Karfiol collected the evidence she found of the ways that smartphones are essential to the contemporary refugee experience.
Karfiol said the whole idea of refugees being poor and uneducated — and in the logic of some, therefore not entitled to possess smartphones — is ill-informed. Syrian and Kurdish people have mostly fled their country because of war, not economic disenfranchisement. “We need to understand that many of them come from middle-class households and may be educated, with a university degree. They had proper first-world work and are definitely as fluent with technology as a person living in Europe, the U.S., or elsewhere. Actually, we might need to grasp this fact: The really poor ones hardly have the financial means to venture on this trip to life. It is quite costly.”
has been installed a number of ways at galleries and festivals. In other venues, Karfiol has created a kind of futuristic information center to enhance the surrealism of the project. “I try to respect the intelligence of viewers, since it is important to me not to represent this phenomenon as an Orientalist extravaganza of bloodshed and medieval tragedy, a unique war crime that happens far, far away — but rather as a very cold, bureaucratic, technical, dystopian possibility that might next strike just about anywhere we call home.” — Jennifer Levin
“Relief and Monitoring” screens as part of Currents New Media at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 14, and Wednesday, June 21, at Violet Crown (1606 Alcaldesa St., 505-216-5678); no charge.