UmeApplet Buy One Get One is a two month homesteading project, an ever-processing site.
NTT/ICC Biennale , October25-December 7, 1997, Tokyo,

Shu Lea Cheang with Lawrence Chua (writer/router), Yasuto Nakanishi (java programming),
Jun Oenoki (hardware interface),Takahiko Suzuki (handmade bento digicase)

"Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT)
signs a joint venture to develop "Cyberjaya", an intelligent city
destined to become the center of Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor. "
--press release NTT, May 7, 1997

BUY ONE GET ONE derives its name from happy hour at Sphinx in Soi Silom, Bangkok.
The project explores a digital (co)existence that is borne out of net technology.
While Southeast Asia builds Cyberjaya and Africa safaris on the net,
we travel to test the limits of national and electronic border patrols.

a cyberhomesteader drifting, accessing with a borrowed password
passing with a torn ID card, homepage, homeless page, buy one get one.

"As a matter of national security, we simply don't allow people
from certain countries to hop on a plane with an uninspected suitcase,
leave the airport without going through customs, and walk into a bank.
But today, there is nothing to stop a computer hacker in Iran from sitting
at a terminal and traveling to that same bank over the Internet."
--Simson L. Garfinkel writes on Electronic Border Control,
July 14, 1997 Hotwired

Shanghai. 11.17.1997, NO VISA. ENTRY DENIED.

Shanghai, November 17:
"If you are Chinese, why do you have a U.S. passport?"
-- Immigration official, Shanghai International Airport

Taipei, December 2:
You conquered me. And me? I lost but I also triumphed. How could I not?
I have learned so much from you. I can do anything now. You have educated
me in the finer points of a civilizing empire. To savor the sound of the
tea pot's wet bottom circling the lip of the warming bowl. You taught me
the way to speak your language. To start thinking of myself as a human being.
An individual. With skin in place of borders and 99 channels in place of a memory.
You have taught me many things.


Bangkok, November 15:
Chai yen yen. Keep a cool heart. Something you say in the clotted
arteries of the city of angels. Something you say to remind yourself
you were not always hurtling forward. Listen carefully. Under the
hum of the idling motor, the clatter of the fallen baht, there is a
more insistent song. Something that calls you to reflect on the
rampant materialism that's permeated the core of life in this part
of the world. To reflect on the echo of your empty bank account,
the shopping bags in your hand, the price of the ticket.

Two digital suitcases modeled after Japanese style bentobox
and equipped with powerbook, cameras, phoneline
and a hino maru bento (lunchbox with rice and ume/plum )
are netcast ready for HoME delivery.
One for the road, one for HoME in NTT/ICC gallery.

11.5.1997 5pm
uploading from CYBER CLUB, Maurya Sheraton, New Delhi, India.
Hosted by hotel's own leased phoneline and 64 Kbps server.
log on: saudia
password: welcome

Johannesburg, October 14:
You maneuver the streets, trying to lose your skin. With a suitcase
of privilege in your once colored hands, you try to become another
transborder data flow, skimming the surfaces of oceans, looted banks,
whole cities still glittering under siege. All this you try to do without
staining your feet. But as the ground seeps in through your calloused soles,
you realize that technology is not a colorless media. Even as you try to
jettison the essential encumbrances of the nation, the tribe and the individual,
the codes you have stored in your head become an anchor, fixing you to a place,
a history, a system in which you are even now participating.

The Times of India, New Delhi, 11.6.1997
New Internet policy aims at
2 million Netizens by 2000

"The information market is a pattern of reprocessing, repackaging
and reselling that we're familiar with from colonial times:
the colonies provide the raw materials which are made into
'finished' products in the West and then sold back to the colonies."
-- Leo Fernandez, IndiaLink, the country's first computer
communications system dedicated solely to development
issues pertaining to the environment, women, children and human rights.

