basic conditions for hyper-connectivitywifi, battery charge and gasolineare constantly running low.

Wikiriders - the Thesis continues this tangential trajectory, returning to key ideas and locations in order to unpack the underlying cross-connections and ghost-references that brought us there in the first place; a journey through the footnotes which includes the following stops: **A concrete ruin of historical reconciliation**Maximilian von Habsburg hiding in the edit history of a Wikipedia article**Some thoughts on the implications of the names of Mexican beer brands**Infiltrating a spiritual WhatsApp group for the rich**Hopes and doubts in becoming cowb@ys**A lonely guru who is afraid of communists**A prophetic petrol station sign with a revolutionary agenda**

In an attempt at mimesis of the thinking processes of the Wikipedia generation, the text takes on the form of a relational net made out of holes that allow for the unknown, the future becoming, and incompleteness. While it looks for connections through human/machine collaboration, the archive sneaks into the present, challenging the symbolic ordering of time into the categories of past, present and future.