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ISO 1161

Some of the most crucial maritime technologies are distributed details that are multiplied by the millions. One of these is the corner locking mechanism on shipping containers that allowed them to be stacked on trains and ocean going vessels. A cascading set of additional technologies evolved from this joint or fitting which was invented in 1950s and eventually given ISO number 1161. The double stacked train car created economies of scale that made contemporary logistics more viable. The ocean going container ships have ballooned in size since the mid 20th century. And the multiplied container has formatted a vast onshore logistical field for automated stacking, sorting, warehousing, and transshipment. GPS is the distributed navigational technology at sea and in port that is attached to materials handling softwares, quotas for just-in-time production, and even the piracy that can collapse 500 years of technological development back to barefoot, barehanded combat.


Keller Easterling is a designer, writer, and professor at Yale. Her books include Medium Design (Verso 2021), Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space (Verso, 2014), Subtraction (Sternberg, 2014), Enduring Innocence: Global Architecture and its Political Masquerades (MIT, 2005), and Organization Space: Landscapes, Highways, and Houses in America (MIT, 1999). Easterling is also the co-author (with Richard Prelinger) of Call it Home a laserdisc/DVD history of US suburbia from 1934-1960. Easterling lectures and exhibits internationally. Her research and writing were included in the 2014 and 2018 Venice Biennales. Easterling is a 2019 United States Artist in Architecture and Design.

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