Last Frontier: The Subjectivity of [the] Territory / Última Frontera: La Subjetividad del Territorio

Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery, College of the Holy Cross • Worcester, MA • • Through April 14, 2017

By: Emily Avery-Miller

CantorGallery Hidropoetica ColectivoUltimaEsperanza
Sandra Ulloa and Nataniel Álvarez (Chile), Hidropoética, video installation, dimensions variable.

Where is the border between virtual and real? Between outsider and insider? Last Frontier: The Subjectivity of Territory / Última Frontera: La Subjetividad del Territorio is a contact zone where there are no simple answers to those questions. This multi media exhibit of work by 10 Latin American artists explores open-ended migrations, fickle boundary lines and disappearing continental edges.

Many of the sculptures, photos and installations feature bodies in motion or in transformation. Their shifting natures challenge who or what belongs where, and when. The Última Esperanza collective’s video, Hidropoética, projects interviews with locals and experts discussing Antarctica onto images of glaciers. The effect is a flickering fragility in the hulks of ice and snow. En Tránsito is a short video “in which we can reflect on the figure of the migrant as an eternal walker,” says artist Paola Michaels. A person steps down an escalator that is going up, gradually shedding personal possessions, becoming freer yet more trapped with each step.

Visitors can also follow in the footsteps of ENT-e, a shrubby-looking, quadruped robot. “The robot moves as I imagine a walking plant would,” says artist Gabriela Munguía. “[It] does not interact with the visitors, but it can interact with the environment.” By creating an imaginary being and habitat, Munguía’s work explores the “…connections and communication between life and the territory that contains it.”

The exhibit also blurs borders between the creators and viewers. Curator V. Nicolás Koralsky’s vision for the show—a collaboration with the collective Arte Bajo Cero that first exhibited in Uruguay in 2015—was to bring together a diverse group of artists, “…establishing an exchange that goes beyond the borders among the different countries of Latin America.” Holy Cross students, staff and faculty translated and assembled the material on-site in Worcester.

Although the work began almost two years ago, the opening is timely. “We would’ve done this show regardless of the political climate in the United States, but it has even more reverberations [now],” says Roger Hankins, director of the Cantor Art Gallery. Questions of belonging, possession and classification are a troublesome and inspiring territory of shared human experience, and one worth exploring.

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