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The School for Advanced Research, Center for Contemporary Arts Santa Fe, and SITE Santa Fe join forces to address the global refugee crisis and ongoing US/Mexico immigration issues through the lens of the arts and social sciences.

I want people to understand that undocumented people have names and histories and compelling stories just like the rest of us.

—Jason De León, 2017 MacArthur fellow interview

I am interested in how different spaces of detention operate, control people’s lives, lack transparency, and contribute to abuses and suffering … This is a broad system that we need to understand in a very nuanced way,
— Deborah A. Boehm, Professor of Anthropology and Gender, Race and Identity at the University of Nevada, Reno

Beyond Borders advances SAR’s mission by bringing to Santa Fe a range of scholars with expert knowledge of the current crisis of the US-Mexican border and its implications for immigrants and troubled border regions elsewhere.
— Michael F. Brown, School for Advanced Research President 

Beyond Borders and Hostile Terrain 94

3,200 Toe Tags. 3,200 Lives. 

This summer, the School for Advanced Research (SAR), in collaboration with SITE Santa Fe and the Center for Contemporary Arts Santa Fe (CCA), presents Beyond Borders, a powerful series of art installations and events that use the lens of art and social sciences to examine the global refugee crisis and realities of migration and border policy in the Northern hemisphere.
Hostile Terrain 94 installation low res

The series centers on the global debut of Hostile Terrain 94, a participatory art project and exhibition organized and sponsored by the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP), which is directed by anthropologist and former SAR resident scholar Jason De León.

The physical exhibition is scheduled to debut at SITE Santa Fe in mid-July with a digital opening on July 17, 2020. The exhibition was created to raise awareness of the death and suffering that occur regularly at the border between the U.S. and Mexico, and to remember those who have died, including many who remain unidentified.

The exhibit is composed of ~3,200 handwritten toe tags that represent the migrants who have died trying to cross the Sonoran Desert of Arizona between the mid-1990s and 2019. During the COVID-19 shutdown, teams from SAR, CCA, SITE Santa Fe, and others, including students from the New Mexico School for the Arts, have been meticulously filling out the individual toe tag cards at the center of the Hostile Terrain 94 installation. Each tag includes the name, age, sex, cause of death, condition of body, and location of recovery for each person memorialized in this project

Following its debut at SITE Santa Fe, Hostile Terrain 94 will continue on a tour of up to 150 additional locations around the globe, including Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Seattle, Miami, Mexico City, San Pedro Sula (Honduras), San Salvador (El Salvador), and Lampedusa (Italy).

Several public programs will accompany the exhibit to facilitate deeper local community conversations about the issues and to offer additional perspective from De León and other leading anthropologists and social scientists who work with and study immigrant communities.

If you would like to make a donation to the Undocumented Migrant Project (UMP), please click here.

BEYOND BORDERS EVENTS

Beyond Borders text logo

Friday, July 17, 2020

Virtual Exhibit Opening

Hostile Terrain 94 Virtual Exhibit Opening

5:00 – 6:00 pm (MDT)

Beyond Borders makes its groundbreaking global debut on July 17, 2020, with a digital opening of Hostile Terrain 94, a participatory art project and exhibition organized and sponsored by the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP), which is directed by anthropologist and former SAR resident scholar Jason De León

Register for this event here. 

July 2020 – January 2021

Art Exhibition

DISPLACED: Contemporary Artists Confront the Global Refugee Crisis

SITE Santa Fe
1606 Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe, NM 87501

The physical installation of Hostile Terrain 94 is scheduled to debut at SITE Santa Fe in mid-July as a part of Displaced, a new exhibition exploring the global refugee crisis.  SITE Santa Fe is making plans to reopen and premiere Displaced and Hostile Terrain 94 on Friday, July 10, 2020, though this date is subject to change pending approvals from the state of New Mexico. The show will run through January 2021.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Online Public Program

MacArthur Fellows in Conversation: Jason De León and Steven Feld

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm (MDT)

Free and open to the public. Advanced registration is required.

Register for this event here.

Following the launch of Hostile Terrain 94, join MacArthur Fellows Jason De León and Steven Feld as they explore how research and data can be translated creatively for public consumption through numerous forms of art and media, and be used to inspire individuals to take action in their own lives to contribute to the greater good.

Funding provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Speakers:

Jason De León

SAR 2013/2014 resident fellow, Jason De León

De León’s 2015 book, The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail (winner of the 2018 J.I. Staley Prize) chronicles the suffering and deaths of undocumented migrants who attempted to cross into the United States through the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. His work combines ethnography, archaeology, linguistics, and forensic science and questions the effectiveness of the 1994 Prevention through Deterrence policies enacted by the U.S. government. Building on this work, De León created the traveling installation, Hostile Terrain 94, as described above.

