Category Archives: Citizenship and Legal Status

Cannupa Hanska Luger and Rory Wakemup, Mirror Shield Project: Water Serpent Action (2016)

“The Mirror Shield Project was initiated in support for the Water Protectors as Oceti Sakowin camp near Standing Rock, ND in 2016. Artist Cannupa Hanska Luger (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota) created a tutorial video shared on social media inviting folks to create mirrored shields for use in onsite frontline actions. People from across the Nation created and sent these shields to the Water Protectors. The Mirror Shield Project has since been formatted and used in various resistance movements across the World.” [credit]

For the December 2016 iteration recorded using a drone camera, Luger collaborated with Rory Wakemup (Ojibwe) to orchestrate the more than 150 protesters. The work was inspired by Ukrainian revolutionaries who used mirrors to reflect back the images of Russian government forces. This iteration  advanced nonviolent protest, referencing the reflected sky as well as the nearby river. (Morris, Kate. Shifting Grounds: Landscape in Contemporary Native American Art. University of Washington Press, 2019. Page 1.)

Rocca Gutteridge, UK Border Walk (2011)

community discussion
“A walk along the Scottish/English border to highlight restrictive visa policies for overseas artists, Artist Rocca Gutteridge and Claudia Zeiske undertook a walk along the Scottish/English border in reaction to the introduction of the Tier 5 visa policy for foreign artists on 5-7 August 2011.

UK Border Walk was a 77km walk along the English/Scottish border and included an Artachat discussion in the Romany town of Kirk Yetholm, the halfway point of the walk, about the detrimental effects of the new visa regulations for overseas artists. Both walk and talk highlighted and discussed the effects the Points Based System has for arts and cultural activities across our communities in the UK.

The UK Border Talk took place on Saturday 6th August in Kirk Yetholm, a small town along the border of Scotland and England. This was an open debate on the consequences of the PBS to UK cultural life. Speakers included visual artist Zineb Sedira, photographer Baudouin Mouanda, novelist Kamila Shamsie, artist/cultural commentator Nicholas Trench and Venu Dhupa, Director of Creative Development/Creative Scotland.

People had the option to join for:

  • the whole walk (ca 37 km on 5/6 August and 40km on 7 August); very strenuous and full equipment required.
  • all Sunday (ca 40km) very strenuous and full equipment required.
  • 5km and back on the Sunday morning, returning to Kirk Yetholm ca 12pm. The UK Border Walk continued towards Hungry Law the next day; joined by many for the 5km for the 5 Tier policy walk despite appalling weather conditions.

What is PBS?

In autumn 2008 the UK introduced a new points based system (PBS) for managing migration to the UK. The regulations have led to a restriction of non-European artists’ ability to come to the UK at the invitation of arts curators, promoters and artists. UK hosts are now required to be licensed sponsors if they wish to invite visiting artists. This has regulated the relationship between international artists and UK hosts from one of convivial artistic exchange, collaboration and cultural production to a contract which is excessively bureaucratic and treats international guest artists with suspicion and control. PBS has led to the cancellation of artists’ residencies, exhibitions, productions and performances across the UK. Many artists are refused visas while others are deported from UK airports because they were not sponsored.

For a full dossier of testimonials, petition to UK Government and media coverage visit the Manifesto Club’s website.

UK Border Walk is a partnership between: Deveron Projects, Artachat, Manifesto Club and ARTSADMIN. In collaboration with GASWORKS, Thami Mynyele Foundation and Edinburgh Arts Festival.” [credit]

Los Carpinteros, Sandalia (2004)

two scuptural flip flops

Two cast rubber sculptures
Each sandal: 12-3/4 x 5-3/4 x 2-1/2 inches

Edition: 60

“The sculpture multiple Sandalia is an edition of 60. The object is produced from a rapid prototype model and cast in rubber. By producing a limited edition of rubber sandals with relief maps of Havana neighborhoods on the soles, the artists adapted an ordinary object of mass production into a customized and poeticized icon that speaks of place, identity and culture. Sandalia derives from a series of watercolor drawings of sandals with maps. The right sandal depicts Old Havana, the left Vedado.”

“Over the past decade, Los Carpinteros (Marco Castillo and Dagoberto Rodriguez) have collaborated to develop their own poetic direction that functions in the imprecise boundary between art and craft traditions. Their carefully constructed works use humor to exploit a visual syntax that sets up contradictions among object, function and language.

Los Carpinteros have emerged as a vital force in the new, expanded terrain of global art. They live and work in Havana and Madrid and continue to travel and exhibit globally. For example: a major wall drawing was included in Drawing Now at the Museum of Modern Art-Queens, New York; their Transportable City was exhibited at the 7th Havana Biennial and at PS1 Contemporary Art Center in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Contemporary Art Museum of Hawaii in Honolulu. In March, 2004 they exhibited a new body of work including drawings and large-scale wood sculptures at Anthony Grant, Inc. in New York City. In 2005 their exhibition Inventing the World premiered at the USF Contemporary Art Museum.”


