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Tanya Aguiñiga in "Borderlands"Extended Segment

Art21 proudly presents this special extended segment as a complement to the “Borderlands” episode from the tenth season of the Art in the Twenty-First Century series. Edited to focus on a singular artist narrative, this film contains original material not included in the television broadcast.

“Borderlands” premiered in October 2020 on PBS. Watch now on PBS and the PBS Video app.

The binational artist Tanya Aguiñiga pushes the power of art to transform the United States-Mexico border from a site of trauma to a creative space for personal healing and collective expression. Reflecting the cultural hybridity and community of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, the artist discusses her upbringing in Tijuana, her training as a furniture and craft designer, and her artistic beginnings with the Border Art Workshop/Taller de Arte Fronterizo collective. From her studio, the artist and her team produce objects like jewelry and housewares to fund their social-justice-based projects, workshops, and performances. Aguiñiga returns to the site of one of these projects, titled Border Quipu, where she and her team recorded the stories of daily commuters from Tijuana to San Diego. This segment also follows Aguiñiga as she prepares for Metabolizing the Border, a performance and personal reckoning with the pain caused by the border wall. The work is a demanding physical feat: the artist walks along the border wall in a glass suit that is designed to break, in order to express the effects of the wall as wounds on her body and to symbolize the struggle of the migrant experience. Aguiñiga demonstrates how art can be both a personal “physical and emotional outlet” and a vehicle to help others “empathize and think about how we’re all connected to each other.”

More information and credits

Credits

Executive Producer: Tina Kukielski. Series Producer: Nick Ravich. Directors: Rafael Salazar Moreno and Ava Wiland. Producer: Ava Wiland. Editors: Rafael Salazar Moreno and Russell Yaffe. Director of Photography: Rafael Salazar Moreno.

Production Services: RAVA Films. Assistant Curator: Danielle Brock. Production Coordinator: Julia Main. Post-Production Coordinator: Alexandra Lenore Ashworth. Design & Animation: Momentist, Inc. Composer: Joel Pickard. Additional Music: Amalia Mondragón. Advising Producer: Ian Forster. Additional Art21 Staff: Lauren Barnett, Lolita Fierro, Joe Fusaro, Meghan Garven, Jonathan Munar, and Emma Nordin.

Additional Photography: Elan Alexenberg, Robert Biggs / Phoenix Drone Pros, Gina Clyne, Adrian Gutierrez, Nick Kraus, Christoph Lerch, and Alejandro Almanza Pereda. Tijuana Field Producer: Yadira Avila. Location Sound: Ariel Baca, Jacob Bloomfield-Misrach, Nikola Chapelle, Michael Cottrell, Rayell Abad Guangorena, Veronica Lopez, Baili Martin, Nathalie Piché, Chris Tolan, and Ava Wiland. Production Assistants: Ben Derico, Jake Grossman, Jacquelin de Hoyos, Keira Kennedy, Zac Settles, and Jorge Villarreal.

Digital Intermediate: Cut + Measure. Post-Production Producer: Alex Laviola. Colorist: David Gauff and Jerome Thélia. Post-Production Sound Services: Konsonant Post. Re-Recording Mixer & Sound Editor: Gisela Fullà-Silvestre. Online & Conform: David Gauff. Additional Animation: Andy Cahill. Assistant Editor: Jasmine Cannon, Jonah Greenstein, and Mengchen Zhang. Translation: Ava Wiland and Russell Yaffe. Video Quality Control: Jonathan Hansen.

Artwork Courtesy: Tanya Aguiñiga, Guillermo Galindo, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Richard Misrach, Postcommodity / Cristóbal Martínez & Kade L. Twist, Bockley Gallery, Fraenkel Gallery, Pace Gallery, and Volume Gallery. Past Postcommodity Collaborators: Raven Chacon (2009–2018), Steven Yazzie (2007–2010), and Nathan Young (2007–2015).

Archival Materials: AMBOS Project; Antimodular Research; AP Archive; Aperture
Artbound / KCET; Isaac Arnstein / Cinewest Archives; Jenna Bascom, Courtesy of Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Border Art Workshop / Taller de Arte Fronterizo; Cecilia Brawley; Critical Past; Cory Doctorow; Sam Wainwright Douglas / Big Beard Films; Benjamin Duffield / Fierce Bad Rabbit Pictures; Filmoteca UNAM; Jason Grubb; John McNeil studios; NASA; Pond5; and Jack Snell.

Public Relations: Cultural Counsel. Station Relations: De Shields Associates, Inc. Legal Counsel: Barbara T. Hoffman, Esq. Interns: Shane Daly, Grace Doyle, Eda Li, Daniela Mayer, Jason Mendoza, Nikhil Oza, Anika Rahman, Ana Sanz, Sara Schwartz, Victoria Xu, and Sadie Yanckello.

Postcommodity Artwork: “A Very Long Line,” 2016. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Director’s Discretionary Fund, Russell Cowles and Stuart & Kate Nielsen.

Special Thanks: The Art21 Board of Trustees; The Aguiñiga Family; Lorena Alvarado; Saúl (Cassandro) Armendáriz; Armory Center For the Arts; Art Institute of Chicago; Andrew James Benson; Merche Blasco; Todd Bockley; Charlie Byrne; Leslie Moody Castro; Peter Catalanotte / Film Tucson Office; Karine Charbonneau; Matthew Coolidge; Ian Daniel; Kerry Doyle; Pamela Echeverría; Lauren Dapena Fraiz; Guillermo Galindo; Melissa Saenz Gordon; Dana Funaro Hallonquist; Hammer Museum; Edgar Hernandez; ICA Boston; Laura Kiernan; Esther Knuth; LAXART; Joanne Lefrak; Miguel Legault; Long Beach Museum of Art; MediaU; Julio César Morales; Nadine Mundo; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey; Micah Musheno; Office of Public Affairs, U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Edgar Picazo; Eva Respini; Rubin Center for the Visual Arts / The University of Texas at El Paso; San Francisco Art Institute; Chris Scorza; Sovanchan Sorn; Starlite & Rod Kustom Garage; Michael Sugarman; The Annenberg Space for Photography; Christine Turner; Lekha Hileman Waitoller; Hamza Walker; Claire Warner; and Jay Wehnert.

Major underwriting for Season 10 of Art in the Twenty-First Century is provided by PBS, National Endowment for the Arts, Lambent Foundation, The Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Toby Devan Lewis, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Henri Lambert, Nion McEvoy & Leslie Berriman, and Sakana Foundation.

Series Creators: Susan Dowling and Susan Sollins.

©2020 Art21, Inc.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Now streaming, full segments from the new season of Art in the Twenty-First Century, dubbed “the uniformly excellent television series on contemporary art” by the Los Angeles Times. Watch now.

Tanya Aguiñiga

Tanya Aguiñiga was born in 1978 in San Diego, California, and raised in Tijuana, Mexico. An artist, designer, and craftsperson, Aguiñiga works with traditional craft materials like natural fibers and collaborates with other artists and activists to create sculptures, installations, performances, and community-based art projects. Drawing on her upbringing as a binational citizen, who daily crossed the border from Tijuana to San Diego for school, Aguiñiga’s work speaks of the artist’s experience of her divided identity and aspires to tell the larger and often invisible stories of the transnational community.