Border Art Workshop/
Taller de Arte Fronterizo

June to October, 1984.

VAW/TAF is organized by David Avalos under the sponsorship of the Centro Cultural de la Raza, San Diego, California.

The Exile - 1984
1984, Southwestern College Gallery, Chula Vista, CA
This performance event marked the first collaboration effort between Michael Schnorr, Guillermo Gomez-Peña and Sara-Jo Berman, which was presented in conjunction with the exhibition "Artists Look at Politics in the 1980s."

Border Realities - February 1985
Galeria de la Raza, San Francisco, CA
A multi-media art event including an outdoor mural, video, sculpture, painting photography and performance art within the gallery installation. Ocnoceni. Performed by Guillermo Gomez-Peña and Sara-Jo Berman. Ocnoceni explored the mythical landscape of the border and how Latin Americans become myths when they cross the border. Premiered as part of Border Realities I.

Border Tableau - November 1985
Border Field Park, US-Mexico Border
A tableau vivant created for photographer Jay Dusard for inclusion in a book by him and journalist, Alan Weisman. La Frontera: The United States Border with Mexico, (1986. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.) Photo: plate 54, text: pp. 179-181.

A Tri-Cultural Street Event - January 1986
Sushi, Inc., San Diego, CA
A performance within a light and sculpture installation created on the street in front of the gallery.

Border Realities I - 1986
Video Art, USA, color, 12 minutes, ¾ inch; English and Spanish
A potpourri of border imagery including elements of Ocnoceni (which premiered in November 1985). Produced by BAW/TAF member Michael Schnorr and directed by Isaac Artenstein and Michael Schnorr. Screened at the Centro Cultural de la Raza, the San Diego Art Institute's "Video 86" exhibition, the Robert Else Gallery at CSU Sacramento and the San Antonio Cine Festival, 1986.

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Border Realities II - February 1986
Centro Cultural de la Raza, San Diego, CA
A series of installations occupying 2,000 square feet ad utilizing light, graphics, sculpture, painting, slide projection and video. Gallery visitors were encouraged to write on the walls, lift boulders, climb on sculpture and interact with the installations in a variety of other ways. Performance presentations occurred at the opening and closing of the exhibition. Cabaret Babylon-Aztlan - performed by Guillermo Gomez-Peña and Sara Jo Berman in the format of a Tijuana cabaret. The piece reveals the ironic interactions between Mexicans, Chicanos and Anglos in the region.

End of the Line - October 12, 1986
Centro Cultural de la Raza, San Diego, CA
A site-specific performance/installation/event that took place at the end of the border fence where Tijuana and San Diego meet at the Pacific Ocean. An attempt by artists and audience on both sides of the border to discover America on their own terms. The piece occurred simultaneously in the United States and Mexico and was intended to create a sense of "no border." As a challenge to the media concept of the border as a "war zone," the piece established the possibility of a space for creativity and peaceful interaction.

Café Urgente - October 16, 1986
Centro Cultural de la Raza, San Diego, CA
A café environment was created within a sculpture and light installation forming a context for the presentation of performance and ideas by US and Mexican humanities scholars and writers (Tomas Ybarra-Frausto, Ph.D., James D. Cockroft, Ph.D., Alan Weisman, Felipe Ehrenberg, David Maciel, Ph.D., and BAW/TAF members). Over bottles of beer and cups of coffee the audience and presenters discussed border consciousness, the redefinition of the border and new models for its future unfolding.

Border Realities III - February 1987
Centro Cultural de la Raza, San Diego,CA
BAW/TAF's third annual art exhibition including installations, sculpture, performance, painting, drawing, photo/texts and documentation of "end of the Line" Documented/Undocumented - Co-written and performed by Guillermo Gomez-Peña and Emily Hicks and performed as part of Border Realities III. This interdisciplinary performance explores the fragile and slippery notions of being "documented" or "undocumented" through a series of vignettes that utilize movement, text, audio and photography.

