Hillary Mushkin (b. 1969)
selections from Survey to Surveillance

In Survey To Surveillance, Hillary Mushkin draws parallels between the founding of the U.S.-Mexico border and the technologies used to surveil and control it today. Mushkin reproduces pages from the Report on the United States and Mexico Boundary Survey (1857-9), a document commissioned by the U.S. Government to map and catalogue the geography and resources of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, defining the parameters of the border as we know them today. In After the Palantir Interface and DHS/ICE Data Network Diagram, Mushkin juxtaposes historic “no tech databases” from the Report on the United States and Mexico Boundary Survey with abstract India ink drawings based on maps of contemporary systems employed by governments and corporations, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Palantir. The resulting antagonisms demonstrate the persistent and often-unchecked importance of classification technologies in the (re)production of the U.S.-Mexico border.

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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.