ERRE and Margarita Garcia Asperas, Re/flecting the Border, 2017

“Last Sunday, just a few meters from Ana Teresa Fernández’s intervention [Erasing the Border (Borrando la Frontera)], Marcos Ramírez, better known as ERRE, staged a performative work titled Re/flecting the Border. A collaboration with fellow artist Margarita Garcia Asperas, the piece involved placing a tall mirror against the border, with a 16-by-4-foot table jutting out from it along the Mexican side. A communal dinner was held there, its reflection in the mirror creating the appearance of a cross-border meal. ‘With the reflection, you have a 32-by-4-foot-long table with people on both sides, but it’s just an illusion,’ ERRE says. ‘It’s like a mirage.'” (“For Artists, the U.S.-Mexico Border is Fertile Territory,” Matt Stromberg)

The #100hartruths about fake news aren’t easy. They are complex, complicated, contradictory. Like this one. For many of the past 34 posts, I’ve been celebrating the material as a check to #fakenews. I make strong claims like “Place Matters.” Yet in this post, in the same breath, I honor artistic illusions, photo-mirages. Today, it is the press of the imagination alongside the image, the aesthetic amidst the indexical, the affective within the factual that render the even harder truths that are allowing me to see.

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This was one of the best conferences I ever attended. The take home message for future conference organizers is hard to replicate: 1) carefully chosen speakers 2)  given ample time (2 speakers in 1 and 1/2 hour sessions) and 3) beautifully choreographed two-day flow, where distinct areas of approach, method, discipline and theory, hit against each other to build to a crescendo. Not one dud. Here’s the rap sheet of one-liners:

Diana Taylor: Archives, repertoires, and the digital are each made from practices, things, and places (riven with power) in distinct configurations.

James Chandler: Animating archives through re-presenting holdings in translated forms itself has a history as long as modernism’s.

Sharon Daniel: Poetics and aesthetics can be written into the ethics of the archive.

Matthew Fuller: The relational archive links through a messy rhetoric of power that includes findable “flubs” like deletions and leaks.

Kelly Gates: Corporations hope to catch the face, an unmappable archive of feeling, to better find us out.

Amelie Hastie: The body’s archive of memory, desire, longing and loss fuels a search for objects that might objectify their trace.

Josh Kun: Digital music generates mobile archives of local/transnational style and taste.

Lawrence Liang: Ownership is not only a matter of capital but also of proximity and love. To own can be to owe, a matter of ethics.

Janine Marchessault: A life on-line might map the lost as it pools into a shared computer dream of all seeing.

Trevor Paglen: The military-industrial complex litters our skies with evil digital eyes, the better to see you with. So,

Lisa Parks: we must look up, not across, in a shot-reverse of accountability.

Abby Smith Rumsey: The evidence of things remains for our loving re-use. Digital things will be lost without stewardship.

Ramesh Srinivasan: Embrace the incommensurability when the local(e) gets to gather, save and organize the complex, adaptive, fluid stuff they love.

James Tobias: We engage in a history-free media-logic to the peril of the complex lineages of local practices.