Helena Cardona's (MArch 2019), Landscapes of the Exodus.

California College of the Arts presents Make. Act. Resist: A Teach-In on Borders & Migration

Make. Act. Resist takes place throughout October, featuring keynote lectures by Sarah Lopez and Ronald Rael, a movie screening and post-screening discussion about The Infiltrators, artist talks, and on-demand video interviews and podcasts with CCA faculty and alumni

For Zoom links, videos, and podcasts, visit makeactresist.cca.edu.

California College of the Arts presents Make. Act. Resist: A Teach-In on Borders & Migration, taking place throughout October. Originally scheduled for March 2020, Make. Act. Resist has been restaged as a virtual series of events, including keynote lectures from built environment historian and migration scholar Sarah Lopez and design activist, author, and thought leader Ronald Raeland on-demand online content highlighting the work of CCA faculty and alumni artists and designers.

Over the last four years, artists and designers across the country have deployed their skills to oppose the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant and nationalist rhetoric through critical artistic projects that build cross-border alliances and give voice to migrant experiences. As we near the 2020 U.S. elections on November 3, CCA’s Make. Act. Resist virtual teach-in will highlight art and design practices that address the politics of borders and migration.

“The making of this teach-in is an act of resistance against the oppressive forces of a rapidly expanding border-industrial complex,” said CCA Critical Ethnic Studies Adjunct Professor Jose A. Brunner, who organized Make. Act. Resist with Painting and Drawing Professor Kim Anno and Architecture Associate Professor Irene Cheng. “As a multicultural community of artists and designers, we’re committed to cultivating harmonious relationships with the land we inhabit via collective acts of solidarity with our immigrant communities. By entering this dialogue, we seek to dismantle the physical and psychological barriers that are impressed upon us.”

“We organized this event as a ‘teach-in’ in order to connect the kind of research, teaching, and learning that happen inside the academy with the urgent political crises surrounding us,” said Cheng. “CCA faculty and students have been deeply engaged in cross-border art and activism, and the teach-in events highlight that work while also acting as a call for further action.”

Make. Act. Resist: A Teach-In on Borders & Migration is a cross-departmental project supported by Creative Citizens in Action at CCA, the college’s Architecture and Fine Arts divisions, the President’s Diversity Steering Group, CCA’s Film program, and the CCA Libraries.

All events are free and open to the public.


Sarah Lopez

October 19 + 26 – Keynote lectures by Sarah Lopez and Ronald Rael

On Monday, October 19, at 6 pm PT, built environment historian and migration scholar Sarah Lopez, associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin, will give the opening keynote lecture. Lopez’s research focuses on the impact of migrant remittances—dollars earned in the U.S. and sent to families and communities in Mexico—on the architecture and landscape of rural Mexico and urban USA. By approaching architectural history within the context of migration, Lopez examines multiple sites across international borders, arguing that we must examine the spatial and built environment histories of discrete places simultaneously. Her book The Remittance Landscape: The Spaces of Migration in Rural Mexico and Urban USA was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2015 and won the 2017 Kostof Book Award from the Society of Architectural Historians. Get Zoom event link


Ronald Rael. Photo by Brittany Hosea-Small.

On Monday, October 26, at 6 pm PT, Ronald Rael closes out Make. Act. Resist with a keynote lecture. Rael is a design activist, author, and thought leader on the topics of additive manufacturing, borderwall studies, and earthen architecture. His research interests connect Indigenous and traditional material practices to contemporary technologies and issues. In 2019, Rael and Virginia San Fratello, along with a team of collaborators, installed neon pink teeter-totters at the U.S. Mexico border, a guerrilla art project that went viral and allowed children and their families to play together across the divide. Rael holds the Eva Li Memorial Chair in Architecture at the University of California at Berkeley, where he directs the printFARM Laboratory (print Facility for Architecture, Research. and Materials). He is the co-founder and principal of Rael San Fratello, which in 2014 was named an Emerging Voice by The Architectural League of New York—one of the most coveted awards in North American architecture. In 2017 he published the book Borderwall as Architecture: A Manifesto for the U.S.-Mexico Boundary. Get Zoom event link

A still from The Infiltrators

A still from The Infiltrators by Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera.

October 12 – Film screening of The Infiltrators: A film by Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra

On Monday, October 12, at 6 pm PT, audiences can tune in to an asynchronous viewing party of the docu-thriller The Infiltrators, followed by a synchronous post-screening online forum at 7:40 pm PT led by Film and Visual Studies Professor Nilgun Bayraktar and Film Professor Jeanne C. Finley.

The Infiltrators tells the true story of young immigrants who intentionally get arrested by Border Patrol so they will be placed in a shadowy for-profit detention center where they can support immigrants who are threatened with deportation. Marco and Viri are members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, a group of radical Dreamers who are on a mission to stop deportations. And the best place to stop deportations, they believe, is in detention. However, when Marco and Viri try to pull off their heist—a kind of ‘prison break’ in reverse—things don’t go according to plan. By weaving together documentary footage of the real infiltrators with scripted re-enactments of the events inside the detention center, The Infiltrators tells the story of these courageous activists in boundary-crossing cinematic language. The Hollywood Reporter said of the multiple award-winning film, “rather than feeling like homework, watching it is a thrill.” Get more information

Las Nietas de Nonó

Las Nietas de Nonó. Photo by Colibrí.

Artist talks series – The Circle: Autonomy Beyond the Nation-State

Presented in partnership with Creative Citizens in Action at CCA, The Circle: Autonomy Beyond the Nation-State is a series of conversations about how five creatives are reimagining and building autonomy through tender, ground breaking interdisciplinary art, traditional medicine, ecological knowledge, poetry, and music. Led by Critical Ethnic Studies Adjunct Professor Vreni Michelini-Castillo, The Circle features upcoming conversations with queer doula, herbalist, educator, and activist La Loba Loca (Thursday, October 8, at 2:30 pm PT); Guerrerense/San Jose undocuqueer writer and activist Yosimar Reyes (Tuesday, October 13, at 12:30 pm PT); and AfroBorikén community organizers, activists, and performance duo Las Nietas de Nonó (Tuesday, October 20, at noon PT).

On-demand video and podcast interviews

Throughout October, the Make. Act. Resist website will feature pre-recorded video and podcast interviews with “artists and designers in action,” featuring CCA faculty and alumni who have been on the forefront in using art, design, and scholarship to build cross-border alliances, give voice to migrant experiences, and resist racist and neo-nationalist border policies. Highlights of this series include Helena Cardona presenting her project “Landscapes of the Exodus,” Monica Bravo’s lecture on American and Mexican modernist artists who were shaped by their cross-border exchanges, and “Un Puente de Voces,” a series of interviews with artists and activists working with migrants. Visit makeactresist.cca.edu for the full series of on-demand content.

For a complete list of upcoming events, Zoom links, videos, and podcasts, visit makeactresist.cca.edu.

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