Bound is a postal mailing project and participatory artwork in which 300 handmade passport reproductions will be shipped to individuals for unique interventions. The recipients will add images and stories to them to create a major collaborative artwork that explores the vast histories of identity, migration, ancestry, and legacies. These passport reproductions will be sent on a first-come, first-served basis, the artworks will be presented as an online archive of the interventions.
“Archives are an important part of my practice. For an exhibition in 2013, I digitized the portrait of my first passport, which I used to visit the U.S. in the 90’s when I was one year old. (That trip was to New York, where I currently live.) Since then, I have tried incorporating the document into other exhibitions but galleries have deemed the projects too political and have not wanted to get involved. For Notions of Exile, I have decided to circumvent the gallery system entirely and to use the mailing system instead for my project. My work is based almost exclusively on bookmaking, reproduction, and research, and I want these first 300 passports to be places for individual self-documentation, books for rebuilding memories and identity—not by the government, by the people themselves.”
THIS PROJECT SEEKS TO USE THE PASSPORT AS A BOOK, AS A WAY TO RECREATE ONE’S IDENTITY.
“Passports in Venezuela have practically become luxury goods. They are expensive. They are hard to obtain. And the Venezuelan Administrative Service for Identification, Migration, and Immigration (SAIME), which issues them, is corrupt. SAIME’s services are irregular and complaints against it come from different parts of the world. In the United States, the Department of the Treasury has imposed sanctions against two heads of SAIME, Juan Carlos Dugarte Padrón and Gustavo Adolfo Vizcaíno Gil. According to the US Treasury, Vizcaíno charged applicants thousands of dollars—later transferred to personal bank accounts—to obtain passports; and many Venezuelans abroad have complained that they paid for documents they did not receive. Likewise, Joselit de la Trinidad Ramírez Camacho, the head of Venezuela’s Petro cryptocurrency initiative (the financial mechanism used by SAIME and other Venezuelan State agencies) is wanted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the Kingpin Act, and for breaking a series of sanctions imposed by the US Treasury Department.”
The passport, which should be a right, has become a control mechanism.
Fabiola R. Delgado