Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
KPBS Midday Edition

Art Exhibition Explores 1821 U.S.-Mexico Border

Marcos Ramirez & David Taylor
"DeLIMITations" Monument 1, south of Brookings, Oregon.
Art Exhibition Explores 1821 U.S.-Mexico Border
Art Exhibition Explores 1821 U.S. Mexico Border GUESTS: Marcos Ramirez, Tijuana-based contemporary artist David Taylor, professor of art, University of Arizona

There is a new our insulation along the US-Mexico border but it is probably not the border that you are thinking of. This installation starts as far north as Oregon and goes through parts of Wyoming, Kansas, and Oklahoma in and of the Gulf of Mexico. The steel post directed by my guess Mark the 18 21 border between the US and Mexico won that a treaty was supposed to last forever. The project is called DeLIMITations. Artist joining me now. Au Train eight. Thank you. David taylor is also here. Do you remember who came up with the idea to erect in our insulation along the US-Mexico border? We've always said that when of us were invited with the idea at the same time. At the same time? We had conversations but we cannot remember how it really came to the point that we decided to do it. We had so many meetings this is been hard to claim the ownership both of us are closed do you remember why this made sense to you what Marcos had done many site-specific interventions along the current US-Mexico border or go I was very intrigued by I have been doing a project in which I was photographing all of the [ Indiscernible ] on the contemporary bordered. That was the sort of marathon in towards project as well as a survey. It was really a marriage between his work and my work. In 18 21 most of what's considered the southwest was part of Mexico. Including California and parts of Oregon, Colorado. Marcos, this was the an agreement between the US and Spain that make that land part of Mexico, is our right to expect that is correct. The treaty made this into two countries and then when Mexico became independent the three was confirmed. So that was for the new country Mexico. Was is borderline ever marked back in the 19 century? Point it was never Mark. There is several spots that were marked but very very few. That was the chance back in history in a way. David, while you were traveling erecting these sculptures, wondering about what kinds of reactions you got what kind of feedback you got from the people who saw you do it or go can you give us an idea? Generally, curiosity and enthusiasm and interest we did receive some hostile reception and push back on a few occasions. For most people that we encountered, the idea that the border had been in a different place than it is now that was evident to them. They understood that the United States claim to what was Mexico a one-time. A lot of people didn't know including myself before we start the project I understood that Texas and California and Arizona and New Mexico were part of Mexico I'm a but the idea that the border stretched as far north as the current organ California border and then included parts of Colorado and Kansas and Oklahoma and Wyoming. That was new information and I think people really were surprised and intrigued by the fact. Marcus, was it hard to install the sculptures and what I mean by that I think I read that you had to be a little secretive about it on certain areas, is our right? We did a lot of research before and try to locate the monuments that were placing in the right places and also to make it easy for us to put two or three a day. So we selected places that sometimes they were closed accounts and it would be like a confrontation or whatever but we never found that so we did come up with a system to install them fast. They had like two or three in a time in the pie chart that we had in the will select the place and we looked very official because we had a local on the truck and cameras and everything so never had a problem. In a matter of five minutes we were able to install the sculptures. The DeLIMITations exhibit in San Diego is a culmination exhibit. What will the public see? What will they get to experience about this art installation? That this is a culmination space and you will be able to see first -- well, many elements that we install plus the band that we traveled in and another photograph, which is where David went back in they had a lot of blowholes. You will find three signs -- historical signs when you find all over the US when you travel but in this case with real history and more close to the real history. And you will find a fellow friend that accompanied us a Spanish filmmaker. It is a 30 minute video. David, with so much talk about the border and immigration dominated the presidential election, how do you think this exhibit is going to be received? Next San Diego, of course, is a very Compex committee given its proximity to the Canterbury border. And I can imagine that reaction will be quite varied. There was a comment on the website for the article that came out about the exhibit. One of the commenters was in a sense by what we had done. They wanted to make a claim that we had all of our history wrong and was basically saying the only person that is entitled to the land originally is Folsom man. That kind of essentialist argument that's really hard to combat. Of course, those are sentiments in the country. So I think are both Marcos and I, we are interested in complicating history and making people look at history in a different way and also think about the fact that there is multiple histories. DeLIMITations runs through the 27th. The artist shared photographs and reflections about the border on tolddler and we have a link on our website. I've been speaking with Marcos Ramirez and David taylor. Thank you both very much. Thank you. Thank you for having us.

There's a new art installation along the U.S. border with Mexico, but it's probably not the border you're thinking of.

Marcos Ramirez & David Taylor
Monuments marking the U.S./Mexico border in 1821 on a Google Earth image.
Advertisement

This installation starts as far north as Oregon, goes through parts of Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma and ends at the Gulf of Mexico.

The 47 steel posts erected by Tijuana-based artist Marco Ramirez, who goes by "ERRE", and University of Arizona art professor David Taylor trace the border between the U.S. and Mexico that existed in 1821. It was a border Taylor and ERRE said was supposed to last "forever," according to a treaty signed by the U.S. in 1819.

The project, "DeLIMITations: A Survey of the 1821 United States-Mexico Border," was partly funded by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. The culmination of that project, including photographs, video and sculptures is on display at the museum's downtown San Diego location through November.

Ramirez and Taylor, who began erecting the monuments in 2014, also blogged about their experience on Tumblr.

"We did a lot of research before trying to locate the monuments in the right places and also to make it easy for us to put two or three a day," Ramirez told KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday.

Advertisement

Taylor said most people who've seen their work were curious and enthusiastic, but they have received some pushback as well.

"For most people we encountered, the idea that the border had been in a different place than it is now, that was evident to them," he said. "They understood that the United States claimed what was the territory of Mexico at one time. But a lot of people didn't know, including myself before we started the project. ... San Diego, of course, is a very complex community, given its proximity to the contemporary border. I can imagine that the reaction will be quite varied."