Mystery Market Ashkahn | Sylvia Herrera
Looking at the trade of illicit consumables along different points across the globe reveals a series of networks and protocols through which these goods are stored, transported and finally distributed. Some networks are in place and revolve exclusively around the trade of one specific and many times disproportionately lucrative product, and others tend to facilitate movement of many goods falling under some general category. The level of specificity pertaining to the particular consumable or set of consumable dictates to a certain degree the types of protocol or counter protocol utilizes in the construction of the illicit network.
Points of transportation, exchange, storage and distribution of the consumables are all opportunities for the illicit networks to exploit the existing licit ones to continue their operations. The illicit network often locates itself within areas of hyper dense zones of high traffic and many local areas for camoflauge that the senses are overwhelmed and do not notice the particulars when moving through these areas.
We are looking to pinpoint the areas of final transaction, or moving, of consumables within these hyper dense urban fabrics. It is within these hyper dense, and complex zones of commercial exchange and high volume traffic conditions that legitimate market conditions acquire a scale of ambiguity in terms of authenticity legality and legitimacy creates spatial and infrastructural pockets of infiltration by the illicit trade networks. This allows for the simultaneous existence of both legitimate market and trade of illicit consumables. The method for locating these areas is to define their qualities into a set of protocols, including high degree of storage opportunity, high frequency of traffic, proximity to access points, existing networks of exchange and opportunity for overlapping and exploitation. Once the data has been collected and mapped for the set protocols over the hyper dense context, we can begin to pinpoint these areas of transaction.
The infrastructural proposal is to intervene in these existing areas in order to create a public marriage between the illicit and licit networks. The infrastructure intervention is to create a change, or better a re-form. The infrastructure being introduced in a passive-aggressive manner that would serve as an attempt to create a marriage between the licit network and the illicit one. We understand that passively introducing this infrastructure by means of no power cap, but it being aggressive enough to re-form the illicit networks into the existing ones, creating cohesion.
The new infrastructure would reduce exploitation by making transparent the workings of the system, i. e. who is responsible for illicit implementions, how the money and goods are now appropriated and who is accountable.