26.08.2005 — 13.11.2005
For more than ten years, INSITE has focused its energies on the realization of artistic projects in the San Diego/Tijuana region. Twenty-two works by artists from the region and around the world have been commissioned to intervene at distinct levels of visibility and invisibility in the social fabric of the San Diego/Tijuana corridor.
Over the course of a two-year process of periodic residencies and intricate networkings, the participating artists have proposed distinct time-based models of collaboration. The projects attempted to revitalize the “urban” through minimalist intrusions into the “social,” inserting themselves into the weakest of flows and the most obvious of obstructions. To intervene here meant to challenge determined models of cultural production and consumption, and push them to limits that affect and constitute INSITE’s distinctiveness as a unique contemporary art event-process.
Formal discussions have also taken place involving the curatorial team and a group of interlocutors—practitioners from diverse backgrounds who have been invited to participate at a conceptual level in the artists’ project development. A point of departure for these processes has been INSITE’s artists residencies. For invited artists, the residencies provided an epistemological and experiential understanding of sites and social actors specific to the border region, facilitating strategies that permitted them to activate local experiences in the public domain.
But what is public domain? Public domain is the situational equivalent of a collision zone. Public domain is the experience of ill-timed, fleeting, and uncontrolled interaction between the impulses of friction and of freedom. It is a means for making the foundations of the social contract politically sustainable. Public domain is the process of catalyzing and operationalizing the negotiation of being named, seen, and approached by the Other. It is the certainty of social mobility exercised in the ethical space of difference. To create public domain is to induce an experience of “public,” which is in itself the production of new subjects who are made aware their own interaction. It implies the production of circumstantial identities, movable contexts, and continuously negotiated space. Its liberating capacity lies in the potential to auto-engender the collective subject through an experience/process that reveals the vision of social structure in its totality, as a political network. (Excerpts from Curatorial Statement)
Interventions was developed through an intense, unusual, and very demanding process—as much for the artists as for the curators and organizers. In this version of INSITE the invited artists not only faced the weighty challenge of engaging with the specific dynamics of the border area, but were also asked to respond to two key curatorial imperatives: that the work should involve active co-participation and that it should be of a processual nature. In an effort to implement artistic strategies that would be able to generate public domain, Interventions unleashed a process of uncontrollable experiences and continuous challenges.
Artists’ residencies were an opportunity for numerous discussions among the artists, the curatorial team, and invited interlocutors. However, it was the informal exchanges between artists and the innumerable cultural agents of the region that enabled the artists to perfect their strategies of intervention. This entire process, which lasted almost two years, demanded enormous intellectual dedication and commitment. Through this process we encouraged the projects to generate creative and political group experiences.
inSite_05 seeks to question our familiar understanding of the term “public” as a passive audience engaged in the mass consumption of culture, by instead exploring the way in which artistic strategies can re-define and re-create “public” through an experience of group belonging—that is circumstantial, creative, and unalienating.
Given the nature of the project it was impossible to predict the outcome of many of the processes of interaction. For many artists, engaging in strategies of co-participation challenged their capacity for dialogue and their ability to forge alliances. On more than one occasion, the ethical vulnerability of an instrumental immersion in the border context led to artists re-defining and re-working original ideas. The complexity of many of the proposals and their complex dynamics devoured preproduction stages, demanding unplanned and risky solutions. In order to be consistent with the unfolding process, it was sometimes necessary to make last-minute adjustments. This constituted an unforgettable challenge for the entire production team at INSITE.
Due to the fact that many of the projects were inserted into preexisting urban flows and involved subtle strategies of dispersion, many were activated at almost invisible levels of public exposure—far removed from the art world’s more common experiences of spectacle. This degree of insertion within the fabric of urban life made it difficult to perceive even the brief moment of co-participation, where co-actors inscribed new models of association and belonging, redefining our understand of what constitutes “public.”
In the case of many projects, the absence of preconceived esthetic results and/or art objects made it extremely difficult to formulate a way of positioning the experience of inSite_05. How could an audience with an insatiable appetite for visual spectacle or aesthetic representations approach or engage with inSite_05? How could we position Interventions as an event, when the majority of the projects were sited in indices of instantaneous or expanded temporalities or on mobile or delocalized platforms? With few exceptions, the projects commissioned for Interventions faced up to these challenges and were unusually faithful to the utopian networks the experience itself sought to create.
Interventions: Collaborative Organizations and Involved Communities
Casa de la Madre Asunta A.C.
Escuela de Arte de la Universidad Autónoma de Baja California
Casa del Migrante
Swap Meet Fundadores
Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve
Comisión Internacional de Límites y Aguas
Grupo Ecologista Gaviotas, A.C.
Silent Electric Flyers of San Diego
Chula Vista Model and Radio Control Club
Club de Aeromodelismo Real del Mar
Veterans Museum and Memorial Center
Veterans Home of California-Chula Vista
Ferrari and Maserati of Southern California
Universidad Autónoma de Baja California
El Colegio de la Frontera Norte
Centro de Rehabilitación ARAC-MERAC Tijuana y Tecate
U.S. Department of Homeland Security / Customs and Border Protection / U.S. Border Patrol Public Information Office
The Art Center
The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library
Centro Cultural de la Raza
Instituto de Cultura de Baja California
Woodbury School of Architecture
El Lugar del Nopal
Fundación Esperanza de México, A.C.
San Diego State University
Centro de Protección a la Niñez
Penitenciaría de la Mesa (Tj)
Centro de Salud Mental del Estado de Baja California
Banda del Estado de Baja California
Centro Estatal de las Artes
La Tierra de la Iguana
Lincoln BP Management ASYMCA
Fleet and Family Support Center
Military Outreach Ministries
San Diego USO
Marine and Family Services
New Parent Support Program
Navy Region Southwest (Public Affairs Office)
MWR (Moral Welfare and Recreational Services)
CNRSW Public Affairs
Murphy Canyon Chapel
Tijuana Duty Free
The Airport Bar
San Diego Museum of Art
Balboa Park Visitors Center
Centro Cultural Tijuana
The Medicine Company
XVIII Ayuntamiento de Tijuana
Casa YMCA de Menores Migrantes-Tijuana
Centro de Investigaciones Regionales de Mesoamérica
Instituto Guatemalteco de Cultura
Consulado de Guatemala en México
Fronteras Unidas Pro Salud
Centros de Integración Juvenil
Procuraduría de Derechos Humanos
Dream Addictive Laboratory
L Street Gallery
HengJiaLi Shoes Inc
Center for Research in Computing and the Arts
University of California San Diego
Hipódromo de Agua Caliente
Enviromental Studies, Bridgewater State College
Geo Graphics Lab, School of Mathematics and Computer Science
Centro Antirrábico de Tijuana
California Colleger for the Arts, S.Fco.
Interstate Brand Corporation
La Curva Studios
Voz Alta Projects
Balboa Park Committee
Balboa Park Cultural Partnership
Balboa Park Special Events
Instituto Nacional de Migración
Carrocería y Pintura Sandoval
Patronato de Recuperación de Áreas Verdes, A.C
Vecinos de Playas
Vivero Fraccionamiento Real del Mar