Renée Green, Walking in NYL (2016)

This film depicts a combination of New York and Lisbon’s urban spaces via the artist’s wanderings, where she discovers past lives in the landscape. “The viewer seems to meander through the city alongside the artist. Walking in NYL distorts time and place by shuttling between New York and Lisbon – the hectic pace of the former cued by the honking of Midtown cabs, the latter’s ramble down steeply cobbled streets. The videos slow down when Green pauses to look at details, such as the tawny stone exposed by chipped paint.” [credit]

The work touches on issues of multi-layered histories and spaces, beginnings, home, senses of national or cultural origin, unstable identities, stories of past and present, individual versus collective, and crossings. Imagery focuses on water and the artist’s movements. [credit: Ana Balona de Oliveiera, Third Text, 2016. Vol. 30, Nos. 1-2, 43-59.]

Philippe Guillaume, Every Foot of The Sidewalk: boulevard Saint-Laurent (2010-2012)

Every Foot Of The Sidewalk: boulevard Saint-Laurent
Map (2010-2012)
original mixed media, google map, photos, pencil, tape
42” x 276”
FOFA Gallery exhibition, Montreal (2013)


“Philippe Guillaume’s Every Foot of the Sidewalk: boulevard Saint-Laurent (2010-2012) currently exhibited at the FOFA Gallery is a compilation of photographic cityscapes of the desolate Boulevard Saint-Laurent. Upon entering the FOFA’s main gallery, the viewer is immediately immersed in the eerie void created by these rarely captured moments of what is commonly the busy and populated Boulevard Saint-Laurent. One of the works, Working map of Every Foot of the Sidewalk: boulevard Saint-Laurent (2010-2012) displays a linear arrangement of photographs in parallel with a Google map image of the boulevard. The map is numbered, indicating the specific locations in which the photographs were taken. This work invites the viewer to participate by locating him/herself along this frequently visited and familiar street. In depicting this Montreal landmark, the artist is attempting to offer a new or perhaps different perspective of the space and street by removing its principal component of people. Guillaume’s work encompasses the act, art and history of walking and photography in order to explore concepts of space, community and a lack there of.

Among the books and articles left for consultation in the center of the main gallery lies Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust: A History of Walking. Solnit seems to have played an influential role in the artist’s process and discussion of this work. The void captured in the photographs brings attention to a conversation common in Solnit’s work, regarding streets, people and shared spaces. Streets, such as boulevard Saint-Laurent, act as a space of congregation, a space for festivals, parades, revolutions and protests. They act as a place for voicing and displaying one’s citizenship, a shared and “unsegregated zone.”[1]Particularly in light of the student protests last year in Montreal, Guillaume’s city of no citizens explores an interesting juxtaposition between the possible usages of space that touches on many social, political and spatial discussions relevant today. — Review written by Caro Loutfi.

[1] Solnit, Rebecca. Wanderlust : A History of Walking. New York, N.Y., U.S.A: Penguin Books, 2001.”


David Taylor, Working the Line (2007)

“Beginning in 2007, started photographing along the U.S.-Mexico border between El Paso/Juarez and San Diego/Tijuana. My project is organized around an effort to document all of the monuments that mark the international boundary west of the Rio Grande. The rigorous undertaking to reach all of the 276 obelisks, most of which were installed between the years 1891 and 1895, has inevitably led to encounters with migrants, smugglers, the Border Patrol, minutemen and residents of the borderlands.

During the period of my work the United States Border Patrol has doubled in size and the federal government has constructed over 600 miles of pedestrian fencing and vehicle barrier. With apparatus that range from simple tire drags (that erase foot prints allowing fresh evidence of crossing to be more readily identified) to seismic sensors (that detect the passage of people on foot or in a vehicle) the border is under constant surveillance. To date the Border Patrol has attained “operational control” in many areas, however people and drugs continue to cross. Much of that traffic occurs in the most remote, rugged areas of the southwest deserts.

My travels along the border have been done both alone and in the company of agents. In total, the resulting pictures are intended to offer a view into locations and situations that we generally do not access and portray a highly complex physical, social and political topography during a period of dramatic change.” [credit]

Lauren Brincat, Walk the Line (2016)

person walking into the ocean

Lauren Brincat, Walk the Line (2016)

Single channel High Definition video, 16:9, colour, sound
5mins 16 seconds; Sound: Nick Wales; Cinematographer: Kuba Dorabialski

“Brincat commenced a series of walking works in 2008. Over the last 10 years she has made video documentations of actions as a type of self portrait or political statement.

Walk the Line is a companion piece to Lauren Brincat’s Salt Lines: Play It As It Sounds (20116), an epic sculptural instrument fashioned from sailcloth, which is continually reconfigured in allusion to shifting tidal currents.

