Catherine D'Ignazio and "The Border Crossed Us"
What happens when we divide a territory that the community imagines as contiguous? How does the international border in Arizona, seemingly remote from a college campus in northern New England, touch all of our lives here? “The Border Crossed Us” is a temporary public art installation by the Institute for Infinitely Small Things (directed by Catherine D’Ignazio, Critic, Digital + Media) on the campus of UMass Amherst.
Opening Ceremony: Wednesday, April 20, 2011
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“The Border Crossed Us” transplants the US-Mexico border fence in southern Arizona to the UMass Amherst campus. From April 20 to May 1st, the UMass Amherst campus will be divided along its North-South boundary by a to-scale photographic replica of the vehicle fence that runs along the international boundary in southern Arizona. The particular stretch of fence being represented was erected in 2007 by Homeland Security and now divides the Tohono O’odham Nation – the second largest Native American reservation in the country – into two parts. The sculptural intervention also includes a sound piece and security poetry that students respond to by texting.
Over the course of two weeks the fence will serve as a provocation, a touchstone for conversation, and a site for talks and performances. Along with the fence’s insertion into daily life on campus, the project invites a delegation of Tohono O’odham, including a tribal elder and several youth to speak about their experience. In addition, the Native American Studies Certificate Program in the Anthropology Department will hold a panel discussion on Borders & Indigenous Sovereignty as part of the campus’ annual Native American Powwow.
D’Ignazio received support from the Professional Development Fund and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst for this project.