Casitas Voladoras (Little flying houses)


-A per formative and collaborative art project with “undocumented” immigrants from the state of Chiapas Mexico living in San Francisco CA and with the children of El Pital Honduras.


"Human migration is the very least understood and most poorly governed aspects of globalization. There are international agreements for the movement of goods for investment but yet the movement of people remains largely the prerogative of sovereign nation states with little affective cooperation internationally."

John Slowcom

Director, Global migration and Human Mobility

MacArther Foundation



The New Temporary Sanctuary Movement (NTSM) is a series of per-formative video installations focusing on community collaborations created with recent immigrants from the rural areas of the state of Chiapas Mexico that are now recently working and residing in California. These collaborative performances are in conjunction with community performances created in El Pital, Honduras. (NTSM) documents and performs the movement of monuments, which provide symbolic public protection to clandestine communities of struggle.


In the summer of 2008, a team of nine undocumented day laborers and I joined in San Francisco to   build a temporary portable sanctuary out of fabric and sticks. We occupied galleries, streets, and business entrances in efforts to claim sanctuary statues within the public realm. This initiated an ever shifting temporal collaborative art project that focuses on the '"HOME" as a theatrical stage in the creation of mythical images for understanding reality. This symbolic procession extenuates a cast of protection for "undocumented immigrants" while illustrating issues of human migration, displacement, economic inequality, and globalization, along with ideas of home and place within the changing global political and economic structures.


The New Temporary Sanctuary Movement (NTSM) began as a reaction to the ideas of The New Sanctuary Movement (NSM) enacted in the 1980's. At that time, thousands of Central American refugees poured into the US, fleeing extensive human rights violations. Federal immigration policy denied the majority political asylum simply because their governments were allies of the U.S. The NSM was an agreement between religious organizations coming together to provide protection within their temples in defiance of US federal Laws. The NTSM performance was in part a critique on religious architecture as it asserted that temple walls where the only symbols that could provide safety.



The NSTM was next performed in rural Honduras where it was alternatively named, “Casitas Voladores” or “Flying Little Houses”, by the local children. We arrived in El Pital Honduras to work directly with the children with the knowledge that many of them would make there way north. The gathering of stories beside the physical contemplations of structure and place supported a creative action with rich narrative as a means to understanding the human condition. This was an intensive three-week project of design and building with ritualistic aspects of theater along-side public intervention and arts education. During this time, five portable temporary sanctuaries were constructed and later crossed through the river El Crangejar and back into town as a ritualistic procession of the migration of their fathers, brothers, uncles, and neighbors.


The use of Oral History supports the idea that documentation of intimate conversations alongside creative action as well as story telling through resulting anecdotes and contemplative interactions is vital in understanding the constructs within which we live.  Through out the project, interviews and conversation were documented and projected along side the final performance with a final book publication.

Video for Sculptural Installation #1

Casitas Voladoras

El Pital Honduras-San Francisco CA

Fresno California-Death Valley CA.


Video for Sculptrua Instalation #2

Casitas Voladoras

El Pital Honduras-San Francisco CA

Fresno California-Death Valley CA.



To receive a copy of Casitas Voladoras, an Oral History, conducted by Caleb Duartes Father, Francsico Duarte, click here

The New Temporary Sanctuary Movement

San Francsico California Mission District


El Pital Hondura. A three week workshop of drawing, building, and sculptrual perfromance. 2008

Casitas voladoras

caleb duarte piñon

Caleb Duarte