Miguel Fernández de Castro: Grammar of Gates

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Miguel Fernandez De CastroGrammar of Gates / Gramática de las puertas, 2019, Single channel video with sound, 20:31. Selected by Ballroom Marfa, TX.

18 August – 20 September

In Grammar of Gates / Gramática de las puertas (2019), Miguel Fernández de Castro (b. 1986, Mexico) explores the overlapping territories, languages and conflicts that mark the desert border between Mexico and the US which occupies the ancestral lands of the Tohono O’odham Nation, an indigenous people living on the Sonora-Arizona borderlands.

The artist weaves together excerpts from the film Geronimo Jones (1970) with drone and surveillance-like imagery of the landscape, drug smuggling routes and an affectless recitation of phrases taken from A Practical Spanish Grammar for Border Patrol Officers, the language of power that defines and controls the border gates.

Miguel Fernández de Castro has developed a body of work in photography, video, sculpture, archives and writing. His work has been shown at Frac Centre-Val de Loire, Orleans; e-flux, New York; Museo de Geología, UNAM, Mexico City; Spazio Veda, Florence; The Wren Library, Cambridge; Museo Artium, Vitoria; Proyecto Paralelo, Mexico City; Casa del Lago, Mexico City; Ashkal Alwan, Beirut; Museo de Arte Moderno de México, Mexico City; Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver; Bikini Wax, Mexico City; Museum of Latin American Art, Los Angeles; among others. Recently, he has been resident at PAOS, Guadalajara, and at Casa Gallina-InSite, Mexico City.

Ballroom Marfa in Marfa, Texas, is an independent contemporary cultural arts space which supports emerging and established artists working in the visual arts, film, music and performance and in particular, on projects that would be impossible to stage in traditional gallery or museum settings.

The Artists Film International 2020 programme responds to the theme of language. Local sounds, rituals and political realities feature, from the rhythms and images of a Bahamian Junkanoo to the contested ancestral lands on the desert border between Mexico and the USA.