Last week I posted some thoughts titled: Has American Borderland Art Jumped The Wall?
In it I detailed a list of grievances with the current state of borderland activist art commodification and sterilization.
Some of you were offended.
Some of you were supportive.
Everyone I heard from seemed to struggle with similar questions.
First came border militarization.
Then came border art activism.
Now a commodification and industrial sterilization of activist borderland art via a grant and gallery academic gold rush is underway.
Is unfunded, grassroots guerilla activist art in the borderlands dead?
Approximately six months since the first staging of Performance for Surveillance, the second installation in the series --- Escape Goat/Ghost --- was performed on May 26, 2014.
As with the previous performance Escape Goat/Ghost was well documented and an electronic Freedom of Information Act request was filed with the Department of Homeland Security for documentation of the event.
Well, sort of....
In recent years I've become interested in the observer effect where the act of observation changes the phenomenon being observed.
In some cases I was the phenomenon.
In other cases the phenomenon was Homeland Security / Border Patrol.
And this got me to thinking....
Back in the technologic dark ages of In 2006, when The Anta Project first went on-line as a no charge downloadable MP3, the SoniCanta web diagnostic software that tracked such things showed upwards of 2-3,000 downloads and streams every day....
And each was emotionally impacted enough by this structure and all of the baggage and metaphor and pathos it projects, to create works that transform and challenge it’s very existence through words, music and positive action...
In the early part of 2012, photographer Patricia Katchur approached me about creating an original sound work which would complement the opening of her Tucson photography exhibit titled: Desierto.
Over the coming months Patty sent images she'd captured in Southern Arizona and four of them eventually served as the inspiration for the composition - Phantasmagorical Sonoran : Suite I-IV...
With temps topping the 110 mark in some places, all along the US/Mexico border, migrants walk around walls and check points to die by the hundreds as they make their way in search of work or to be with family.
Since October 2011, the "known" number of migrant deaths in Southern Arizona alone is already nearing 100.
And the summer is still young...
Back in September 2011 I received an email from a curator of JOHN CAGE unbound A LIVING ARCHIVE "on behalf of The New York Public Library" asking permission to include a performance of John Cage's 4'33" I released on video featuring The Nogales Wall...
Narrative, the stories we use to make sense of our world, is reality.
Over the past decade, the most prevalent narrative about the borderlands, and one that has been adopted by politicians and media alike, is a narrative of fear.
This narrative of fear has resulted in billions of taxpayer dollars being spent to build walls, and turn our borderlands into de facto militarized zones patrolled by armed guards and buzzing drones.
But how does this secondhand narrative of fear square with the narrative one actually experiences when traveling in the borderlands?
What if all we have to fear is fear itself?
For nearly four decades local historians and music scholars have wrestled with the facts surrounding the founding of this enigmatic group that is now legendary among those who lust for bike-born sound.
Along the way there were many whispers and rumors among collectors of a Bikeastra Holy Grail --- a storage locker full of material from the band's earliest days.
Now, after years of speculation the Holy Grail has been found....
As a condition of employment I recently signed the State of Arizona Loyalty Oath.
The very notion of a loyalty oath for educators has at best a chilling effect upon free thinking and expression.
Can we really trust a journalist to be fair and accurate when he/she is taking a loyalty oath to the state?
Faced with an abundance of unexpected free time, I decided to take a trip to the border for one last sounding of the Nogales Wall (W6 Section) before they began tearing it down.
Instead of playing the wall as I’d often done in the past, this final time I decided to make two simple recordings...
Steev turned left, heading north towards the main visitor center, past an ominous white t-shirt tied to a tree, and smack into the camp of three Guardsmen, dressed in uniform who were busy grabbing their M-16's and charging towards us, ordering us to halt.
Which, it goes without saying, Steev did...
Tired of those same old vibrations?
Looking to spice-up your listening pleasure a bit?
Then try: Tucson Orchestrated.
It's in your grocer's freezer.
At that hour of the morning when Nogales is just waking up, the sound environment is rich with barking dogs, human voices, rooster crows, peacock screeches, puffs of wind, raucous birds, rumbling vehicles and droning construction...
Nice acoustics and plenty of irony considering that today the Soviet Union is a ghost, many of the countries listed on the memorial are democratic or headed that way, the Berlin Wall has become a souvenir item for tourists and America is building a literal iron curtain of her own along the southern border...