911 - A House Gone Wrong - April 1987
La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, Parameters 8, San Diego, California
Co-sponsored by the Centro Cultural de la Raza Primarily an installation utilizing wall painting, sculpture, light and sound. Two different presentations of performance art occurred the three-month length of the exhibition.

Parameters 8 Coffee/Discussions - April-June 1987

Java Coffe House and Gallery, San Diego, Ca
Four informal panel discussion hosted by BAW/TAF and held in conjunction with "911." Panelists included Tijuana publisher Rosina Conde; The Tribune editorial page editor, Joe Holley; Chicano activist, Herman Baca; Pulitzer Prize winner, Johathan Freedman; Mexican researcher; Jose Luis Perez Canchola; Director for the Institute for Regional Studies of the Californias, Paul Ganster; and art critics, Susan Freudenheim, Leah Ollman and Robert Pincus.

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Is the Border in Your Mind, on the Ground or in the Media? - April 14, 1987
Society for Photographic Education, 24th National Conference, San Diego, CA
A collaborative, interdisciplinary 30-minute event. A critique of mass media images of the border utilizing audio-taped sequences, choreography, slides, live performance, original "rap" song and sculpture sets.

Border Pilgrimage - November 1, 1987
Tijuana/San Diego
Around the Day of the Dead, a group of experimental Mexican, Chicano and Anglo artists gathered at the municipal cemetery in Tijuana around the tomb of Juan Soldado, patron saint of Chicanos and the undocumented. Their objective was to cross legally or illegally, under real or fictitious identities, and document the journey with video, sound, photographs, drawings, and poetry, and, at the same time, to collect objects and images for the later construction of an altar for the dead commemorating the event. I Couldn' Reveal my Identity (Video art, USA, 1988, in color, 10 min., ¾ inch, English) The Wrestler Bride, a follower of Santa Frida, made a pilgrimage from the tomb of Juan Soldado in Tijuana to the Centro Cultural de la Raza in San Diego. The Wrestler Bride was asked to remove her mask at the border, but she explained that "she couldn't reveal her identity." By Emily Hicks and Berta Jottar.

Border Door - May 28, 1988
Otay Mesa/Tijuana
A quarter mile east of the Tijuana International airport, at the border fence, Richard Lou constructed a free-standing door which could only be opened from the Mexican side. He hung 134 detachable keys on the Mexican side of the door as an invitation to anyone wanting to cross. He also distributed hundreds of keys among would-be undocumented workers in various colonias of Tijuana and personally extended them an invitation "to cross the border with dignity."

Border Realities IV, Casa de Cambio - Spring 1988
Centro Cultural de la Raza, San Diego, CA
This exhibition included the collaboration of 20 artists from the San Diego-Tijuana region in a larger, interdisciplinary art exhibit. The exhibition was conceptually integrated around the potential for a labyrinth or maze to disorient an audience. Coupled with a variety of installation approaches, the aim of the exhibition was the transformation of the viewer on an internal and intellectual level. The video Erasing the Line: Backyard to Backyard was featured in one of the installations, and it portrayed residents of San Ysidro and Tijuana who live and work within a few hundred yards of the international border and whose concepts and ideas help to refute the popular media myth of the border as a "war Zone." Border Brujo The first production of Guillermo Gomez-Peña's current piece was premiered in the context of Casa de Cambio. Border Brujo undergoes a series of nine transformations of character/speech/culture/sex, etc.

Backyard to Backyard - 1988
Video art, USA, 1988, color, 26 min, ¾ inch, English and Spanish
A challenge to the mass media's version of the San Diego/Tijuana border region as a "war zone." Through the words and images of residents who live on the actual borderline itself, we begin to see the roots of the media myth. By Berta Jottar, Alicia Flores and Michael Schnorr.

#95 - 1988
San Diego, CA
In collaboration wit the Sierra Club, members of workshop including Berta Jottar, Robert Sanchez and Richard Lou designed this performance, which deals with Coastal Border Ecology and oil drilling.

