A Long List of Atrocities

Breeden, Migrants crossing the Rio Grande.

Vigilante militia and treacherous journeys in excessive temperatures are just the beginning for some migrants. The Rio Grande looks calm, but it is wide and has dangerous undercurrents. Many migrants choose this route, not all make it. They are known disparagingly as ‘wetbacks’. Some migrants choose to make their way to the US through the desert. Good people will leave water in the hope they find it, and are able to keep hydrated.

If they cross the border safely, there could have many more problems ahead. Some of the things that have been documented are forced sterilization and hysterectomies, women are made to sign papers that are written in a language that they do not understand. Children are moved away from their parents into hotels, or transported to isolated asylum camps where they speak of unsanitary conditions, abuse and neglect.

Entering the country as an illegal immigrant puts extra pressure on those individuals. One case where Cristhian Bahena Rivera a Hispanic man who was sentenced for the first degree murder of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts in 2018. New evidence suggests that Rivera was threatened with the murder of his former girlfriend and child if he did not confess to Tibbetts murder. Rivera was targeted because he had entered the US illegally.

8368 and 204. Forced Sterilization Accusations at ICE Facility Fit with Trump’s Poor Treatment of Immigrants | Brennan Center for Justice. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/forced-sterilization-accusations-ice-facility-fit-trumps-poor-treatment. Accessed 7 July 2021.

CNN Witnesses Dozens of Migrants Trying to Cross Rio Grande – CNN Video. http://www.cnn.com, https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/03/13/migrants-cross-rio-grande-lavandera-ebof-dnt-vpx.cnn. Accessed 13 July 2021.

“Children Tell of Neglect, Filth and Fear in US Asylum Camps.” BBC News, 23 May 2021. http://www.bbc.com, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-57149721.

Nathan, Debbie. “A Vigilante Militia Defends an Imaginary Border.” The Intercept, 18 May 2019, https://theintercept.com/2019/05/18/border-militia-texas-mexico-guardian-patriots/.

Reyes, Raul A. Reyes Raul A., et al. “Opinion | Militias Aren’t Patrolling the Border. Domestic Terrorists Are.” NBC News, https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/u-s-mexico-border-isn-t-protected-militias-it-s-ncna997056. Accessed 10 July 2021.

“ACLU News & Commentary.” American Civil Liberties Union, https://www.aclu.org/news/. Accessed 10 July 2021.

Devereaux, Ryan. “The Bloody History of Border Militias Runs Deep — and Law Enforcement Is Part of It.” The Intercept, 23 Apr. 2019, https://theintercept.com/2019/04/23/border-militia-migrants/.

More Migrant Deaths Recorded in Heat along Arizona Border. https://news.yahoo.com/more-migrant-deaths-recorded-heat-190101013.html. Accessed 13 July 2021.

“What Is Happening at the U.S. Southern Border?” International Rescue Committee (IRC), 24 Mar. 2021, https://www.rescue.org/article/what-happening-us-southern-border.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/12/migrant-arrivals-at-us-mexico-border-rises-slightly-in-april

Witnesses Come Forward with New Information in Iowa College Student’s Slaying. https://news.yahoo.com/witnesses-come-forward-information-iowa-135114181.html. Accessed 14 July 2021.

2 HPD Officers Ordered to Pay $1M in Damages to Houston Man. https://news.yahoo.com/ruling-clears-way-civil-trial-020504631.html. Accessed 15 July 2021.

Silo Portraits

This body of work is informed by my own experience of constant migration. My practice is grounded in the photographic images of my current ‘home’ where the iconic silos and rice dryers of Texas dominate the landscape. These silos are metaphors for migrants. The actions of hunting, dissecting, cutting, folding and concealing, these images mimic the migrants vilification, what is hidden between the folds are the unjust truths. Utilizing a hands on meditative approach leads to a transformation of folded and constructed imagery. My interest is in the materiality and physicality of the photograph, which becomes an object in itself.

The aim is to invite the viewer in while gently touching upon very sensitive issues relating to all migrants.

Ferrier, Silo I-VIII. 2021

Beyond The Surface

Font, Red Hair. 2014 Unique

 “My hands intervene with each work manually, and through this intimate, performatic ritual, the embodiment of the photograph becomes the common ground where the familiar and the foreign meet, as an individual attempt to blur the lines between the internal and external spaces of the body. The construction of these mental maps evokes diverse psychological states and emotions with meanings that are in constant flux, never fixed, just like our identities.” Marina Font.

