The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

Amy Sara Caroll Lecture, May 15 & 16, 2014 at UC San Diego

Amy Sara Carroll Lecture

Thursday, May 15, 2014, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Structural and Materials Engineering Building (SME), Presentation Lab, 149, UC San Diego


Amy Sara Carroll Poetry Reading

Friday, May 16, 2014 – 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Structural and Materials Engineering Building (SME), Presentation Lab, 149, UC San Diego


Amy Sara Carroll

In the 1980s, a group of artists set out to interrupt or reinvent the racialized and classed “impossible subject” of the “illegal alien” in the United States by languaging an alternative-the undocumented __________ (entrant, worker…). Many have argued that participants in the Border Art Workshop/Taller de Arte Fronterizo not only intervened in public conversations concerning immigration and late twentieth-century reconfigurations of the continent’s labor pools, but also forever linked the genre of border art to Bajalata California. In this talk, I approach the efforts of BAW/TAF as well as contemporaneous and subsequent artwork in and from the Mexican-U.S. borderlands as so many exercises in “undocumentation.” By this I mean, I read a range of artwork produced after 1984 as responding to and reimagining sometimes overlapping, sometimes distinct Mexican and U.S. neoliberal logics of transparency-which included, but were not bounded by the repeating island of the statistic (i.e. the GDP) and allegories of unification (i.e. NAFTA)-with a collective will to erase, strike-through, and palimpsest the latter’s fastidious aesthetics of documentation. Spoiler alert: Thankfully my analysis functions as an incomplete survey of the work in question. The narrative I offer cannot begin or end as an exercise in cataloging, archive consolidation, or even historical contextualization. Rather, it expands and contracts (1) to accommodate an elaboration of my own shuttling between writerly forms and (2) to acknowledge the site-specificity of its presentation (i.e. UCSD VisArts’ unique location in accounts of border, conceptual, and performance art as institutional critique). A work in progress, this talk’s conclusion, then, with any luck will be co-written by you, its potential audience-practitioners who participated or participate in undocumentation as method.


Amy Sara Carroll, Assistant Professor of American Culture, Latina/o Studies, and English at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, is the author of two collections of poetry SECESSION (Hyperbole Books, 2012) and FANNIE + FREDDIE/The Sentimentality of Post-9/11 Pornography (Fordham University Press, 2013). Since 2008, she also has been a member of Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0/b.a.n.g. lab, coproducing the Transborder Immigrant Tool. Currently, Carroll is completing her first critical monograph “REMEX: Toward an Art History of the NAFTA Era,” under contract with the University of Texas Press.

Please click here for map to the SME building at UC San Diego

For more information please visit:

Posted in: News