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Vidas Perdidas/Lost Lives - January 1989
Artists Space, New York, New York
BAW/TAF in this multi=media exhibition, will be the medium, the organ of delineation of the undocumented worker, so they may define their own lives as well as their own deaths. The installation invited people to walk from the dangerous border freeway crossings to the poisonous north county San Diego flower fields and forced plantation reality of the region's undocumented workers.

Super Barrio - March 7, 1989
Centro Cultural de la Raza, San Diego, CA
A BAW/TAF performance collaborating with Super Barrio (the Mexican folk-social activist hero). A mock wrestling match against the Borderlords and an informational presentation on human rights violations in San Diego's north county.

Border Realities V - June 1989
Centro Cultural de la Raza, San Diego, CA
The sequential collaboration and the exchange of social-cultural dialogues at a bi-national level has placed BAW/TAF in a position to widen the perspective and the ability to examine how issues and concerns that affect regional borders interconnect within the global multinational border context. This interdisciplinary exhibition reflects concepts of a global border reach-out. As the interconnectedness of border regions becomes more apparent, we can expose the spiritual groveling caused by divisibility and negation.

Highways Opening Benefit - Cinco de Mayo - May 5, 1989
Santa Monica, CA
BAW/TAF and friends from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Tijuana help to inaugurate the Highways Performance Space with a series of performances and street events, culminating in a community procession through the neighborhood ending in the Pantera Rosa bar. The aim was to ceremonially reclaim the area. One of the oldest barrios in the region, as part of Aztlan.

Capp Street Project - July - August 1989
San Francisco, CA
BAW/TAF was instrumental in the creation of an Alternative News Media Network by Artists, a functional, temporal network of gathering, archiving, analysis and dissemination. We have a sense of urgency about breaking out of the art circuit and enlarging the definition of the artist to embrace communicator/disseminator of ideas/images. We want: a) to make the information accessible to a broader, more multi-cultural audience; and b) to document the audience's response to our analysis and presentations.

If You Lived Here, The City in Art, Theory and Social Activism - 1989
Dia Art Foundation, New York, New York
Group exhibition presenting the current crisis in American urban housing policies and portraying how artists within the context of neighborhood organizations have found against government neglect, shortsighted housing policies and real estate speculation.
No Place to Call Home (Video art, USA, color, 20 mins, ¾ inch, English and Spanish). An altered documentary of the conditions and final eviction of undocumented workers in north San Diego county for lack of adequate housing and unfettered real estate speculation.

What's Wrong With This Picture? - September 1989
San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, San Francisco, CA
A group exhibition, panel and roundtable discussion on issues of censorship and self-censorship from the viewpoints of artists, political figures, arts administrators and historians, business, law and religious experts.

Soccer Field/Cañon Zapata Performance Interventions - October 1989 - February 1990
San Diego/Tijuana
A series of performance interventions on the international boundary line between California, US and Baja California, Mexico, taking place on game board designs and asking for participation by local people and those waiting to cross into the US. The interventions were meant to question ideas of place, boundary, colonization and the "media image" of the area as a "war zone."

Border Watch I/Soccer Field/Cañon Zapata - January 1990
Galeria de la Raza, San Francisco, CA
The first presentation of the Soccer Field/Cañon Zapata performance interventions in exhibition installation format with Sony Face-to-Face telephone machines connecting San Diego with the Galleria. Street projections of border performances and crossings extended the exhibition outside the gallery space.

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Counter Protest to "Light Up the Border" - March 1990
Nestor, CA
A site-specific performance intervention with more than 100 participants carrying mirrors to reflect the lights and ignorance of the Light Up the Border demonstrators. BAW/TAF organized citizen and student groups in order to expand the experience of performance intervention within a populist political action.

El Bordo - Spring 1990
Tijuana, Mexico
A series of site-specific performance intervention actions coordinated with and initiated by Tijuana artists in order to raise the visibility of US Border Patrol activities and those of the Light Up the Border groups.

