Photo: Unsplash/Claudio Schwarz

Ghost Platform: Generating the "Complex Image" of Data, Labour, and Logistics

This project aims to create a platform that makes visible the conflicts in transport logistics that are mostly being concealed from public view.

In our contemporary society, the operations of transport logistics and intelligent automation technology heavily rely on what anthropologists call ghost work – forms of human labour concealed from public view. The circulation of goods and information to our homes and workplaces is aesthetically misrepresented as a clean and frictionless system. It is an inconvenient (and often costly) truth that a system sold on reliability has so many pockets of conflict and uncertainty, which is why these tales of labour conditions are relegated to the ghostly. They are drowned out, underwater echoes of a system usually only seen from above surface, with the sea represented as a network upon which goods and information glide in smooth coordination.

Despite the consumer aesthetic, software operations and global logistics industries together represent primary engines for capital accumulation and exertion of state power today. Here artistic research poses a unique opportunity to engage with these conditions of visuality by offering a counter-aesthetic.

This project convenes a study circle of logistics workers and artistic researchers to co-design a software tool: a ghost platform. It pursues a complex image combining sound, image, text and virtual elements with discussion of these obscured perspectives. This research coproduces new visions for more sustainable and fair uses of these tools: a counter-logistics. The artistic outcomes will offer collated material for public analysis of ecology, economy and politics.

During 2022–2023 the project was placed at the Royal Institute of Arts.



Principal Investigator

Benjamin Gerdes Artistic researcher

Project members

Amy Boulton MFA Fri Konst (fine art)
Amanda Hansson Master's Degree in Art History


Swedish Research Council