Elena Lopez
US/Mexico Border Fence
October 06, 2011

Day 1: Animas Valley
Border Patrol


TODAY: 2 flat tires, 1 cargo van break-in


Guests for our first location! John and Marzena from Australia and David, David, and Tony from New Mexico State University. All photographers, oddly enough. David Taylor, as guide, led the day’s trips to various border monuments.


Border Patrol: Cory and Thomas… taught us about tracking.


Pushing a sign: Finding further signs/movement from an existing sign.


Sign: Footprints, grass pushed in one direction.


Disturbance: Rocks moved slightly, darker soil where it was impacted by a foot.


Spotters: Mexicans who stand on mountains with radios and alert crossers to Border Patrol’s movements.


Mules: Those who carry the packs across the border.


Sarape: What the packs’ straps are made from.


What C & T said: Packs are usually 40-60lbs of dope. They move at night and sleep during the day, usually. 90% of the crossers in their area (mountainous) are drug mules, 10% immigrants.*


*I found over the course of our time with the Border Patrol that these figures changed depending on who you were talking to.


August 29: San Rafael Swell, UT
August 30 – 31: Spiral Jetty, Great Salt Lake, UT
September 1: Sun Tunnels, Lucin, UT
September 2 – 7: Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), Wendover, UT
September 8 – 12: Tipover Canyon, North Rim, Grand Canyon, AZ
September 13 – 14: Arcosanti, Cordes Junction, AZ
September 15: Biosphere II, Oracle, AZ
September 16 – 20: Armijo Canyon, Malpais, NM
October 5 – 9: US/Mexico Border Fence, NM and AZ
October 10 – 18: Juan Mata Ortiz, Chichuahua, Mexico
October 19 – 22: Turkey Creek, Gila, NM
October 23 – 27: Barrio Buena Vista, Buena VIsta barrio, El Paso, TX

JUDITH PHILLIPS leads a plant identification workshop with the Land Arts students at the Malpais, near Grants, NM. August 23, 2011.

STEVE BADGETT and MATT LYNCH of SIMPARCH work with Land Arts students on multiple collaborative works at their Clean Livin’ project, South Base, Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), Wendover, UT. Projects included a greywater garden fountain and compost shower, solar oven, and a metabolically active shade structure. September 2 – 7, 2011.

ANDREA POLLI takes the Land Arts students on a soundwalk, an exercise focusing awareness on the sonic environments we inhabit. Using various types of microphones and recording devices, students experiment with different ways of interpreting and translating space via sound. Tipover Canyon, North Rim, Grand Canyon, AZ. September 9, 2011.

Arcosanti resident, JEFF BUDERER, engages Land Arts students in a vermiculture infrastructure project at Arcosanti, while guiding them through the history and evolution of this utopian settlement. Arcosanti, Cordes Junction, AZ. September 14, 2011.

Catherine Harris introduces the Land Arts students to experiential ways of apprehending and thinking about the landscape in relation to human habitation. Individual projects propose models for innovative and site-sensitive structures. Armijo Canyon, NM. September 17, 2011.

DAVID TAYLOR guides Land Arts students along the US/Mexico Border Fence, meeting up with US Border Patrol Agents to hike throughout the rugged terrain, scouring the border for “sign,” smugglers, lay-ups, artifacts, and border monuments. Coronado National Forest, NM and AZ. October 5 – 8, 2011.

GRACIELA MARTINEZ and HECTOR GALLEGOS share the fundamentals of their Mata Ortiz master potter practice with the Land Arts students: digging clay in the nearby hillside and processing it, as well as handbuilding, painting and firing ceramic pots. Juan Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua, Mexico. October 10 – 18, 2011.

Buena Vista Neighborhood Association and the Centro Artistico y Cultural work with the Land Arts students on two collabroative community arts projects: a local bus stop shelter and organizing the Dia de los Muertos feast with Maestra Mary Lou Valencia. Barrio Buena Vista, El Paso, TX. October 23 – 27, 2011.

2011 UNM LAND ARTS OF THE AMERICAN WEST EXHIBITION AT SCA CONTEMPORARY ART, Albuquerque, NM. December 9, 2012 – Janurary 13, 2012.