Experiencing Interruptions?


Truckers, Video, 13 min. 23 sec., 2020. Produced, written, and directed by Brett Wallace. Filmed by Brett Wallace and Maral Satari. Edited by Brett Wallace and Maral Satari.

Just about everything we own is delivered by trucks. Truck drivers were once known as the mavericks of the open road. But, with the rise of artificial intelligence and the speed of the Amazon economy, truckers are facing changing working conditions, new privacy regulations, and new forms of monitoring. While we see trucks everywhere we go, what’s less visible is artificial intelligence built into the cabs of the 1.8 million long haul truck drivers in the US, a clear example of human-machine coalescence. Trucks have been infiltrated by technology, which tracks the driver and allows the truck to see and react to the road conditions. But, many of the driverless trucks tests we see in the news, like a well known Budweiser test, have been done in ideal driving environments on open roads. Experts like Karen Levy, assistant professor of Information Science at Cornell University, believe we are likely 40 years away from trucks making autonomous dock to dock runs. Juxtaposing interviews with truck drivers and industry workers, with excerpts from technology providers, Truckers explores how new technologies and expectations are reshaping the working conditions, economic provisions, and lives of America’s trucker drivers.

  • Brett Wallace
  • Brett Wallace
  • Maral Satari
  • Brett Wallace
  • Brett Wallace
  • Brett Wallace and Maral Satari
  • David Claessen
    Post production support
  • Toby Shimin
    Post production support
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    13 minutes 23 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 1, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    7,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, MPEG-4, Sony UHD
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Lumen Prize for Art and Technology (juried prize, not public screening).
    United Kingdom
    Shortlisted for the 2020 Prize to be announced in October 2020.
Distribution Information
    Country: United States
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Brett Wallace

Brett Wallace is a New York-based artist whose practice involves a multi-level exploration of work, technology, and the greater economy. Working in writing, photography, video, installation, and performance, he is best known for the use of socially focused documentary to explore the labor practices, spaces, and economic systems of advanced capitalism.

He is also the founder of AMAZING INDUSTRIES, a research engine that fosters discussions about work among artists, citizens, and workers in the digital age. Reviews of his work include The New York Times, Brooklyn Rail, ARTnews, Artnet, Artslant, Hyperallergic, Brooklyn Magazine, BmoreArt, and WHITEHOT magazine. And, included in exhibitions at Silas Von Morisse Gallery (New York), The New School (New York), SPRING/BREAK Art Show (New York), Reshaping Work (Amsterdam), Gallery 46 (London), and NURTUREart (New York). He holds a BFA from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, and an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art.

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Director Statement

My practice explores work, technology, and the greater economy. Specifically, investigating technology's impact on labor and how artists labor in contemporary society. The lines of inquiry in my practice include how are new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, and new platforms shaping work? How will workers, especially those who have been marginalized, have a voice at the table, and how will they be re-skilled for the road ahead?

My work is socially committed and spans writing, photography, video installation, and performance. Recent exhibitions of my work followed the rise of algorithmically managed labor platforms, such as Uber and Handy, and Amazon's nationwide search for an HQ2, listening to workers, theorists, politicians, city planners, and citizens marginalized by the changes reshaping work. The exhibitions are composed of physical, material work stations, each of which includes video essays in documentary and experimental forms, that critically examine the changes underway in the landscape of work.

For Truckers, a short documentary film exploring how AI (artificial intelligence) is impacting long haul truck drivers, I have used observational documentary film to study, capture, and expose various phenomena in great detail. I visited truck lots for fourteen months, speaking with truckers, including workers, in diners, truck washes, and engine shops, who rely on the industry for economic provisions. I also engaged academics, such as Karen Levy, associate professor of Information Science, Cornell University, who has done extensive research on trucking and AI. These experiences contributed significantly to the content and form of the project. Even though I may be directing a work such as this, I consider the workers a crucial part of its authorship and fabric.