top of page

Heav'n Rescued Land

Arturo Herrera - The National Bird Series

"The National Bird" is an experimental performance series where I am disguised as a migratory animal. I build on the premise that wild creatures can legally cross territorial boundaries without checkpoints, anytime and anywhere. The piece begins by establishing its surroundings as the particular animal, and on some occasions, negotiating the space by interacting with another animal from the series. These personal rituals, sounds, and movements are performed in front of an audience and, at other times, in front of a camera. As part of this process, I speak of the nuances and performative behaviors of the subject animal in each scene and adapt qualities assigned to the animal by its character, history, and sometimes governments, related to immigration. These performances illuminate the privilege these animals have in their choice of travel, location of settlement, and ease of traversing borders, both in the physical and imaginary worlds.

Arturo Herrera is an interdisciplinary artist based in Detroit, Michigan. Herrera explores issues across national boundaries, including the politics of race and language, borders, and self-disclosure of sexual orientation. He received bachelor's and master's degrees in fine art in Canada, at the University of Windsor, with concentrations in sculpture, photography, and performance art. Herrera’s most recent presentations include; the Detroit Historical Museum, as part of the show Looking For America, an event organized by the New American Economy, American University School of Public Affairs, and Previously, his work has been presented at the University of Michigan as part of Border Control, The New Media Caucus, Symposium, and at the Venice International Performance Art Week in Venice, Italy.

Jezabeth Roca Gonzalez - Bo. Espino 

Wall vinyl translation: You are neither from here or there. We have been bought. You are not yours. We belong to foreign hands.

This work gestures the patterns of migration, specifically dealing with interconnections of Latinx diaspora. Focusing on el Barrio Espino of my hometown Añasco, Puerto Rico, and its unnoticeable importance and weighted bond of what we see or what we don't, but still feel. The works presented are collaborations with my family and intimate interpersonal relationships that thread through a connection and dislocation to family and the land, It is about the Island of Puerto Rico and a direct reaction to hurricane Maria, the negligence of political powers, and the resilience of the people. Bo. Espino (Barrio Espino) employs concepts of distance, displacement, citizenship, colonialism and family, with the use of video, audio, land, plants and grow lights. This installation is an active-ongoing collaborative effort evolving with socio-political changes in and out of the island in regards to the diasporic tensions that occur by bridging cultures in a physical and philosophical forms.

Jezabeth Roca Gonzalez is a third year interdisciplinary MFA candidate at the University of South Florida, working with Video, Performance, Photography, Land and Architectural Sculpture in conversation with Installation. Originally, I am from the rural town of Añasco in the island of Puerto Rico, within ten years of residing in the United States my interest in Puertorican diasporic narratives has been led by explorations in connections through active collaborations, gestural motions, metaphoric erranties resulting in conversations of self displacement. At the moment my practice revolves around the re-examinations of colonial embodiments embedded into our collective identity. In particular, I am interested decolonial and post colonial theories in relationship to Puerto Rico's ongoing colonial status with the United States. Although the work can be perceived as

socially and politically driven, my goal is to remain with grater ethical concerns that are approached under the everyday normalcy in connection to power and hopefully if executed correctly the works will exist with tenderness.


stephanie mei huang - The border is a private space

Through research and practice, I examine the arbitrariness of the distribution of state

power and the constructed narratives and fallible paradigms that uphold such power. Traversing

territories of confrontation, such as the Los Angeles Police Academy shooting range and U.S./

Mexico border ports of entry, my practice visualizes systems of control and erodes the violent

mythologies that perpetuate settler colonial narratives, in the hopes of excavating partial, erased, and forgotten histories. 


Through a diasporic upbringing, having moved within the first six years of my life from Wisconsin to Indiana, then to Yokohama, Japan, and to Shanghai, China, my work finds its roots in globalization and the nuances of fragmentation in terms of physical location and culture and such displacement and fragmentation’s role in changing perceptions of nationhood, loss, and identity.


I utilize some of the controlling images and tropes that denigrate the marginalized Asian American woman’s body. Created through the process of “othering,” these controlling images produced by the Western hegemonic gaze categorize Asian women as hyperfeminine: passive, quiet, dutiful, and excessively submissive. I use the racialized gender constructions that codify my body and identity as “harmless” and “non-threatening” in order to infiltrate discordant spaces that are otherwise less accessible, challenging existing infrastructural power. I am interested in how my presence has the potential to scramble typical raciological circuits of stereotype, otherness, and threat, creating a soft power reversal within hard architectures of power.


In the instance of the border is a private space (2018-19), the series is an indexical, performative compilation of border-crossings at the U.S./Mexico border from Mexican ports of entry into the United States. With each border-crossing, I alter variables of my self-image and identification as minoritarian woman to create a catalog of my interactions with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspectors. CBP prohibits recording at any port of entry on the basis of it being private, governmental property. Examining the ritual of passport control and the syntax of national identity, I am interested in locating the pivotal points at which CBP judgment and perception of threat distinguishes manageable versus unmanageable Otherness. I aim to map racialized hierarchies created by the state, as well as to identify the fissures in logic within a virtual wall erected through technologies of control during a political climate in which visualizing the border is extremely urgent. What cognitive dissonance occurs when minoritarian affect is misplaced at the heart of normative culture?

stephanie mei huang is a Los Angeles-based interdisciplinary artist currently completing

her MFA in Art at the California Institute of the Arts (2020). She received her BA from Scripps

College (2016). Her practice concerns itself with critical scripts of notions around authority,

expansionism, exceptionalism and their subsequent consequences: erasure, displacement, and

violence. These are subjects she explores through film/video, sculpture, performance, and

painting. She is the recipient of a Getty Foundation grant and has taught at non-profits such as

the Marfa Studio of Arts and Venice Arts.

Arturo Herrera

stephanie mei huang

Jezabeth Roca Gonzalez

December 14, 2019 - January 17, 2020

Documentation of Arturo Herrera Performance

bottom of page