diaspora I / II

Luz María Sánchez

Exhibition: Jul 6 – Sep 10, 2006


diaspora I / II combines Sánchez’s experiments into the nature of sound with a sensitivity towards her physical and cultural surroundings. Investigating Mexico’s social plight, she creates two spaces, one sonic—2487—and the other architectural/material—riverbank—to reanimate the complexities of the United States/Mexico border.

diaspora I / II’s initial gestures are more heard than seen, as spoken names sound from spare, low-mounted speakers in 2487. A role-call of absent persons, the installation records 2,487 of the estimated 8,000 who have died while trying to traverse into the United States from Mexico since 1993. Like the border, Sánchez’s list is not exclusive. It reflects the breadth of Latin America’s poverty-driven exodus, including old and young, male and female, and an ethnic spectrum of Mexican-nationals as well as other foreign citizens.

An improvised bench offers viewers a seat for contemplation. Its structure, a network of legs, resembles the code that randomly samples and sequences Sánchez’s database. Written specifically for 2487, the program raises name after name out of silence and into organic arrangement. This act of calling, basic but defining, restores these lost individuals to the present. Overlapping in time the names become forceful together, a symbol of common escape and shared fate.

Accompanying the names is riverbank, an assemblage of clothes, plastic bags, and personal items collected from the United States bank of the Rio Grande. The objects, strewn beyond a wall and beneath a skylight, present the muddied attire worn by individuals as they navigated the river’s waters. Shed hastily to avoid detection on American soil, these garments stand as molted shells of unknowns. Disembodied but present, diaspora I / II stakes out a zone that all viewers may cross to find meaning in today’s political debates.

-Kurt Dominick Mueller

Graduate Curatorial Intern

*Arts Member of the National System of Art Creators


Luz María Sánchez

San Antonio, Texas, USA

Sound and visual artist, Luz María Sánchez, was born in Guadalajara, Mexico where she studied both music and literature. Through her doctoral studies at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, she focused on the role of sound in art since its mechanical inception in the 19th century.
Working with both sound and moving images, Sánchez’s pieces are arranged to envelop the subject in a sensorial experience while preserving a feeling of physical immediacy. Her work operates in the political sphere, working with themes like the Mexican diaspora, violence in the Americas and the failure of the nation-state. Luz María Sánchez is a San Antonio resident who splits her time between San Antonio and Mexico City.
Her work has been included in major sound and music festivals such as Zéppellin Sound Art Festival, Spain; Bourges International Festival of Electronic Music and Sonic Art, France; Festival Internacional de Arte Sonoro, Mexico; and Tsonami International Sound Art Festival, Valparaiso; as well as exhibitions at the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio; the Dallas Contemporary; Galería de la Raza, San Francisco; Mexic-arte Museum, Austin, TX; John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI; Illinois State Museum, Chicago and Springfield; Centro de Cultura Contemporánea, Barcelona; Palacio de Cultura Banamex, Mexico City; X-Teresa Arte Actual, Mexico City; Museo de Ciencias y Artes, Mexico City; and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca.
In 2014 she received the first prize award for the inaugural Biennial de las Fronteras, and “Riverbank” and “2487” entered the collection of the Linda Pace Foundation. In 2015 she was awarded the prestigious national grant Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte by the National Institute of Arts and Culture in Mexico.
*Arts Member of the National System of Art Creators

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Yuko Hasegawa

Tokyo, Japan

Yuko Hasegawa is the Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan. Previously, Hasegawa was Chief Curator of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan. She was a member of the international jury for the 48th Venice Biennale (1999), Artistic Director of the 7th International Istanbul Biennial (2001), a member of the jury for the 2002 Hugo Boss Prize, Co-Curator of the 4th Shanghai Biennale (2002) and commissioner of Japanese Pavilion of the 50th Venice Biennale (2003). Hasegawa teaches art history at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and serves as a board member of the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art.

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