Repossessing Border Space

Congrats Markus Heide on your new publication Repossessing Border Space: Security Practice in North American Border Art.

“How do artists approach topics such as national border security, undocumented
immigration, and border violence? What kind of engaged aestetics do they develop? How
are discourses of security and insecurity – and material manifestations thereof – addressed
in works of installation and performance art located at the US–Mexico and the US–Canada
borders? My discussion will concentrate on three pieces by contemporary US-based artists:
Non-Sign II, a sculpture designed by Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo (known as the Lead
Pencil Studio), The U.S.–Mexico Anti-Archive by photographer and installation artist Susan Harbage Page, and the Transborder Immigrant Tool (TBT) by Ricardo Dominguez and The
Electronic Disturbance Theater.”
Excerpt from Repossessing Border Space: Security Practice in North American Border Art by Markus Heide. Comparative American Studies: An International Journal.

ABSTRACT
This paper discusses how the visual arts engage in representing
border crossing experiences and, more specifically, how art interrupts
border security practices and their rituals. After introducing the history
of North American border art and different approaches to issues of
border crossing, the paper will concentrate on specific works. It argues
that the selected works of art perform interventions that confront the
public with the borderlands as a place of violence and death. At the
same time, artists are shown to employ different artistic strategies
of symbolically re-possessing the borderlands for undocumented
migrants who – when crossing it – experienced it as an existential
obstacle.

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