Venice Biennale - April 1990
Aperto '90, Colon Colonizado, Venice, Italy
International invitational multimedia installation focusing on the series of performance interventions directly on the US/Mexico border dealing with issues of colonialism (Colon Colonizado); international boundaries (Berlin Posada); the invasion of Panama (Oh George, Oh Panama); and the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (Roll my Dice with a Lucky Hand, I want to Own a Lot of Land).

Living on the Border: Art and Activism, San Diego & Tijuana - June 1990
Lancaster Festival, Ohio
The Venice Biennale Aperto '90 installation installed in Ohio.

Border Sutures - July - August 1990
Southwestern United States
Performance journey from Matamoros to San Diego/Tijuana, during which participants made a variety of staples that attempted to heal the wound of the border and involved people along the line. The one-month interactive traveling at caravan traveled both sides of the border in zig-zag fashion to symbolically mend the wound. Border crossing points of entry and non-traditional art sites made up a majority of the stopping points and established new networks of communications between BAW/TAF members and native Americans, Mexicans and North Americans.

Border Watch II - September 1990
CIRCA, University of Texas, Arlington, Texas
A second version of the Venice Biennale Aperto '90 installation with a live video transmission from the Soccer Field/Cañon Zapata in San Diego/Tijuana of a performance intervention entitled Border Tug of War following the performance intervention format developed in late 1989 at the Soccer Field/Cañon Zapata.

Orfanatorio Laslo Cardenas - December 1990
Tijuana, Mexico
Collaborative mural project done with students from Southwestern College and Tijuana for the infants' hall in the orphanage. This was the first attempt of an ongoing project dealing with the lives of children made homeless, either existing on the streets or in institutions, a situation analogous to the lives of many undocumented workers.

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Whitewash(ed) - April 1991
Centro Cultural de la Raza, San Diego, CA
BAW/TAF annual exhibition (Border Realities VI) including over 20 artists from Tijuana, San Diego, and London, England. This exhibit explored a wide range of interpretations of racism on physical and psychic borders, issues of identity and place the rise of vigilantism against undocumented workers in our community and our unconscious denials of these realities.

Border Watch III (Human Prey) - May 1991
LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), San Diego, CA
A portable exhibition in conjunction with Whitewash(ed) that traveled to four San Diego area high schools and challenged students to confront their involvement in the institutionalization of racism, the need for creative self-expression, how patterns of behavior become distorted and the creation of attitudes which acknowledge our diversity.

South=North=South - July - August 1991
Hallwalls, Buffalo, NY
From July 17 through August 19, BAW/TAF was in residence in recognition of the fact that borderland cultural multiplicity is coming increasingly to describe not only border towns like San Diego/Tijuana or Buffalo, but the entire United States. BAW/TAF's activities in Western New York included two weeks of interaction with migrant farmworkers and their families followed by two weeks of community/art-based activities in Buffalo, which included music, performance, visual art exhibition and community discussion.

1991: Conquests Do Not Belong Only to the Past - November - December 1991
INTAR, New York, NY
BAW/TAF offers a portion of a large traveling slide exhibition, focusing on some aspects of the current expressions of colonialism. The slides are projected onto an outside wall at night in downtown New York City. They work visually to be quickly read, including historical reference to conquest, as well as imagery which infuses humor into an often-grave situation, with imagery which points to sexism, racism and the objectification of human beings.

Destination L.A. - December 1991
LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), Los Angeles, CA
An interdisciplinary installation and performance that is concerned with the fact of Los Angeles as a destination for migrating people and undocumented workers.

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Vecinos/Neighbors - 1991
The publishing of BAW/TAF's second comprehensive catalogue covering the years 1988 to 1991, with the participation of many writers and artists from Mexico and the United States.

Portable Stories/Histories Portatiles - May - June 1992
Centro Cultural de La Raza, San Diego, CA
BAW/TAF's annual exhibition (Border Realities VII) with over 60 collaborators from San Diego and Tijuana. The project included an outreach project with two classes (50 students) from the bilingual program in San Diego High School. The exhibition formatted in a wide variety of mediums, the personal narratives of people who arrived to the San Diego/Tijuana Border region from somewhere else.

