The Internal Frontier: How Art at Once Problematizes Borders and Draws us Closer to Them
This study combines first-person storytelling, visual interpretation, and linguistic investigation to analyze how a mixed-media artwork that Kasia Ozga produced in 2011, The Internal Frontier, represents immigrant journeys on an autobiographic, social, and discursive level. In the context of an increasingly polarized political climate, Ozga examines borders as individual experiences and geopolitical phenomena to explain how art conditions conflictual aspects of the self to coexist, promoting social consciousness and community engagement.
Those in power use borders to naturalize and separate what is familiar from what is strange. As an artist, Ozga explores how our personalities are partitioned, enforced, and made from external boundaries that define our movements, and by the internal borders that we impose on ourselves. Here, reproductions of different “frontiers” around the world are literally cut from the fabric of human chest x-rays collected from immigrant long-term visa applicants, highlighting physical removal and absence. To produce these modified artifacts, shown in light-boxes in various exhibitions in France and the United States, Ozga researched the border-as-process of inclusion and exclusion linked to regulative authority in social relations, nation-building, political sovereignty, as well as personal identity formation.
In the artworks, migration is transformed from an isolated act to a shared human experience. The images, at once precise and indeterminate, maintain the dual symbolism of the border as barrier and as springboard, simultaneously inhibiting and enabling interactions between individuals and select geographic locations. Just as migrants lead us to re-evaluate our physical and mental borders, critical cultural production can contest the impact and staying power of borders by underscoring how establishing and overriding boundaries enable us to claim and reclaim who we are.
Copyright (c) 2017 Kasia Ozga
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- The Author retains copyright in the Work, where the term “Work” shall include all digital objects that may result in subsequent electronic publication or distribution.
- Upon acceptance of the Work, the author shall grant to the Publisher the right of first publication of the Work.
- The Author shall grant to the Publisher and its agents the nonexclusive perpetual right and license to publish, archive, and make accessible the Work in whole or in part in all forms of media now or hereafter known under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License or its equivalent, which, for the avoidance of doubt, allows others to copy, distribute, and transmit the Work under the following conditions:
- Attribution—other users must attribute the Work in the manner specified by the author as indicated on the journal Web site;
- The Author is able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the nonexclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the Work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), as long as there is provided in the document an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post online a prepublication manuscript (but not the Publisher’s final formatted PDF version of the Work) in institutional repositories or on their Websites prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work. Any such posting made before acceptance and publication of the Work shall be updated upon publication to include a reference to the Publisher-assigned DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and a link to the online abstract for the final published Work in the Journal.
- Upon Publisher’s request, the Author agrees to furnish promptly to Publisher, at the Author’s own expense, written evidence of the permissions, licenses, and consents for use of third-party material included within the Work, except as determined by Publisher to be covered by the principles of Fair Use.
- The Author represents and warrants that:
- the Work is the Author’s original work;
- the Author has not transferred, and will not transfer, exclusive rights in the Work to any third party;
- the Work is not pending review or under consideration by another publisher;
- the Work has not previously been published;
- the Work contains no misrepresentation or infringement of the Work or property of other authors or third parties; and
- the Work contains no libel, invasion of privacy, or other unlawful matter.
- The Author agrees to indemnify and hold Publisher harmless from Author’s breach of the representations and warranties contained in Paragraph 6 above, as well as any claim or proceeding relating to Publisher’s use and publication of any content contained in the Work, including third-party content.
Revised 7/16/2018. Revision Description: Removed outdated link.