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Subterranean Borders : Colonialism, Extraction and Defiance

September 14 - October 27,  2019


This body of work by Ann Schnake and MobileInTent began in the hills of Tapalpa, Jalisco and traveled to Oakland in 2017:  twelve  artists built dream sequences and time travel of poetics and materialism, with the story of colonialism and extraction meeting the subterranean powers of defiance and de-colonization.  

The Mickies emerged from the clay of the earth and Ann's hand  and became central figures in a narrative film and installation directed by Robert Gomez Hernandez with Performances by Adan Alonso Gabriel, Victor Figueroa Infante, Ingrid Torres Espinoza, and   Marlet Alejandra Martinez., with screen play and costumes by Ann Schnake



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Our collective work holds that 500 years of the intersection of colonialism, racism, extraction and capital characterize our modernity. As we approach borders from the subterranean, we see whiteness as the first imaginary of the colonizer and as the underlying supremacist ideology in play at the border today.


Since the search for the elusive El Dorado began in the sixteenth century, the history of Latin America has been a tale of greed and resource extraction. It is said that the silver of Potosi could have built a bridge from Peru to Spain – but instead the  silver and gold of Latin America went directly to the banks of Northern Europe, financing the  industrial revolution in England, the slave trade, subsequent northern extraction and the long-term economic asymmetry between global north and south.  From the metaphoric extraction of teeth for pearls, to the shiny metals of silver, gold, and copper, to the mono crop strawberry and avocado fields that drain the water table  of the mountains of Guadalajara today, these are parts of the same story. The colonization of bodies and imagination are more tales of extraction.  As Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatistas  says, “ Another world is possible, a world that holds many worlds.”  As artists who take our role in future thinking and foreshadowing possibility very seriously, we believe that 500 years is a long time but not an eternity.  Our job is to time travel,  holding concepts of history, present and future in hand  to build imagination, possibility and action.    This body of work is one exhibition in a series of explorations of borders and borderless imaginaries.

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