Composed of artists Raven Chacon, Cristóbal Martínez, and Kade L. Twist, Postcommodity’s multidisciplinary practice reveals and examines Indigenous cultural narratives and their relationships to broader social, political, and economic dialogues and actions. For the exhibition Coyotaje, Postcommodity continues its several years-long investigation of the military and economic life of the US-Mexico borderlands, highlighting the complex dynamics between US Border Patrol, the communities living in the San Pedro River Valley region, and individuals moving across the border. The exhibition is made possible through Art in General’s New Commissions Program, and is included in a season-long exploration of the politics related to geographic boundaries and the histories, possession, and accessibility of land.
As part of the project, Postcommodity engaged the US Border Patrol in a dialogue on the role of decoys in its offensive and defensive operations. Decoys are sometimes used by Border Patrol agents to apprehend individuals trying to cross the border, to push passage in specific directions, and to discourage illegal crossing into the United States. Given that many individuals encounter decoys in darkness, they have become shrouded in mythology, taking on auras and personas drawn from local folklore and oral traditions. Coyotaje will feature large-scale sculpture inspired by these conversations and Postcommodity’s intimate knowledge of the Douglas/Agua Prieta landscape, as well as a multi-channel sound work that references sonic decoys used by border agents. Conceived as potentially functional decoys, the works highlight the peculiar nature of these forms, as they represent both the tactical needs of agents and the cultural manifestations of those who encounter them.
Moving the conversation on border security beyond simplistic, mass-oriented appeals, Coyotaje instead examines the real-life experiences of those living and moving near and around the border. Postcommodity’s work breaks down some of the arbitrary and falsely-created barriers among peoples of this region, and looks to establish new constructs that speak more readily to the social, geographic, and cultural histories of these borderlands.