The Logistical City

Brett Neilson July 30, 2011

Image: Ned Rossiter

Brett Neilson and Ned Rossiter


Boarding Gate C10, Suvarnabhumi Airport: midnight approaches at the end of the concourse, beyond the malls and gates collecting passengers for Singapore and Hong Kong. A long line of young Indian men wait to weigh their hand luggage before boarding the Kolkata flight. These are kuruvis, low-level ‘hand-carriers’ employed by shadowy bosses to transport consumer goods like electronics and garments between Thailand and India. Not surprisingly their pre-weighed luggage comes in exactly at the maximum weight allowance. But it is also carefully apportioned according to value, each carrier transporting just enough to stay under the Rs 5 Lakh limit that attracts prosecution for smuggling electronic goods into India. When the laden flight docks in Kolkata, the baggage hall is resplendent with commodities: plasma televisions, hi-fi systems, musical keyboards, not to mention the iPods, mobile phones, digital cameras and computer circuit boards stowed in makeshift bundles of shabby cloth. This is a full-scale logistical operation – a single link in the many networks of formal and informal labour that distribute consumer goods manufactured in China to markets around the globe.

Read more

What is a Research Platform?

Coordinator June 08, 2010


Anja Kanngieser, Brett Neilson, Ned Rossiter


For a brief moment in 2007 it seemed that everything was a platform. Seemingly a ubiquitous moniker in the world of tech marketing, the term platform became a substitute for the word product. The idea was to add an air of strategy and Web 2.0 savvy to the tireless rollout of software solutions and business objects that marked this particular moment in internet history. Indeed, at the first Web 2.0 conference in October 2004, Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle declared that one of the preliminary principles defining Web 2.0 was ‘The web as a platform’. Technically a platform is something you build upon. But it can also describe a declaration of principles (e.g. by a political candidate) or a piece of infrastructure dedicated to public discussion. In the computing world its most basic meaning is a piece of equipment or computer architecture that runs a particular operating system. But as a term of business jargon, its sense has run beyond this to describe what one technological consulting company calls the creation of ‘an environment of promiscuous integration as a way to accelerate operations, get closer to customers and partners, unlock innovation, and discover efficiencies’.

Read more

Three Propositions on Zones

Mithilesh Kumar October 23, 2012

Read more

Expertise in the Shanghai Financial Market

Giulia Dal Maso October 23, 2012

Read more

Notes on art, fieldwork, and method

Giovanna Zapperi October 19, 2012

Read more

Zones and Corridors

Ranabir Samaddar October 15, 2012

Read more