Delhi, November 3:
The bottle of water in my hand promises that it's "triple sterilized:
No lead. No chlorine. No smell." I've been drinking religiously from it,
but I'm still bed ridden with a flu. My head is congested with the same
traffic of viruses with which the Flatted Factory Complex is teeming.
In this shabby, barely lit block of concrete, hundreds of electronic companies
have set up shop. The stench of excrement competes with the perfumed
promises of technology. It's here, in a cramped back office of an agent for
the government run ISP, that we log on for the first time in Delhi.
Less than an hour away, the Maurya Sheraton's exclusive Cyber Club
promises Internet access in pristine, streamlined surroundings,
facilitated by the hotel's own server. This is the promise of technology
in this part of the world: a fantasy of ordered streets, access to information
and security. But the reality is closer to the halls of the Flatted Factory Complex,
a place that is always open to the threat and possibilities of contagion.

"Lee chan's mother is 72 year old. She recalled that during
the wartime everyone had to bring a hino-maru bento for lunch
to school on the 1st of every month . Called 'Revival of Asia Day' ,
no one was allowed anything but rice and the umeboshi. It was meant
to train ordinary folks to experience the wartime 'front line'. "
--from Claire and Marou's e-mail

Harare, October 19:
a Fanonian safari affair: tea served in the bush by tuxedoed Shona waiters,
a tour through a game reservation with all these pruney English people.
"That's a giraffe, isn't it? Giraffes eat their young for breakfast, don't they?"
Language becomes a mirror, where any attempt at dialog becomes merely
an exercise in confirming the white man's expertise.
There is the appearance of an interactive economy on the Web, but don't
most folks use Web sites like Game Boys? In order to truly intervene and
interact with this circuit, it's necessary to adopt a different kind of reflex.
Try this: shatter the mirror, then pick up the glass and use it like a razor
to cleave yourself from yourself.

Seoul, November 23:
It is a condition of life in the Third World to deny your place in it.
But no matter how high the skyscrapers or how well paved the road,
no matter how fast the speed or sophisticated the violence, no matter
how long ago modernity triumphed and raised its imperial flag here,
no matter how many places develop where the word "cyber" can be affixed,
nothing can hide the scent of tear gas on your breath. The song in the
noraebang remains the same. We still rule over the ruins of miracles.

Singapore, November 9:
I suppose this is as good a place as any to consider your paranoia
and how it has shaped our journey. A state of paranoia is necessary
for maintaining any identity. Without the fear of disappearing into
the black world around you, the borders of our bodies would vanish.
In Singapore, it feels like someone is always watching, monitoring
your every indiscretion. Everything seems to try to reinscribe the
permanent identity of a state against the flows of travel and trade.
Let's face it, without fear, you are nothing.

On the road, the digi suitcase is net transmission central,
our last hold to a connection, an interface between travellers and
marketplace locals, our attachment to HoME/System Mainframe.
In the gallery, the bento suitcase serves as gateway for gallery visitors.
When in doubt, PRESS. Memory chips scramble.
Reprogramable auto-agents shuttle down the assembly line.

The Daily Star, Beirut, 10.24.1997
"They try to send a virus to the page, a form of electronic detonation.
They send a message millions of times -- which could take up all our capacity.
There is no dialog. This is not a struggle over a piece of land, it is a clash of civilizations
-- between Arab civilization and, if one exists, Israeli civilization.
The media has always concentrated on the Islamic Resistance as a military operation,
but resistance is not just a military matter. Combatting Zionism requires the most
advanced technology in order to counter the directed media and to convey our views."
-- Hassan Naami, publicity director of the Islamic Resistance
Support Association on the Moqawama web site

Beirut, October 29:
Beirut is a fabric of ideas, different tenses that exist in the same sentence.
There is the Beirut before the war, the Riviera of the Arab world captured
in the postcards that are still on sale everywhere. Then, there is the Beirut
that will be, Solidere's Hong Kong of the next millenium, dreamed up on
architectural plans and real estate brochures. Then, there are the few remaining
edifices of bombed out buildings. Across the street from the construction site
for Sodeco Square, in a crumbling building that architectural activists have
temporarily saved from demolition, we wander up a staircase into a sandbagged
snipers' lair. The ground is littered with newspapers from 1978 and invoices from
the 80's. I find a photo of someone's wedding under some broken tiles. The urge
to forget lives on the same street as the desire for nostalgia.