Boundary Rider, Stories from the Edge - 1992 - 1993
Ninth Biennale of Sidney, Australia
A reformatting of the Portable Stories/Historias Portatiles exhibition for a foreign audience, with the incorporation of the Latino community in Sidney, in the construction of the exhibition.

Discoveries - February - May 1993
Sidney, Australia
A community workshop with Laotian, Cambodian and Vietnamese refugee teenagers living in the Sidney suburb of Cabramata. The result of the workshop was an exhibition that explored the source of the label "indochinese" and the resistance to integration of Australian society. This exhibition and the teenagers were featured in the opening segment of 60 Minutes Australia. The project received numerous news coverage.

Australia Tour - April 1993
Three members of BAW/TAF toured Brisbane, Townsville,Carins, Darwin, Alice Springs, Tasmania and Melbourne in a lecture/performance road show about the Mexico/US Border reality.

Boycott/Boicot - September - December 1993
San Ysidro Border Crossing on November 21 - 22 (the busiest border crossing in the world). The intent of the project was to reveal the integral economic ties between San Diego and Tijuana, as well as to expose the rising anti-Mexican sentiment in California as a result of the passage of Proposition 187.

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Triumph of the Will (Part II) - 1993
A 20-min color video documentary of the construction of the new metal wall between the US and Mexico as it enters the Pacific Ocean. The video, directed by Michael Schnorr and edited by Adolfo Davila has been exhibited many times nationally and internationally.

ESL: English as a Second Language/La Lengua Trabada - September 1994
Boehm Gallery, Palomar College, San Marcos, CA
Installation Gallery inSite '95 binational installation and site-specific art exhibition. The exhibition motive was to collaborate with three classes of English as a Second Language students and to reveal the dilemmas inherent in language learning. Two videos were produced to accompany the exhibition.

Broken Promises: Cultural Value is Non-Negotiable - December 1994 - January 1995
Centro Cultural de la Raza, San Diego, CA
BAW/TAF's annual exhibition (Border Realities VIII) presented to the San Diego/Tijuana audience the results of our Australian experience. This exhibition included over 100 works of Australian and Aboriginal artists covering themes such as indigenous, immigrant, conqueror, refugee and prisoner in a multimedia format.

La Llaga/The Sore - February - April 1995
Africus, The first South African Binnale, Johannesburg.
A multimedia installation using the themes of California's Proposition 187 and the process of redlining loans, to explain the current atmosphere of US national politics. The exhibition was preceded six months by two BAW/TAF members attending a series of planning conferences in Johannesburg.

Des Regards Sun La Frontiere Mexique/Etats-Unis-October 1995 - February 1996
Maison de Mexique and UNESCO, Paris, France
Exhibition of drawings, paintings and a video by children living in the San Ysidro/Tijuana border area, their viewpoints. Cosponsored with the Children's Museum/Museo de Los Niños, San Diego and the Department of Culture, Tijuana, Mexico. Awarded first prize in the children-under-19 art project category for the 1996-1997 World Ideas for Peace, Habitat II sponsored by the United Nations for the 50th Anniversary of UNICEF.

Where's Mom? Kids and Violence: The absence of positive female images in children's fairy tales - November 1995 - February 1996
Centro Cultural de la Raza, San Diego, CA
BAW/TAF's annual exhibition (Border Realities IX). An interactive multimedia exhibition with professional artists and K-12 students including Internet web site access.

FOR: Forms of Resistance - January - March 1997
Centro Cultural de la Raza, San Diego, CA
BAW/TAF's annual exhibition (Border Realities X). A multimedia exhibition presenting work from Afghanistan, Croatia/Bosnia, Southern Lebanon/Palestine, Grenada, Mexico and the United States. The show featured ways that traditional forms of culture are transformed into peaceful forms of resistance.

Forms of Resistance: Corridors of Power - February 1997 - September 1997
Installation Gallery inSite '97.
A community engagement project at the Poblado Maclovio Rojas. (Current project as of April 11, 1997.)

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