BACKGROUND

#ideasforawall: the exhibition

The Illingworth Kerr Gallery at the Alberta College of Art + Design (ACAD) in response to the recent solicitation issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office Customs and Border Protection in the Federal Business Opportunities website invited over 20 international artists to imagine a prototype wall structure to be placed “in the vicinity of the United States border with Mexico” as advertised in the relevant call to vendors available under the category Design-Build Structure (Solicitation Number: 2017-JC-RT-0001). The proposal thus collected were included in the exhibition #ideasforawall on view at our galleries. This was an invitation to reflect on the meaning and implications of the above solicitation, and imagine possible alternative scenarios for the future of this wall specifically and, generally, to reflect on border control walls (their functionality or use, as well as their symbolic meaning) at this historical juncture. The intention of the project is to infiltrate the thinking and interrogate the logic and political intentions underpinning this call to vendors, starting from the actual design of the structure, that is to say by challenging the meaning of border control walls from their inception and conception to execution.

The Call

#undoingwalls: website and open call

We would now like to extend our invitation to any artist who is interested in submitting their idea for undoing the US-Mexican wall (or any other border wall in existence or to come) and thus contributing to our open archive and dedicated resource platform undoingwalls.net. The collection of new proposals is ongoing and there is no deadline for submitting your contribution. This website is to be considered a “continuous work in progress.” Please take in consideration the following set of questions when submitting your proposal.

Can a “dysfunctional” wall structure be imagined so as to question the original intentions of the Federal Government? Can a “welcoming” and useful wall be created, one that serves the communities that it is meant to separate and proposes an alternative solution to human segregation, when it comes to issues such as immigration and asylum? Can this prototype wall structure become the site where counter-narratives are inscribed and resistance takes place? Can we play the system from within the system but according to its own rules? Can a wall become a conduit as opposed to a divide by rethinking its structure? Can we imagine a wall that is intentionally permeable? Or even a self-destructive wall that conjures against its own intentions?

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