A central scar we share, Performative walk up the Rio Grande in Big Bend, TX with handmade dress of cheesecloth, tarp, thread, and stencil, 2016.
In A central scar we share I walked upstream the center Rio Grande for a mile wearing a handmade performance costume. I documented the performance with videos and photographs and I collected artifacts from the walk. Moving with devotional intention, I compared my own journey with the journey of a river.
If I think about the Rio Grande as a line, a line becomes an assortment of metaphors for the Rio Grande and reoccurs in images, references, and constructions. In Big Bend the river cuts the border between the US and Mexico, separating a landscape into a cultural and political construction. As a border, the river acts like negative space because what is within does not matter and rather significance rests in what exists beyond the banks of the river. Hydrologically speaking though, the Rio Grande functions as a transporter as it roars on like a railroad of water, sediment, and nutrients. For the environment, this river medley serves as a lifeline for human and non-human life downstream. The river also carries polluted waste water, agricultural runoff, and oil. In Big Bend the proposed Trans-Pecos pipeline will cut a line perpendicular under the river. Technically, I could ride this line to the Gulf of Mexico and reunite with the sea. When I imagine this scenario I build a mental connection that links me from the middle of the Chiuauan desert to the plants and animals of the ocean. I want to inhabit this line.
I positioned myself in the river and remembered to think of my own body as a place and I decided to walk up the middle of the river in order to imprint the river into my memory.