Wall With Land is a conceptual performance by Amalia Ortiz in conversation with the work created by Spring 2018 International Artist-In-Residence.
In the performance, Amalia temporarily reintroduces the architectures of the “white cube,” using ice blocks to build a small wall around her the courtyard. She will then read poetry and other texts for as long as it takes the ice to melt.
“My idea is that the elements of land and water will outlast the influence of man, although humans temporarily manipulate and pervert both. Waiting for the ice to melt becomes a metaphor for nature waiting for humanity to allow it to return to its uncorrupted state. The wall is, of course, a metaphor for the border wall, and man’s decision to manipulate natural objects to create unnatural constraints on humanity. The condition of being cold as a performer also references the ‘hieleras’ or temporary holding cells for refugees.”
As a Chicana feminist raised in the Rio Grande Valley, Amalia expresses her heritage and politics through performance. Her experiences growing up on the border permeate her work. Most influenced by concepts of theater for community development and Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed, Amalia’s work claims space for the marginalized, regains power through public performance, and creates dialogue between communities. In this way, performance is her activism.