The Tijuana Projection, Tijuana, Mexico, 2001 (2 images)
Originally designed for an IMAX theatre, El Centro Cultural’s huge globe-like form was the location for this public projection. Tijuana is the center of a belt of maquiladoras, border factories, where 90% of the labor comes from women from all over the country. The women who participated in this live projection were able to animate the external body of the monument, transforming its lifeless, silent mass into a manifestation of their presence. This presence, whose force is so essential to the economy, often remains hidden from view.
The Homeless Vehicle, New York City, 1988-1989 (2 images)
During the winter of 1987-88, an estimated 70,000 people were homeless in New York City, most of them individuals. Unlike families with children, they were not given priority for placement in the city’s homeless shelters. With no permanent shelter or safe place to go, the homeless were and are forced to develop self-sufficient means for survival on the streets. The Homeless Vehicle was not designed as a solution to the housing crisis but with attention to the specific limitations and compromises imposed by urban nomadic existence. Its conception was developed over a two year period in consultation with many homeless men and women, some of whom became their operators. Articulating the complex condition of homeless work and life, the vehicle helps them to be perceived, recognized and respected as legitimate members of the urban community.
Alien Staff, 1992-1996 (2 images)
The Alien Staff is a piece of storytelling equipment and a legal and ethical communications instrument and network for immigrants. The object functions as a third party between immigrants and non-immigrants themselves; it functions as the immigrant’s double, and as an inspiration for dialogue between the segregated worlds of the people who enter into conversation around it. Between 1993 and 1997, more than twenty persons used various variants of the Alien Staff in Barcelona, Paris, Marseilles, New York, Houston, Helsinki, Warsaw, Rotterdam and Boston.
The Porte-Parole (mouthpiece) is a further evolution of the Alien Staff as the next generation of speech equipment designed for immigrants. It is directly attached to the body (the face) of the immigrant, becoming an extension of the body, transforming him or her into a kind of cyborg, a virtual subject. The Porte-Parole is an instrument whose function is to empower those who are deprived of power. Its basic purpose is to provide a means of saying all the things that must be said and that no one wants to hear. Between 1994 and 1997, thirteen people used various variants of the mouthpiece in Paris, Malmo, Helsinki, Warsaw, Amsterdam, Trelaze and Angers.
AEgis, named for the cloak of Athena armed with the protective image of Medusa’s head, consists of a pair of wing-like LCD screens which lie folded on the wearer’s back until activated by a human voice. The screens then deploy, flanking the wearer with a mantle of differing images of the user’s own face and voice in a self-dramatized and self-directed scenario. Pre-recorded and pre-programmed, these are dialogical responses to such unanswerable questions, previously entered into the memory of the device, as “What are you” and “Where are you from?” AEgis is designed to respond to particular queries by generating those dual (and often dueling) responses that live through contradiction.