What is Hostile Terrain 94?

hostile terrain exhibitHostile Terrain 94 is a participatory exhibition composed of 3,200 handwritten toe tags that represent migrants who have died in the Arizona Desert between the mid-1990s and 2019. These tags are geolocated on a wall map of the desert showing the exact locations where remains were found. The exhibit is based on the research of Jason de León, director of the Undocumented Migration Project, a non-profit research-art-education-media collective. 

Why do we want to bring HT94 to WUSTL?

St. Louis may be far away from the border, yet the repercussions of crises ranging from migrant death to family separation have reached our region, our research projects, and our classrooms. As instructors, administrators, students, and alumni we hope that the exhibit will help us remember those dying each day as they cross the border. Beyond solemn remembrance, we hope the exhibit will allow us to engage in conversations about the global and local significance of borders and border crossings.

Why now?

This installation was originally scheduled to take place simultaneously at a large number of institutions, across the world in Fall 2020. Needless to say, the Covid-19 pandemic has altered the plans, yet given the current situation not only at the border, but also in detention centers across the country, the exhibit and everything it represents are more urgent than ever.. Although HT94 is about migrant death in the Arizona desert, it encourages participants to contemplate remembrance and communal mourning for all those who have lost their lives in “hostile terrains” across the world.

Who can participate in the exhibit?

Anyone interested in being part of the exhibit is welcome to be part of it. 

Who is sponsoring the exhibit?

HT94@WUSTL is sponsored by the International and Area Studies Program, the American Cultural Studies Program, the Department of Art History and Archeology, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, and the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement and Institutional Diversity.