One Way Mirror, 2017

HD video, audio, steel, acrylic, marine painting, tinting, Exhibited as part of Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place, Denver Art Museum, Photography: Wes Magar, Steel Frame fabrication: Demiurge Design 

Project Context

Mi Tierra Catalog, Becky Ruth Hart, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Denver Art Museum

“The passage of the federal Secure Fence Act of 2006 during George W. Bush’s administration gave conditional power to begin construction of the Mexico–U.S. border fence. In July 2007, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that “the idea that fencing alone is a solution . . . is overly simplistic.” However, because a provision in an omnibus spending bill allowed him sole discretion in decisions regarding expeditious construction of highways and barriers, in April 2008 he declared that construction of the fence would continue even though it violated numerous environmental acts and international treaties, including agreements with sovereign indigenous nations, and in some instances overrode the will of U.S. border cities.”

From the Artist

One-Way Mirror focuses on the border fence along the Mexico–U.S. boundary as a physical as well as architectural demarcation of territory, and its symbolic connections to space, place, and identity. The immersive space includes a sculptural wall that references the fence and monumental video projections evocative of the border landscape. The wall or fence, composed of one-way surveillance glass, is transparent on one side while the other side is semi-opaque. Depending on where you stand, maybe you can see what’s on the other side, maybe you can’t.

The Mexico and U.S. landscapes, each represented in a single video channel, have unique fence construction on each side. For the U.S., you see the blue sky with clouds, and then red bars appear as the sun sets in the west.. The bars are based on the proportions of the border fence and as they repeat they become an element within the American flag. The Xs superimpose on the Mexico sunrise footage are taken from the fence’s barricades.

The reality for people who live with the border wall versus the understanding of it for people who engage with it via media outlets is completely different. One-Way Mirror is a way of starting a conversation regardless of political disagreements and an opportunity to plant the seed of understanding, or, compassion. All lives are political lives. All Art is political Art.