Brad Mortlock

"Great. Great. Big, Ecological Disaster"

Section MS10, Matthew Darmour-Paul

Keywords: digital environment, archival practice, borders/boundaries, environment

The US-Mexico Border wall pollutes a vast landscape with 774,000 cubic yards of concrete and 539,000 tonnes of steel, transforming numerous bioregions into a grotesque scene of heavy machinery and the immobilisation and separation of migrant families and ecosystems.

Furthermore, the entire landscape that houses the wall is becoming a military resource. Rivers are becoming weaponsied against migrants, wildlife corridors are being trespassed and federal wildlife protections have been ignored. The restraint of free movement of both humans and wildlife within the zone of this man-made infrastructure is inflicting damage on the protected partnerships of the US-Mexico bioregion of El Pinacate and the Cabeza Prieta deserts, which are pitting groups against each other now at risk of destroying decades of peace.

The unsettlement of the wall can translate to the idea of absorption and porosity, two words that depict the thickening and doubling of an object that returns to its natural state after being drained. The wall is politically and environmentally absorbing the megalomania of politicians, with far-reaching ramifications for immigration and the militarisation of deserts, rivers, and forested areas.

This simulation acts as a form of counter-propaganda where I begin to proactively drain the capacity of the wall's political absorption. In doing so, vital material and information that was catalogued through a database of a vast array of multimodal collection processes are highlighted. The outcome takes on a fictional representation of the wall - empowering the observers to feel like they are at the wall and acquire the interconnection of audiences worldwide to an imagined world. I have narrated the archive as a catalogue of three-dimensional items that pose a threat, encourage, destroy or mistreat the ecology of the surrounding wall, with an added monetary value that corresponds to the amount the wall absorbs from each item.

The final simulation accounts for the undocumented affairs of the wall, from a collective log of news reports, the destruction of wildlife, the heavy machinery in operation, and the dialogue of governmental statements translated into space.