An aesthetic regime of hope: reading Richard Misrach’s and Guillermo Galindo’s "Border Cantos"

Peck, Julia (2017) An aesthetic regime of hope: reading Richard Misrach’s and Guillermo Galindo’s "Border Cantos". In: Democracy, Borders and Public/Political Engagement: Challenges for Environmental Communication, June 29th to July 2nd, University of Leicester. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

In 2016 Richard Misrach and Guillermo Galindo published their magisterial book “Border Cantos.” Misrach, landscape photographer and activist, presents his photographs of the wall along the American/Mexican border with images of Galindo’s musical instruments made from personal objects left in the vicinity of the wall. Galindo’s instruments make the abandoned belongings of migrants perform the sounds associated with hopeful, traumatic and challenging journeys. Misrach’s photographs, which depict wide sweeping vistas and communities affected by the wall, captures both the dispiriting aspects of the wall and its folly. The wall, it seems, is both highly permeable and significantly disruptive to human and non-human ecologies. Both Galindo’s musical sounds, and Misrach’s photographs, foreground the aesthetic experience of the border. How are we to understand images of a wall when they are so beautiful? Is this type of communication effective, especially in the light of the President-elect’s declaration in June 2016 to extend the wall? Despite Trump’s lack of awareness of the systematic failure of the wall, and of the effective types of resistance and socio-economic practices that ensure that the border is traversed, the wall is set to be a feature of the political landscape of American politics for some time to come. In this presentation I will argue, using Jacques Ranciere’s theory of politics and aesthetics, that Misrach’s and Galindo’s book enables the performance of ambiguity as a form of rupture: the wall is permeated by practicalities and everyday activities of those crossing and living the border and that such a work reinforces the folly of Trump’s desire to create a non-permeable border in a highly mobile and global world.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Richard Misrach, Guillermo Galindo, US-American Border, Trump's Wall, Photography, Landscape, Collaboration
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human geography. Human ecology. Anthropogeography
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
T Technology > TR Photography
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Art and Design > Photography
Research Priority Areas: Being Human - Past, Present & Future
Depositing User: Julia Peck
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2018 14:25
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2018 03:56
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/5508

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