Fencing, marking tape, gaff tape
60” x 288” x 480” overall
Installation can vary in size and shape, depending on site.
Referencing flood levels, topographical maps, and water flow patterns, visitors navigated their way through the eye-level cage structures. As I planned the installation, a second theme emerged. Refugee children were (and are) currently being held in similar cages, without families, and in austere, brutal conditions. In my installation, three taped elliptical outlines, made from my body’s circumference, represented the presence and absence of these children and us. Walking through these forms, which side of the flood, and the cages, are we on?
The Work of Naomi J. Falk, Amy Sacksteder and Brooks Harris Stevens in Conversation
Detroit Center for Design Technology
Our collaborative exhibition, in various ways, depicts, re-presents, and reimagines fences and barricades and other symbols of division. Our collective work is inspired by recent and current political events, factions in our country and in the world, and land use and access.
Our current work interrogates the uses, maintenance, and funding of public spaces, as well as the increased volatility and polemics in American politics, journalism, and among families and communities. It is about borders, both figurative and literal and is inspired by events leading up to and in the wake of the 2016 election: the use of easements to access land such as in the case of the Dakota Access Pipeline; the promise to build a wall between the US / Mexico border; the plan boost the economy via infrastructure improvements; gun violence and controversies over gun control; and the history of mistreatment (physically and verbally) of private citizens, refugees, asylum seekers, and peaceful protestors on public land (police brutality, the killing of black unarmed citizens, separations of families at the southern border). Barricades are frequently erected by people in power to provide a sense of security, often by keeping people (sometimes specific populations) in or out. They are interruptions in the landscape, causing a new flow of traffic, or blocking an otherwise unobstructed view. We are using imagery of fences and barricades, as well as other symbols that divide the country--such as firearms--as the visual language to begin investigating these immensely complex issues. We are interested in these symbols’ (fences, barriers, guns) ability to openly act as metaphor. They can be helpful and benign, even provide safety; however, they are so often used as objects of general and targeted oppression.