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Border Garden

Border Garden was created to bring recognition for San Diego’s dependence on migrant Mexican workers for the "Satellite Visions" exhibition at the MIT List Art Center (Cambridge, MA) and the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art (San Diego, CA).

San Diego depends on its Mexican workers for its service industry, gardeners, and cleaners. This migrant community lives in stark contrast to their employers. Border Garden pays homage to the vernacular architecture created by illegal immigrants who by necessity live in the canyons surrounding San Diego. At the same time, the installation contrastingly references formal English garden and the many Mexicans gardeners.

The structure is made entirely of recycled materials and plastic containers that once held household cleaning products (all found in La Jolla). The scent of these products filled the space. These materials reference the role of migrant Mexican women as cleaners as well as the means by which migrant workers carry water to their shanty communities. The thirsty sponge garden refers to the critical issues of water conservation and recycling which are particularly acute in San Diego County.

The lights of the installation were set on a timer, so that the overhead lights would periodically switch-off and glaring headlights would switch-on at eye level. The lighting change would give viewers the sensation of being caught in the headlights of San Diego's vigilante border watch.

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