In conjunction with his Artpace 2021 exhibition, José Villalobos presented El Peso Del Rio (The Weight of the River) during an online event.
In this new performance, Villalobos treks across the Rio Grande, invoking the violence experienced along the border since the 19th century when it was in dispute between the Republic of Texas and Mexico.
Many people have endured the journey of crossing through the violent currents of the Rio Grande and the extreme heat of the Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts to seek asylum and safety. There are approximately 267,000 adult LGBTQ+ undocumented immigrants living in the United States today. Hundreds are still fleeing their countries seeking better opportunities and, most importantly, safety from their home countries and their danger.
In El Peso Del Rio, Villalobos puts his body through rigorous tasks to demonstrate how the border, whether it’s the river or the desert, is still used as a weapon by the United States government.