• May 8 - August 13, 2017
  • 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
  • CIIS Main Building
    Desai | Matta Gallery
    1453 Mission Street
    San Francisco, CA 94103
Add to Calendar 05/08/2017 9:00 am 08/13/2017 8:00 pm America/Los_Angeles Desde el otro lado | Land and People Divided In this time of growing nationalism across the globe, how do we think about borders and walls? CIIS Main Building
Desai | Matta Gallery
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Arts at CIIS arts@ciis.edu false MM/DD/YYYY

Alejandro Cartagena
Luis G. Hernandez
Ingrid Hernandez and Pieter Wisse
Adrienne Pao and Robin Lasser
Omar Pimienta
Oscar Romo

The geographic boundary between the United States and Mexico looms large in our political discourse and collective imagination. It's an international border that is a highly charged fulcrum of economic inequality, representing both possibility and danger. Across 2000 miles of terrain there are 700 miles of steel mesh and concrete-filled bollards already erected at huge financial and human cost.

The region can be seen as a distinct ecosystem-social, political, biological, and economic-with an ecology both multifaceted and bi-directional. The border crossing, a banal and daily bureaucratic reality for many, also puts lives at risk and ruptures family ties when citizenship confers rights on a child that are denied to the parent. Neither wildlife habitat, pollution, nor geological erosion conform to the exigencies of political boundaries, so the ecology of the region is grossly impacted, dividing species from their food sources and disrupting the natural flows of water and sediment.

From Alejandro Cartagena's juxtaposition of the complex aspirations of Mexicans who are U.S. citizens, against the physical and psychological presence of the actual fence, to Omar Pimienta's CiudadaniaLibre, a participatory project that imagines a place of Free Citizenship, the artists in this exhibition explore these intersecting and sometimes contradictory realities. Adrienne Pao and Robin Lasser strike a tone at once absurd and quite serious in positioning their surveillance-ready dress tent at the border, while Ingrid Hernandez and her collaborator Pieter Wisse explore the movements of bodies and brands back and forth across the divide. Luis G. Hernandez points to the dual nature of fences to keep in and keep out, and the work of Oscar Romo illuminates the impact of the border on the natural systems of the region, where neither garbage nor pollution respect the wall.

With the impulse to build walls keeping pace with growing international inequality, these artists deconstruct the fortress impulse and suggest the doorways, real and imagined, that connect habitat and humans.


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