Visual Arts

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Making of Postcommodity's Repellent Fence

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Lynn Trimble
Postcommodity artists (from left) Raven Chacon, Kade L. Twist, and Cristobal Martinez.

For just a few days, from a high point along Highway 2 in the Mexican town of Agua Prieta, the view looking north and south was particularly breathtaking. From there, people could see not only the desert landscape awash in various shades of green and gold, but also two lines of 13 balloons hovering 50 feet in the air — bisecting the border fence between the United States and Mexico that separates Agua Prieta from Douglas, Arizona.

The balloons were part of a temporary land art installation titled Repellent Fencecreated by the artist collective Postcommodity. Comprising 26 large-scale helium-filled balloons aligned in a jagged row running one mile in either direction, the installation was in place for just three days, from October 10 to October 12, after a planned October 9 launch was postponed due to high winds. A singular sort of artwork, Repellent Fence was a spectacle that essentially connected the two countries, with the potential to create ripple effects for years to come.