Mexican artists Erika Harrsch and Magos Herrera set up a multimedia exhibit in New York, Under the Same Sky We Dream, that reflects on the drama of unaccompanied immigrant children crossing into the United States and the tenuous hope offered by an immigration law.
Titled “Under the Same Sky … We Dream”, the piece aims to recreate the interior of detention centers for immigrant children, with mats pointing towards a screen cut out with the silhouette of the southern border of the United States where 35 thousand photos of the sky are projected.
In the meantime, Herrera, a well-known Mexican jazz singer based in New York, is heard repeating the exact words of the failed Dream Law, which would have given permanent migratory relief to the young people who were brought to the United States as children.
Mounted at the BRIC cultural center in Brooklyn County, the installation was created within the framework of the BRIC-PEN Festival dedicated this year to reflect on borders. The piece will be open to the public from April 26 to May 6.
“For a long time I have a real concern about the issue of migration and the conditions of undocumented Mexicans, and the starting point of this piece were the images that emerged in 2014 of unaccompanied immigrant children in detention centers,” said Harrsch.
Originally from Mexico City and based in New York for more than a decade, Harrsch pointed out that in addition to trying to evoke from a playful and poetic perspective the “inhuman” conditions of detention centers she was interested in adding the distant comfort of a regularization.
Under the Same Sky We Dream
“The Dream Act is here as a song of hope in which a mother sings to her lost children who came to the United States in search of opportunities. The idea is to listen to that sweet voice that gives hope with a law that failed because of the economic interests of congressmen,” she said.
Harrsch argued that if immigration reforms have failed in the United States, it has been for the interests of private detention centers, which with contributions to congressional campaigns have slowed down the possibility of migratory regularization.
“Those responsible for operating these for-profit detention centers in the United States are corporations that enrich themselves with each body. Every child, woman and man who is detained multiplies these multi-million dollar businesses,” she explained.
At the same time, the beauty of the images of the clouds passing free on the screen of Under the Same Sky We Dream simulates the border, evokes the freedom of crossing denied to human beings, as well as the time spent in detention.
“I try to combine political and social realities in the same project in a poetic, philosophical and playful way so that the spectators have the opportunity to access the pieces from the point of view of the experience,” Harrsch said.
The pieces by Harrsch, who has collaborated with composer Philip Glass and cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, have appeared in the Whitney Museum of Art and the Museo del Barrio (New York), as well as in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Monterrey and the Museum of the City of Querétaro, among others.
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