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Title: Geographies of violence : site-oriented art and politics at the Mexico-U.S. border from the 1980s to the present
Author: Brailovsky Ruiz, P.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 5338
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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Through a series of case studies, analysed via the theoretical framework of site-specificity, this thesis explores the ways in which artists, from the 1980s to the present, have attempted to critically represent and understand more fully the socio-political fabric of the Mexico-U.S. border and the systemic violence that undergirds it. The introduction discusses the historical and political context of the thesis, establishes its methodological territory and outlines the current research of this field. Chapter One focuses on the collective Border Art Workshop/Taller the Arte Fronterizo (BAW/TAF) arguing, with reference to Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of the carnival, that these artists tried to propose an new narrative of the Mexican and U.S. history. Chapter Two focuses on performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña whose work, created at the height of the institutionalisation of multiculturalism, analysed the role of capitalism in creating attitudes that operated along the pernicious lines of race and nationality. Chapter Three examines Ursula Biemann’s video-essay Performing the Border, where the artist analyses female deskilled labour carried out in sweatshops in northern Mexico. I examine how she attempts to represent the hypermobility of capital vis-à-vis the physical immobility of the assembly plant worker. Chapter Four deals with Chantal Akerman’s film From the Other Side, arguing that her focus on landscape not only reveals how national narratives are often tied to representations of landscape, but also offers valuable insights into the journeys that migrants have to endure in order to cross the border. Chapter Five reviews the work of Teresa Margolles and her engagement with the so-called ‘drug war’ that has witnessed deaths in the tens of thousands. She uses bodily fluids obtained from victim’s corpses and in doing so she forces an unprecedented encounter with a section of the population unmatched by visual systems of representation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available