I ran my hand across the surface of the borderland and it was thin.

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LEFT 1 01-113, Carrara Italy Accession Number: 2009:13 Artist: Wylie, William Date: 2006 Medium: Digital pigment print Dimensions: image: 29 1/2 in x 35 7/8 in; paper: 35 in x 41 3/4 in RIGHT 1 02-71, Carrara Italy Accession Number: 2009:12 Artist: Wylie, William Date: 2006 Medium: Digital pigment print Dimensions: image: 29 1/2 in x 35 7/8 in; paper: 35 in x 41 3/4 in
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LEFT 2 06-32, Carrara, Italy Accession Number: 2009:17 Artist: Wylie, William Date: 2006 Medium: Digital pigment print Dimensions: image: 29 1/2 in x 35 7/8 in; paper: 35 in x 41 3/4 in RIGHT 2 01-81, Carrara Italy Accession Number: 2009:18 Artist: Wylie, William Date: 2006 Medium: Digital pigment print Dimensions: image: 29 1/2 in x 35 7/8 in; paper: 35 in x 41 3/4 in
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LEFT 3 Glaucester Accession Number: 1981:153 Artist: Siskind, Aaron Date: 1945 Medium: Gelatin silver print Dimensions: board: 15 in x 19 in; image/paper: 13 1/8 in x 9 5/8 in RIGHT 3 Glaucester 5 Accession Number: 1996:266 Artist: Siskind, Aaron Date: 1944 Medium: Gelatin silver print Dimensions: paper: 11 in x 14 in
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LEFT 4 Border Monument No. 106, N 31° 19.978' W 110° 27.575' (North View), from the "Working the Line" series Accession Number: 2011:155.63 Artist: Taylor, David Date: 2009 Medium: Inkjet print Dimensions: RIGHT 4 Border Monument No. 106, N 31° 19.978' W 110° 27.575', from the "Working the Line" series Accession Number: 2011:155.64 Artist: Taylor, David Date: 2009 Medium: Inkjet print Dimensions: image: 7 1/4 in x 9 3/4 in; paper: 13 in x 19 in
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LEFT 5 Border Monument No. 251, from the "Working the Line" series Accession Number: 2011:155.94 Artist: Taylor, David Date: 2009 Medium: Inkjet print Dimensions: image: 7 1/4 in x 9 3/4 in; paper: 13 in x 19 in Credit Line: Gift of the artist RIGHT 5 Border Monument No. 251, from the "Working the Line" series Accession Number: 2011:155.93 Artist: Taylor, David Date: 2009 Medium: Inkjet print Dimensions: image: 7 1/4 in x 9 3/4 in; paper: 13 in x 19 in
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American Flags and Bollard Fence (looking into Mexico), from the "Working the Line" series Accession Number: 2011:155.121 Artist: Taylor, David Date: 2009 Medium: Inkjet print Dimensions:
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LEFT 7 #52, from the "Recycled Realities" series Accession Number: 2008:580 Artist: Willis, John Date: 2001 Medium: Gelatin silver print Dimensions: 7 x 7 inches image RIGHT 7 #16, from the "Recycled Realities" series Accession Number: 2008:582 Artist: Willis, John Date: 1998 Medium: Gelatin silver print Dimensions: 7 x 7 inches image
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LEFT 8 San Luis Potosi 16 Accession Number: 1996:268 Artist: Siskind, Aaron Date: 1961 Medium: Gelatin silver print Dimensions: image: 9 3/8 in x 12 1/2 in RIGHT 8 Rome 49 Accession Number: 1997:39 Artist: Siskind, Aaron Date: 1963 Medium: Dimensions:
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LEFT 9 Mining the Coal Seam, Open Pit Strip Mine, Bohemia, Czech Republic Accession Number: 1994:50 Artist: Gowin, Emmet Date: 1994 Medium: Gelatin silver print Dimensions: image: 14 in x 14 in RIGHT 9 Pivot Agriculture, Washington Accession Number: 1992:6 Artist: Gowin, Emmet Date: 1987; printed 1988 Medium: Gelatin silver print Dimensions: image: 9 5/16 in x 9 9/16 in; paper: 11 in x 14 in
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LEFT 10 Scientia-Artifex Accession Number: S2003:110 Artist: Unknown Date: n.d. Medium: Dimensions: RIGHT 10 Scientia-Artifex Accession Number: S2003:107 Artist: Unknown Date: n.d. Medium: Dimensions:
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Museum of Contemporary Photography
Chicago, IL
2012

In 2012 I was invited by the artist Jan Tichy to select a series of images from the archive of the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago that would be displayed on 2 monitors on the outside of their gallery on the campus of Columbia College. I chose 20 images and titled this collection, I ran my hand across the surface of the borderland and it was thin. The following text described the logic of this grouping:

This group of images from the Museum of Contemporary Photography maps out a particular territory of space that exists at a borderland. At the center of this group is David Taylor’s examination of the border between the United States and Mexico. Taylor photographed a number of border monuments, white stone obelisks erected in the 1890s. These silent guardians of a politically loaded space function as symbols of an untamable frontier. They also point to the absurdity of essentialized divisions when it comes to nationalism in an age of neoliberalism and globalization. These stones also function at another borderland, between the perception of landscape’s purity and the ravages of human intervention. Emmet Gowin’s photographs of strip mines and large-scale agribusiness powerfully evoke this tension. John Willis observes heaps of recycled paper and Aaron Siskind shows us the peeling detritus of layered broadsides. Both evoke the layers of matter that culture leaves in its wake. Finally, William Wylie’s images display large chunks of Carrara marble that have been carved away from the earth. They, like many images in this group, tip themselves toward another borderland – the picture plane. The surface of an image, much like a fence between nations, is permeable and open, especially in the context of the public sphere.