Remco Torenbosch, Porter, 2017

Porter, 2017

Porter (2017) is a collection of rubber mats used for offshore and deep-sea mining. The works are connected to the Dutch East Indies Rubber Cultuur Maatschappij Amsterdam, a leading exporter of natural rubber during the late colonial period. In 1856 it started to produce and collect its high quality natural rubber at several plantations on Sumatra and Java. The company played an influential role as one of the most prominent suppliers of insulation rubber used for the wiring of the British All Red Line that started in 1858. The line was a transatlantic telegraph cable to connect the colonies to the west and ran through the Dutch territory of Java. It is historically seen as the forerunner of the submarine fibre optic cables which are a main instrument of international virtual trade in which transactions are made digital. Originally, the objects in the exhibition functioned as insulation material of water and sound during the process of automated offshore and deep-sea mining. They are made of synthetic rubber that since the industrial revolution overruled the industry of natural rubber due to its low production costs. In these objects, traces of usage of offshore mining and natural marks by salt water are noticeable but abstract. Like the miner computers, these objects distribute the shifting notion between physical labour and automation that centralize the paradox of how a dematerialized and digital world emerged from a materialized one with physical labour at its core.

Remco Torenbosch, Porter, 2017
Remco Torenbosch, Porter, 2017
Rubber, distributed by BHP Billiton Indonesia
Installation view Saloon, Brussels.
Photo: Lola Pertsowsky