EXHIBITION OFFERS CLOSE-UP OF MIGRANT EXPERIENCE ON
NEW YORK, January 25, 2017 — The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center (SJDC) at Parsons School of Design presents State of Exception/Estado de Excepción, an exhibition featuring traces of the human experience of migration, including objects left behind by unauthorized border crossers on their journey through the desert into the United States. Together with other forms of related material, they were collected as part of the research of University of Michigan anthropologist Jason De León’s Undocumented Migration Project.
Created by artist/photographer Richard Barnes and artist/curator Amanda Krugliak in collaboration with De León, the exhibition includes an installation of hundreds of backpacks left behind by migrants crossing the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona, numerous pieces of clothing and ephemera, and photographs and videos taken by Barnes on location along the U.S.-Mexico border. The installation also features excerpts of original recordings of audio interviews with migrants as part of De León’s work.
“Now, more than ever, in the aftermath of a presidential campaign that fed off anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric, it is absolutely critical to look deeper into the migrant experience and raise questions as to what the future may hold for the thousands of people fleeing dire poverty, drug cartel violence, and political instability to the south,” the curators said in a statement. “State of Exception/Estado de Excepción honors the sheer materiality of the migrant experience. These objects are fragments of a history of both suffering and resiliency, and the images and voices reveal the desolation, hope and trials of their odysseys.”
“With this exhibition, we are pleased to declare the SJDC galleries a state of inclusion in which migrants are welcome,” said Radhika Subramaniam, Director/Chief Curator of the SJDC.
State of Exception/Estado de Excepción was launched at the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan and has travelled to Detroit and Grand Rapids, Mich., and Phoenix, Ariz., prior to its presentation in New York City. At each venue, the exhibition has been updated to include new material, reflecting and responding to the ongoing public debate around immigration, as well as the continuous efforts to reform immigration in the United States and the inevitable backlash. This fifth edition features new objects: tires used by U.S. Border Patrol to clear the ground and make desert footprints more visible, and photographs taken by migrants themselves on their perilous journeys.
|Parsons School of Design is one of the leading institutions for art and design education in the world. Based in New York but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of art and design disciplines, as well as online courses, degree and certificate programs. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education. Parsons graduates are leaders in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century.
Sheila C. Johnson Design Center is an award-winning campus center for Parsons School of Design that combines learning and public spaces with exhibition galleries to provide an important new downtown destination for art and design programming. The mission of the Center is to generate an active dialogue on the role of innovative art and design in responding to the contemporary world. Its programming encourages an interdisciplinary examination of possibility and process, linking the university to local and global debates. The center is named in honor of its primary benefactor, New School Trustee and Parsons Board of Governors Member Sheila C. Johnson. The design by Rice+Lipka Architects is the recipient of numerous awards, including an Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects.
The Institute for the Humanities is a center for innovative, collaborative study in the humanities and arts. Each year the Institute provides fellowships for Michigan faculty, graduate students, and visiting scholars who work on interdisciplinary projects. It also offers a wide array of public and scholarly events, including public lectures, conferences, art exhibitions, and performances. Its mission is to serve as a national and international centerpiece for scholarly research in the humanities and creative work in the arts at the University of Michigan. It exists to deepen synergies between the humanities, the arts and other regions of the university, to carry forward the heritage of the humanities, and to bring the voices of the humanities to public life. Since 1987 the institute has granted fellowships to over 350 Michigan faculty fellows, Michigan graduate student fellows, and visiting fellows.