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2024 Annual Conference

St. Louis

March 21-23, 2024

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Past SPE Annual Conferences

Hannah Smith Allen

SPE Member since 2015
Member Chapter: Northeast


Borderlands documents both the virtual and physical US/Mexican Border.

After the 2016 US presidential election, I began visiting Google Earth to study the wall that separates California from Mexico. I noticed that glitches in the mapping software allow users to slip through the wall into another nation's territory. Immediately, I began to video record my Google Earth travels. The digital aberrations of the collapsing wall seemed to me a perfect symbol of our fragile border and the myths and narratives that we use to construct our nation's histories. These glitches inspired me to make three physical trips to the US southern border to photograph the landscape.

Borderlands consists of inkjet prints, video captures, screen prints and an accordion fold book/sculptural form (VSW Press, 2021). A text weaves through the nearly 200-inch-wide accordion, making for "A Physical and Virtual Index of Numbers, Codes, and Crossings (in no particular order)."

Borderlands offers a new vision of the U.S. Mexico border that challenges the traditional notion of here and there. Instead, the project reimagines the border as a continuous composite landscape, one that is typically only experienced on virtual platforms.

Two Views of the Border Wall

Virtual Crossing #1

Wing Mirror

Rear Windshield

Virtual Crossing #2

Desert (California)

Wire Fence

Borderlands Book (Book Detail #1)

Borderlands Book (Book Detail #2)

Borderlands Book (Exhibit Installation Detail #1)

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