In Motion at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art- 2014

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In Motion (May 16 – September 27, 2014

Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City

Caleb Duarte: Dirt Wall is a performative sculptural and video installation.


“In Motion will examine different manifestations of the Mexico and United States border in the visual arts. Through a variety of media, this show complicates and expands the one-dimensional treatment of the border as a linear and fixed entity in order to reveal the shifting social and economic circumstances surrounding multiculturalism and globalization”.


"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


Thoughts on installation

“DIRT WALL”, collaborates with two “actors” (recent immigrants) placing them half buried in a floating slice of dirt protruding from each side of a freestanding wall. The two figures are facing one another while divided by an “institutional wall”(a hollow wall made of drywall and wood) that emotionally embodies the contention of immigration in all its concerns; from personal and national divide to immigrant illusions of a capitalistic promise of economic and individual liberation. The piece expresses institutional, social, and architectural tensions over fragile bodies of working people by demonstrating the “actors” obedience to the physical demands required by the structure.  


DIRT WALL does not intend to enter into the popular national debate over immigration but rather touches on the human elements of survival, social mobility, global migration, and global capitalism. It also alludes to the forgotten memories of middle class white America as unregulated cheap “third world” labor has greatly encouraged an affluent life style and ignited an economic boom into a culture of consumption.


By illustrating a slice of floating earth resembling suburban divides, with a white wall and figures trapped in space for a three hour performance, the audiences of The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art are confronted with a theatrical and surrealistic illustration of migration. This sculptural performance seeks to emotionally complicate personal perspectives on the US Mexican Border and hopefully elevating the national debate into a rounded critique on the prevailing effects of colonialism and the demands of a global market.


Video documentation will be projected of the inaugural performance through the duration of the exhibition.