this land is unstable and so are the maps
this land is unstable and so are the maps looks at the border wound we’ve created as well as the resilient patterns that could be built upon to heal it.
this land combines maps and statistical graphics on issues intersecting the Mexico-U.S. Border, including human asylum-seeking, migration, and death; plant and animal migration patterns; economic, trade, and workforce relationships; cartograms drawn from personal experience of migratory landmarks along the border; and historical maps illustrating the wandering migrations of the border line itself through war, treaty, and purchase.
The piece focuses in particular on the Madrean Sky Islands ecoregion, a singular system of alternating grassland seas and montane islands which happens to lie on both sides of the Mexico-U.S. Border. Within the outlines of the Madrean Archipelago, we can see the many tensions and movements of the border region being played out. The border is an invisible line drawn across this region, now made visible, physical, and violent.
The border crossed these islands, and now the landscape itself is crossed with patterns of halted movement, fear, and confusion. At the same time as these dangerous and desperate dynamics play out, the sky island region is still united. Monarchs, javelina, and a few jaguar migrate across it, the same skies, winds, and rains stretch across the archipelago, and the people that have inhabited these lands for centuries find ways to exist within a divided landscape.
Together, these maps, images, and statistics illustrate the instability of our cultural understandings of the borderlands and the potential for healthier patterns to begin to replace older wounds - given attention, time, resources, hope, and faith.
this land is unstable and so are the maps was developed and presented collaboratively with Jessica Zeglin, nicholas b. jacobsen, Erin Gould, Perin McNelis, and Paco Cantu, with educational and logistical support from the Land Arts of the American West program and the Borderlands Restoration Network. Thank you!