Category Archives: Projects

Ungrounded by Angaea Cuna


Designed and created by Angaea Cuna
Canvas and earth interactive art installation

UNGROUNDED is an interactive art installation that deconstructs the US/Mexico border and replaces it with a playground for neutrality, exploration, and restoration. Within this space, 3 swings sway over different areas of colored gravel to convey the different experiences between a Mexican migrant, a U.S. citizen, and an individual in between. The suspension conveys an ambiguous sense of belonging to both territories, but can not feel grounded to the earth. As more people interact with the swings It calls to unify the landscape as one home.

Under the mentorship of Professor Rebeca Mendez for DESMA 173
Assisted and filmed by Paul Esposito
Funded by UCLA Arts Engagement S.E.A.D


Final Project – VIVIR

The main idea for this project was to form an organization that focuses on refugee resettlement in Mexico. The organization will center their efforts on outreach, preventative care, and utilize Co-op farming practices in order to create a sustainable system for the people in need of help, as well as a support system for the organization itself. The organization will fight to reclaim maize for the Mexican people through politics and in practice. It will practice organic farming techniques and challenge large agriculture companies’ use of all genetically modified organisms. Additional funds that are invested in the organization will also be used to team up with other Anti-GMO organizations, as well as science communities who focus on saving the Monarch butterfly.

The Vivir organization strives to make people’s lives livable. In developing lands of Mexico many small villages have been put in jeopardy due to climate change and big business practices. Vivir focuses on finding refugees in order to help them resettle their abandoned lands and homes. Through co-op farming strategies, Vivir seeks to ensure that these people have the resources to continue to live their lives as they always have; by living off their land.

Final Project

Breaking Apart is a set of ceramic plates, design and poster. The work is contemplation on the issue of how the conflicts at the Mexican-American border are affecting the people and the land in negative ways.

The issue of Mexican migration and the expansion of Monsanto’s genetically modified(GMO) corn strain is killing the brilliant native Mexican maize species and millenia of Maize culture and heritage. In the near future Monsanto’s GMO corn will be the only kind left and the biodiversity of the border area and much of the North American landscape will be greatly diminished.

With this piece I want people to consider the Mexican people as disappearing alongside native Mexican maize biodiversity. The United States government and the border are scapegoating Latin Americans, blocking migration, throwing people into private prisons, and killing migrants. The difference in our appearance is the result of only 0.1% variation in genetic code. This has been used as a justification for all manners of discriminations and atrocities. Today we can hardly avoid GMO corns; today discrimination continues; today we have to know about this crucial reality in the border and today we need to do something to prevent further disaster.



Final Project/ Documentation

humanos : Understanding the Others

humanos aims to denounce hostility against the migrants fueled by falsified statistics promoted in different media platforms, by breaking the wall between the two realities. The project evokes empathy through emphasis on credit and logic; constructing an argument using the most credible facts to concentrate the public’s focus on the humanitarian urgency of the U.S.Mexico migration crisis. This information/argument is delivered as a hand book to promote a prevalent distribution. humanos proposes two main arguments: the appropriateness of the term “environmental migrants” and to develop new migration policies which integrates U.S. economic regards.

First, promoting “environmental migrants” aims to expel the criminal connotation of the migrants (who are labelled as “illegal” or “unauthorized” immigrants). This shifts the public focus away from antagonizing the migrants. Second, the policies aim to reveal the potential economic prospect from embracing the migrants through legalization. The new economic migration policies will be a tool of integration, as the main argument (supposedly the most logical) against the migrants are of economic rumors.

According to United Nations Refugees and Migrants, now is globally “the highest level of humanitarian needs since the Second World War with the issue of large-scale mixed movements of refugees and migrants.” A collective effort is required to help vulnerable communities and groups adapt to the growing threat of climate change. In the United Nations General Assembly of September 2016, Secretary-General Yves Leterme quoted Antonio Gramsci: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” He then continued that “today, we truly do live in a time of such morbid symptoms…As history has shown over and over again, migration is not a threat to nation-States, let alone democracies, but intolerance and hatred undoubtedly are.” It is our duty as global citizens to rise against intolerance and hatred.

Final Documentation

Border Lines emerged from the desire to understand the complexity of the links between immigration, border militarization, and climate change. Due to the complex nature of these subjects, the publication explores multiple narratives that factor into the overall debate. By drawing from the voices of various investigative reporters and photojournalists across the world, Border Lines takes you through history, policy, and opinion related to the border and those who cross it.

By going further than the narrative set forth by Washington and Trump, Border Lines seeks to humanize the plight of the migrant. It identifies the factors that force the hands of migrants who  search for opportunity and a better life. The publication does not sugar coat the immigrant reality and instead dives head first into the wounds caused by the militant attitude of hostility and indifference so many individuals and families come up against at the border. Ultimately the project aims to provoke conversation in ways that elicit empathy and show that immigrant rights are human rights.


Final Project – Poverty in Mexico

Every day thousands of Mexican citizens cross the US-Mexico border in order to provide themselves and their families the money and necessities needed to live a humane life in bearable conditions.

Poverty is a major underlying factor that contributes to many different conditions in Mexico. Fertility rate, household size, working conditions, corn production, drinking water, immigration, peace index and drug war violence are all influenced in one way or another by the poverty that plagues Mexico as a country.
With this project I hope to bring to light the problems and problem areas poverty is effecting in an easily understandable manner. With the reallocation of federal money and more resources contributed to the problems, I believe these problems can be reduced and quality of life can increase.

Site Unseen Final Website

Site Unseen is a website exploring the borderland surveillance industrial complex. The project examines the use of infrared technology and thermal cameras at the US-Mexico border. By visualizing thermal images of hands holding items found at the border, Site Unseen contrasts the intimacy (warmth) of the items migrants hold dear, with the indifference (cold) of the way the U.S. treats migrants’ bodies, livelihood, and humanity.