"The existing ruling class in Malaysia forms an unbroken
link with the colonial past. They operated with colonial
categories of thought despite their anti-colonial pronouncements.
Their concept of property, income tax, business institution and the state,
are still dominated by colonial categories."
-- Syed Hussein Alatas, "The Myth of the Lazy Native"

"Asian cultural values will help bring Malaysia
out of its current economic crisis."
-- Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed

Penang, Malaysia, November 13:
My birthplace flashes by in a current of nostalgic bytes and futuristic promises.
The lure of calling this place home again has never been stronger. Even in
the midst of the depression, the excitement of the future is infectious:
hearing Mahathir Mohammed rail against Western hegemony, watching
manicured offices rise like refined Javanese palaces out of the plantation
oilpalms at Cyberjaya in KL. Wandering the backlots of the Free Trade Zone
in Penang, I pass aisles of young kampung women boarding company hired
buses that take them back home: every step of their lives is accounted for.
There is the feeling here that the Third World can keep some of its own
rightful harvest rather than deliver it all to overdeveloped nations.
The Keretapi Tanah Melayu carries me across the promised land.
A train pushing forward through the forest of signs.
Its engines screeching out a nervous lullaby.

During the two month period of the NTT/ICC Biennial Exhibition,
we claim our HoME in Tokyo gallery space and in the telecommunication mainframe.
Tracing a route that recalls seeds of discontent, we'll be locating net connection
and log on in every city. Recharging desire carried on trade winds between
Africa and Asia, we'll be uploading and 'furnishing' our HoME with wallpapers
of the ever-developing, shuffling memory chips as we cross the borderlines of
hyperlink (il)logics.

"I.D. card. I.D. card"
-- Hong Kong policeman who stopped me in a park.

Hong Kong, December 5:
Is it possible that a city could just disappear? That a friendship could vanish
into the tabula rasa of a new year? Suddenly in this city with no precolonial
past, there is no history: only a colonial present and the imminence of its
disappearance. That's the dream, anyway: that there are no places left to live.
Only spaces of transit. But the transients of Hong Kong woke up from a dream
to find that in their restless sleep they had built a city that could never vanish:
a glittering mainframe of glass, steel and speed. They rose to find they had become
their colonial masters, hungrily feeding on newer forms of migrant life.
Just when you think you've reached the end of the line. When nothing more can
happen to you. Just when you think you have returned to your motherland, a lovely
witch curses you. Exiles you to forever live in a place called In Between. But this barren
island turns out to be a paradise, linked to the mainland by twelve different superhighways
and a multi-media supercorridor. You become a winged cypher, a stupid angel with no legs
that flies forever and lands only when he dies.

"The networks of the future will be digital. They will be intelligent.
They will be defined and controlled by software. They will offer high
transmission capacity and flexible bandwidth. They will have open
architectures so that they can be easily accessed and interconnected.
They will convey information from every possible source -- by putting
us in touch with other human beings, information, by sensing what is
happening in natural and man-made environments."
--Dr. Pekka Tarjanne of International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
speaking on the subject of Africa and the Information Superhighway, March 18, 1995,

"Africans are good at playing with ideas, but not as good at actualizing them.
But the Internet is the the only chance Africa has to narrow the gap; the first
time the West can't use information to blackmail Africa. All the studies that
are done on forestry and agriculture by UN bodies and foreign aid organizations
would ordinarily be lingering in files in cities like Paris or London or Washington.
But with the Web, Africans can access those reports in their home countries."
-- Dr. Nii Narku Quaynor, Network Computer Systems, Ghana's home grown ISP

Accra, October 24:
In order to send an email from Ghana to neighboring Cote d'Ivoire,
a former French colony, the messages are re-routed through Paris.
We leave Accra for Abidjan to make a connection to Beirut.
The manager of Middle East Air reviews my passport and asks me
if I'm of Lebanese origin. Too exhausted to lie, I say no, and he refuses
to accept our tickets. The plane takes off with us still on the ground.
The only way out of Abidjan is to go to Paris.

October 12: 1st stop, Johannesburg
in collaboration with Johannesburg Biennale
special thanks to Okwui Enwezor

much thanks to akram zaatari and Zahera Harb of Beirut.
with ume interface, this site is best viewed with Explorer or Netscape Communicator .
wait, wait, if low bandwidth. downloading two javaframes.
To trace our travel routes, dial country codes and CALL.
check in on NTT/ICC gallery visitors, dial 9999 and CALL.
stranded at HoME