Steven Feld

SAR Senior Scholar, Steven Feld

Ethnomusicologist and Columbia University professor of anthropology, Steven Feld began working in Papua New Guinea’s Bosavi region in 1976 and has dedicated much of his career to documenting the sounds and cultural dynamics of the area. In 1991 he released an ambient soundscape album, Voices of the Rainforest (part of Mickey Hart’s Endangered Music Project). In 2018 released a full-length documentary by the same title that merged his audio archive with visuals from the rain forest and interviews with community members. Speaking about the project, Michael Stone notes, “The result is as close as we humans are likely to come in communicating with spirits gone but not departed, something that, despite the unimaginable cultural losses charged to the disingenuous promise of western “development,” Bosavi people, as cultural innovators in a wailing world, have long and tragically understood.”

DATE TBA

Film Screening

Border South

Center for Contemporary Arts Santa Fe
CCA Cinematheque
1050 Old Pecos Trail
Santa Fe, NM 87505

Date and time TBA

In conjunction with Hostile Terrain 94, Center for Contemporary Arts Santa Fe will present a series of related films, including Border South (2019), a Raúl O. Paz Pastrana film. Developed in conjunction with the Hostile Terrain 94 art exhibition and told against the backdrop of the North American migrant trail, Border South weaves together migrant stories of resilience and survival from different vantage points. The film exposes a global migration system that renders human beings invisible in life as well as death. Screening dates for Border South, which will include a Q&A with the filmmaker, will be announced in early July, along with a schedule for the related film series.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Online Public Program

Beyond Borders Symposium

10:00 – 11:00 am

$15 SAR members; $25 not-yet-members. Registration required.

Register for this event here.

Led by Hostile Terrain 94 artist Jason De León, this symposium, designed to foster greater public dialogue about immigration, will bring De León together with leading anthropology and social sciences scholars C.J. Alvarez, Deborah A. Boehm, and Ieva Jusionyte, where they will share and discuss their own work with immigrant communities and their research on border issues and policies.

Scholars:

 

C.J. Alvarez

SAR 2019/2020 Mellon fellow, C.J. Alvarez

Alvarez is an assistant professor in the department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. His first book, Border Land, Border Water: A History of Construction on the U.S.-Mexico Divide, is a history of the built world of the U.S.-Mexico borderline. His second book project, currently underway as a Mellon fellow at SAR, is about the history of the Chihuahuan desert, the largest and least known expanse of dryland in North America. In Border Land, Border Water, he focused on a political border to demonstrate how social and environmental politics are embedded in construction projects. In the desert book, however, he focuses on environmental borders that cross the international divide. It is an effort to redefine border history, explain what it means to be a desert dweller, and consider the political implications of life in an exceptionally harsh ecoregion.

Deborah A. Boehm

SAR 2013 Research Associate, Deborah A. Boehm

Professor of Anthropology and Gender, Race and Identity at the University of Nevada, Reno, Boehm was a research associate at SAR in 2013. She is the author of Returned: Going and Coming in an Age of Deportation (2016) and  co-editor of Illegal Encounters, The Effect of Detention and Deportation on Young People (2019). She is currently a fellow in residence with the California-based nonprofit, Freedom for Immigrants.

Jason De León

SAR 2013/2014 resident fellow, Jason De León

De León’s 2015 book, The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail (winner of the 2018 J.I. Staley Prize) chronicles the suffering and deaths of undocumented migrants who attempted to cross into the United States through the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. His work combines ethnography, archaeology, linguistics, and forensic science and questions the effectiveness of the 1994 Prevention through Deterrence policies enacted by the U.S. government. Building on this work, De León created the traveling installation, Hostile Terrain 94, as described above.

Ieva Jusionyte

Ieva Jusionyte

Assistant professor of anthropology at Harvard University, Jusionyte works with first responders at the US/Mexico border. Her ethnographic work examines where the lines between ethical and professional responsibilities come into conflict with legal circumstances when dealing with undocumented individuals. Her 2018 book, Threshold: Emergency Responders on the U.S.-Mexico Border, looks at the pressures experienced by first responders working under heightened security on both sides of the border. The book was selected as the winner of the 2016 Public Anthropology competition.

Contact the Beyond Borders team

Get in touch below.

Partner Insitution Media Contacts

Meredith Schweitzer
School for Advanced Research
505-954-7223
schweitzer@sarsf.org
Julia Sackett
Center for Contemporary Arts / CCA
505-982-1338
education@ccasantafe.org
Anne Wrinkle
SITE Santa Fe
505.989.1199 x 22
wrinkle@sitesantafe.org

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