Douglas, AZ -- Continuing their exploration of contested spaces, the indigenous artist collective Postcommodity will present Repellent Fence, the largest bi-national land art installation ever exhibited on the U.S./Mexican border, October 9-12, 2015 near Douglas, Arizona and Agua Prieta, Mexico. Repellent Fence is comprised of 26 tethered “scare eye” balloons, ten feet in diameter, floating fifty feet above the desert landscape creating a temporary two-mile-long sculpture that intersects the US/Mexico border.
This geographic location is the center point of the largest and most densely fortified militarized zone of the Western Hemisphere. This border region and its omnipresent military and surveillance systems artificially divide people, cultures, languages and communities from themselves and the land; and disrupts interdependent human, cultural and environmental relationships that have existed for thousands of years.
With the Repellent Fence, Postcommodity seeks to build bi-national bridges between American Indian, Mexican and Latin American immigrant communities; demonstrate the interconnectedness of the Hemisphere; acknowledge and reaffirm the indigeneity of immigrant peoples, as well as the original inhabitants of this region; and give voice to the land and peoples who exist within an increasingly hostile environment of competing worldviews, economic and political wills, and ever-intensifying surveillance and militarization.
The monumental Repellent Fence installation is part of a larger public engagement campaign that includes public programming, performances and the first cross-border art walk in Douglas and Agua Prieta.
A significant facet of Repellent Fence is a nuanced social engagement process among individuals, communities, institutional organizations, publics, and sovereigns to acquire permission to bisect the border; stage the installation on public and private land in Mexico and the U.S.; enable safe public access for audiences viewing the work; and to ensure that relevant educational and public programing promote bi-national dialogue and the recovery of knowledge. To produce Repellent Fence, Postcommodity has worked outside the framework of arts institutions and galleries, instead relying on the power of co-intentionality and the desire of border cities like Douglas and Agua Prieta to generatively redefine bi-national dialogue and collaboration.
The spheres are enlarged replicas of “scare eye” balloons, which are 10” ineffective consumer bird repellent products. Interestingly, these balloons utilize the same iconography and many of the same medicine colors used for thousands of years by indigenous peoples from South America to Canada. This iconography, and its broad proliferation, demonstrates a long historical view of social, cultural, economic and political interconnectedness among indigenous peoples throughout the Western Hemisphere.
Our campaign seeks the funds for half of the cost of the helium to fill these balloons. To fill all 26 balloons requires $20,000 worth of helium. With this campaign we hope to raise at least $10,000.
Repellent Fence is presented in collaboration with Arizona State University Art Museum and supported by grants from Creative Capital, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, Joan Mitchell Foundation and Art Matters.
Risks and challenges
The Repellent Fence is the most ambitious and complicated project we have undertaken. This is the largest bi-national, monumental-sized land art installation to physically cross the US/Mexico border. To acquire permission to bisect the border, to stage the installation on public and private land in Mexico and the US, to ensure safe public access for audiences viewing the work, and to ensure that the educational and public programing opportunities afforded by the work are fully taken advantage of, The Repellent Fence has necessarily evolved into a multifaceted social engagement project among individuals, communities, institutional organizations, publics, and sovereigns. Up to this point, we have invested 8 years into the realization of this project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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