Erase the Border
The Institute for Infinitely Small Things has been working for two years on various aspects of the Erase the Border project with members of the Tohono O’odham tribe, especially Ofelia Rivas, a prominent tribal activist and artist.
After several iterations, their Prospectus contribution consists of a website centered on an aural, participatory “petition” to erase the border fence that currently divides members of the tribe living in Arizona and Mexico. This fence, erected in 2008 by the Department of Homeland Security, divides the O’odham community along 75 miles of land. Aural strands of the voice petition to erase the fence will be shaped into a composition that will be used online and in a number of public actions – e.g., they will be taken to Congress and played to individual members; phone calls playing the composition will be made to Congressional offices, especially ones for states that have or perceive “border problems”; listening parties will be staged with Rivas and other members of the tribe present, etc. The Institute’s Prospectus project in its active web and public action phases will stretch at least until the end of 2013.
The Institute for Infinitely Small Things conducts creative, participatory research that aims to temporarily transform public spaces and instigate dialogue about democracy, spatial justice and everyday life. The Institute’s projects use performance, conversation and unexpected interventions to investigate social and political “tiny things.” Based mostly in Boston, MA, and occasionally under the leadership of Catherine D’Ignazio, James Manning, Jaimes Mayhew, Forest Purnell, or Nicole Siggins, the group’s membership is varied and interdisciplinary. For the Erase the Border project, the Institute is under the leadership of Catherine D’Ignazio and has involved contributions from Forest Purnell, Ofelia Rivas, Abigail Neale, Theo Gibbs and Gretchen Gibbs.
Catherine D’Ignazio (aka kanarinka) is an artist, software developer and educator. She is the occasional Director of the Institute for Infinitely Small Things, an interventionist performance troupe, and former Director of the Experimental Geography Research Cluster at RISD’s Digital+Media MFA program. Her artwork has been exhibited at the ICA Boston, Eyebeam and MASSMoCA and has won awards from the Tanne Foundation and Turbulence.org. She has lived and worked in Paris, Buenos Aires and Michigan and currently resides in Waltham, MA. She is a research assistant and graduate student at the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab.