A body on the skin of the desert

Virtual Installation (GLB, sound)

This work highlights the United States government’s inhumane policies and operations against undocumented people. During annexations of native and Mexican lands in the 19th century, the United States had deemed the inhabiting people of the area, and those south of its new border, as racially inferior, uncivilized and excluded from individual rights, a discourse that continues to this day. A body on the skin of the desert gets its name from the border patrol slang for unauthorized border-crossers — “bodies” — and from Gloria Anzaldúa’s book, Borderlands — “the skin of the earth is seamless.” The journey across the border is riddled with danger, with additional risks by the United States government, who knowingly changes immigration routes to more remote locations in the desert. The work presents a flaccid entanglement of saguaro cacti, embodying the exhausting dispossession and marginalization of undocumented people. A body on the skin of the desert aspires to build empathy for undocumented people and to dismantle ideas of nationhood derived from racism and imperialism.

View the installation on New Art City.

Additional notes:
Exhibited in experience near death experience, curated by Room69, The Wrong Biennale, Austria/Online, 2021.