Gloria Martinez-Granados (b. 1983)
Social Security
Installation, Silkscreen Print on Plastic, Personal Documents

Originally designed to track the earning histories of Americans under an identifying number, nine-digit Social Security numbers now operate as proxies to determine the legal status of individuals residing in the United States. For most undocumented people, it is the lack of a Social Security number that prohibits them from accessing public insurance programs, stable employment, unemployment benefits, tax returns, and other public benefits. In her installation Social Security, Gloria Martinez-Granados acknowledges the significance of a Social Security card as both a material signifier for legitimizing the status of “legal” resident from a “criminal” non-resident. Martinez-Granados reproduces her own Social Security card on 30 plastic Glad Sandwich Zipper bags arranged in a grid. Inside some of the bags lie other printed artifacts that are connected to the culture of control many immigrants inhabit, such as foreign paper currency and letters written by imprisoned immigrants. Martinez-Granado's poignant installation addresses the commonality and ephemerality of this essential piece of paper.

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Contingent Perimeters is curated by Alexis Herrera. This exhibition is supported by the Jonathan and Lizzie Tisch fund at the University of Michigan Museum of Art. It was developed as part of the Guest Instagram Curator Program. To see the Instagram exhibition and learn more, please click here.