The work was filmed at Cape Leeuwin on the south-western tip of mainland Australia, considered locally to be the point where the Indian and Southern oceans meet. Brincat invokes this speculative and spectral contact zone as a metaphor for the arbitrary lines that overwrite the world ocean, from meridians and parallels to the International Date Line and, in particular, judicial and territorial boundaries.

This new video belongs to an ongoing series that documents the artist marking out paths through different environments, from a lush empty field to a chaotic urban expressway. These simple propositions, performed with pragmatism, hark back to the instructional scores and minimal movement language of the sixties interdisciplinary avant-garde. Walking is framed as both an expanded act of drawing and as psychosocial mapping, which always culminates with Brincat’s disappearance beyond the limits of the camera’s view.

Departing from the single fixed shot of the earlier videos, Walk the Line progresses through three distinct scenes. The opening sequence shows Brincat’s hands wiping across fossilised geological formations that are scattered along the Cape: an instinctive gesture that describes the ancient surface of the landscape. In the second scene, she picks her way over rugged sand dunes, charting the coastline as physical threshold. The final suspenseful shot shows the artist walk across the beach and into the water, eventually being subsumed into its depths.

Unlike the ‘maintenance’ actions for Salt Lines, which are recurring and relational, Brincat’s performance here is conducted in solitude and hauntingly finite. Distilling the notions of departure and disappearance, it is understated but insistently political. Colloquially, to ‘walk the line’ means to abide by a moral code. At a time when the ocean has become a desperate means of passage to asylum and an ideological battleground, the work quietly foregrounds what is at stake in the permeability of abstract borders. — Text by Anneke Jaspers ” [credit]

“Lauren Brincat’s durational performance captured on video demonstrates how walking can be a mapping of space and time. Walk the Line (2016) is a five-minute video that takes place at Cape Leeuwin, Western Australia. In the first few seconds, the artist’s hand is shown up close making sounds by being swiped across the surface of various rocks before revealing the artist at a distance, traipsing across dunes. Then, moving away from the camera, Brincat is seen walking in a straight line towards the ocean, eventually disappearing under its surface. We learn from the wall plaque that the artist traces the topographical demarcation between the Southern Ocean and the Indian Ocean. More interesting is the actual structure of the work, which has an ambient soundtrack throughout yet starts as a type of percussion piece, appearing increasingly melancholic as the artist—wearing what looks to a be a full-body leotard—fades from view.

To “walk the line” usually means to conform to an established moral code, made famous by Johnny Cash. In Brincat’s hands, this clarity around responsibility is shown to be at odds with the relatively arbitrary mapping of two different oceans. Such ambiguity is present in much of Brincat’s work, who applies Paul Klee’s account of drawing as “taking a line for a walk” to the realm of video and sound art. Recalling the vernacular minimalism of British artist Ceal Floyer, in many of Brincat’s short, easy‑to‑watch videos, she plays out an idea within very specific everyday contexts to see what eventuates.” [credit]

Heath Bunting and Kayle Brandon, BorderXing (2002)

“BorderXing, a 2002 commission for the Tate Gallery in London, in which Mr. Bunting, 37, and Ms. Brandon, 28, documented illegal treks they made across European borders.

“I’ve always wanted to be nomadic — to beg, borrow, find things,” Mr. Bunting said. He travels light, often with no change of clothes and only a few basics: a penknife, a diary, a passport.

The BorderXing Web site, available for individual use by request (at offers pictures, suggested routes and tips for evading the authorities. A vacation slide show of the couple’s journey is on view at the New Museum, as well as online, without registration, at–slide–show.

Despite the political provocation involved, the project retains the aura of a pilgrimage — to be close to the land, to throw off the weight of nationality and statehood, simply to put one foot in front of the other and go.

… BorderXing is concerned with the physical, visceral aspects of travel…” [credit] [full article as PDF]

Michèle Magema, Element (2005)

ELEMENT from Michèle Magema on Vimeo.

“The artistic work of Michèle Magema is erected in an intermediate zone, a mental space, a produced border, an interstice located between the double Western and African projections.
The plurality of his affiliations allows him to question his history and that of a nation, a continent and more broadly of the World. The relationship she maintains with stories and History allows her to invent a critical posture.

Michèle stages herself, and reveals both her questioning and her discernment through her photos and video installations imbued with an intimate femininity, while addressing fundamental points in the history of humanity.

In Element, the artist tries to put into images universal exotic projections that are implied. A humming voice, sensual feet, shod in white accompanies a hand that picks cotton on the asphalt. A head, fragment, advances in profile, balancing a basin. The same chained ankle feet move slowly, in high heels. The three images coexist, carried by a long tracking shot that allows us to follow this woman, like the watermark of an evocation of the female condition in general.
Again, Michèle Magema tells and retells History in images. Drawing from the archives, restoring a balance in a rickety reality, she pursues her singular quest linked to her own cultural diversity as well as to her feminine gender.” [credit]