The Repellent Fence is a social, collaborative project among individuals, communities, institutions, organisations, the public, and the sovereign that culminates with the establishment of a large-scale temporary monument located near Douglas, Arizona and Agua Prieta, Sonora.
This 3.2 km long ephemeral land-art installation is comprised of 26 tethered PVC balloons, that are each approximately 3 metres in diameter, and float 16 metres feet above the desert landscape. The balloons that comprise Repellent Fence are enlarged replicas of an ineffective bird repellent product. Coincidently, these balloons use indigenous medicinal colours and iconography, the same graphics used by indigenous peoples from South America to Canada for thousands of years.
The purpose of this monument is to bi-directionally reach across the U.S./Mexico border as a suture that stitches the peoples of the Americas together: symbolically demonstrating the interconnectedness of the Western Hemisphere by recognising the land, indigenous peoples, history, relationships, movement and communication.
Critiquing the oversimplified border rhetoric of mass media and bi-partisan politics, Repellent Fence and its corresponding events include the participation of borderlands stakeholders, across diversity and interests, in generative conversations as a means of broadcasting complex approximations about the complexity of movement (peoples, cultures, ideologies and capital) of U.S./Mexico trans-border systems.
In other words, the intention of Repellent Fence is to organise a network of dialogues between the indigenous, United States, and Mexican public and their governmental agencies. The intentions for these generative dialogues are to form local and external capacities for the recovery of trans-border knowledge that has been arrested through binary discourses. The benefit of these narratives are to identify and support indigenous and border community interests, desires, concerns, and goals for creating a safer, healthy, and culturally appropriate borderlands environment for its citizens.
In addition to broader stakeholder implications, the intention of the Repellent Fence is to dialogue with the complex realities of the border experiences of indigenous peoples, which includes those who are geographically divided by the United States/Mexico border by examining the regional to global implications of political agendas and economic policies between neighboring sovereigns (the United States and Mexico). The goal is to shift transborder discourses away from dehumanizing and polarizing constructs of nationalism and globalisation, and to reposition discourses into a dialogue that is respectful of the indigeneity upon which borders and trade policies have been fabricated. The goal is to use the borderlands as a metaphor to acknowledge and honour the Indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere – both those who are experiencing diaspora, and those who are coping with the militarisation of their ancestral homelands.