“My hope in drawing attention to these lives that have been constructed as ungrievable is to open up for the potentialities of resistances, and acknowledge the small everyday practices of resistance that are currently being played out in memorialisation practices. Resistance always remains a potentiality, but it is in exploring what we should, perhaps ethically, be haunted by that such openings are created”
A key aspect of the #HT94 exhibition is its participatory nature. In the months leading up to the exhibit in Münster, we invited volunteers to our weekly participatory sessions where the ~3200 toe tag cards that comprise the installation were to be filled with the details of those who have lost their lives crossing the U.S. – Mexico border. The name, age, sex, cause of death, condition of body when recovered, and location of recovery for each individual were handwritten into the toe tags by our team of students, university staff and local community members — an act being replicated all over the world as all 150 hosting partners of the #HT94 exhibit prepare and assemble the installation.
The project is thus an attempt at creating a global map/moment of remembrance. Reprinting the names ensures that these lives are not simply forgotten; reprinting the ages highlights the large span of those affected by forced migration; reprinting the causes of deaths and conditions of the body reinforces the deadly necropolitics of U.S. border and immigration policies; reprinting the location of recovery serves as a reminder of the geographic specificity of border politics.
We spoke to some of our volunteers, asking them a few questions about their experience participating in the project, and their responses indeed highlighted the very affective and thought-provoking nature of this act of remembrance. Here’s what we asked them:
We invite you to read through the varied responses below and to reflect on the ways in which memory work has the potential for resistance.