Ferrier, Wrapped Chicago Brick. 2021 Unique State.

This hands on approach is so important in my work. Marina Font shares the importance of it in her work too. I have always thought of what I do as performative and meditative, a ritual of sorts, a way to engage with my surroundings in a new and unknown space. Emotions and meanings are in flux here, but unlike Font my work has little to do with identity. Fonts quote definitely hits many similar notes when I compare how we work. Unique state is important to me as I currently wrestle with object and photograph of object. Is the object more interesting, more important? Do these objects help inform the folds?

“Beyond the Surface: The Photograph as Object.” LENSCRATCH, 6 Jan. 2020, http://lenscratch.com/2020/01/beyond-the-surface/.

“PORTFOLIOS.” Marinafont Studio, http://www.marinafont.com/work. Accessed 24 June 2021.

Svoboda

Jan Svoboda was a Czechoslovakian Post-War artist who became a pioneer in conceptual photography.

Svoboda

I can see a resemblance between Jan Svoboda and Laura Letinsky’s work here.

Svoboda, Table XXX.

London, George Upton, Jan Svoboda/ Photographers’ Gallery. “How Isolation Inspired the Quiet Domestic Photographs of Czechoslovakia’s Enigmatic Post-War Artist.” The Calvert Journal, https://www.calvertjournal.com/features/show/11680/jan-svoboda-photographers-gallery-czechoslovakia-post-war-conceptual-photography. Accessed 21 June 2021.

“12. 6. 2019 / Přednáška Tomáš Winter: Jan Svoboda.” Artalk.Cz, 10 June 2019, https://artalk.cz/2019/06/10/12-6-2019-prednaska-tomas-winter-jan-svoboda/.

https://www.mutualart.com/Artwork/TABLE-XXX/5C7C87FFA8D25B39

Bookmaking

At my last 1-1 meeting with Colin Pantall we discussed making a short run of books. We also talked about making a dummy book of images. These past few weeks have been about collecting images, and writing text for the dummy. The covers were made using paper made for packing belongings. The image is a transfer of a silo photograph on cotton fabric. The fabric is hand torn to the correct size to fit the book. The ‘well handled’ look is exactly what I was aiming for, it adds to the well travelled feeling of the object. The spine is open with a combination of kettle and long stitch.

Ferrier, Silo Light. 2021 Front cover.
Ferrier, Silo Lines. 2021 Back Cover.

Book Dummy

After my 1-1 meeting with Colin where we discussed a potential short run of books. I gathered images and stuck them to the studio wall. They will be rearranged frequently so that I can make the best selections for the book. I aim to make a dummy first, this is the best way for me to imagine a final outcome.

Unique State Mapzine

At my last one to one meeting with Wendy it had been suggested that I make a zine. Making my connections to travel and migration, I thought that a map fold could work well for this project.

I experimented with silo images and different map folds. I felt this one was the most successful. A collection of six connected images which fold flat, each with a different image of the architecture. This mapzine opens into a star shape. Then there is the problem of trying to print them. They will need to be handmade. This makes these objects unique state pieces, each one will be different.

Belonging

Ferrier, Silo I. 2021

“Belonging” explores the loss of social biome brought on by constant migration.

Exploring the iconic silos in a meditative, thoughtful manner brings a hands-on approach to this work. The silos and rice dryers have been beacons for migrant workers for decades. These massive concrete and steel structures emanate the promise of hope and belonging. They held grain and rice, but also provided work, shelter and food.

In the flat lands of Texas they can be seen for miles. Located next to the train tracks, migration to and from other parts of the US became within reach to many, resulting in a diverse population in the region.

Paper retains a memory when it is folded and working with this memory, these folds become a tactile version of my own memory of migration. Memory, hope and belonging. Considering the photograph as an object, these visuals are sought, dissected and reimagined leaving the things that I remember most about each building. This, in turn helps me to feel like I belong and can begin to develop a new social biome.

New Work.

Ferrier, Midway Rice Dryer. 2021

Photograph, print, fold, dissect. The ongoing disruption of the surfaces of these images is bringing about more sculptural objects. There is something so tactile about this series, I am thinking with my hands. This may lead to architectural explorations in the form of a maquette.

These YouTube videos are included here as inspiration. Although neither directly relate to my work, this shows that you can be inspired by many different people, from every type of creative process. This ground breaking design by Neil Dinari was inspired by the adidas product. Dinari even incorporated silos for growing food on the site. Proof that inspiration can come from anywhere.