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ASU artists selected for prestigious Whitney Biennial

Postcommodity group to show video piece on U.S.-Mexico border at New York exhibition

Postcommodity's "Repellent Fence"
December 19, 2016

Indigenous arts collective Postcommodity — whose members include two Arizona State University alumni — has been selected to participate in the Whitney Biennial in 2017.

The invitational exhibition is the longest-running survey of contemporary art in the U.S., according to the Whitney Museum of American Art’s website. It will feature the work of 63 participants ranging from painting to activism to video game design. Key themes for 2017 include formation of self and the individual’s place in a turbulent society.

Being invited to take part is transformative for Postcommodity.

“It’s one of most gratifying moments of my creative life,” said collective member and co-founder Kade Twist, an alumnus of the ASU School of Art.

Postcommodity began in 2007 “to look at indigenous narratives of self-determination” and use them as "a place of creativity and a means of sharing knowledge systems," Twist said. 

For the Whitney Biennial, Postcommodity — made up of Twist, ASU alumnus Cristobal Martinez and Raven Chacon — will be showing a video titled “A Very Long Line.” The video consists of footage of the U.S.-Mexico border wall, filmed while driving alongside it, set to an original soundtrack composed by the artists.

The work is meant as a critique on “the ways in which nation-state borders have de-socialized us from one another,” said Martinez, an ASU alumMartinez also received a doctorate in rhetoric, composition and linguistics from the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2015, after completing a master’s in media arts and science and bachelor’s degrees in studio art and painting, in the Herberger Institute’s School of Arts, Media + Engineering and School of Art, respectively. and postdoctoral fellow at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College Center for the Art and Science of TeachingThe Center for the Art and Science of Teaching takes a novel approach to developing teachers of the future, recognizing that teaching doesn’t happen only in schools, but in homes, museums, workplaces and through all kinds of media. CAST’s goal is to develop teachers as designers, guides and advocates of good learning experiences whether they happen in or out of schools..

Four-channel video installation “A Very Long Line,” by Postcommodity

It’s not the first time borders have been a theme in the group’s work. In the group’s 2015 “Repellent Fence,” they used 26 giant balloons (pictured at the top of this story) to create a 2-mile line bisecting a portion of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Whitney Biennial runs begins in March in New York City. Follow Postcommodity at

Top photo courtesy of Postcommodity

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