HT94: Remembering Lives Lost Anthropology Project

"Toe-Tags." Photo by Alicen Arsenault.

Institutional Equity, Diversity & Inclusion; Galleries Co-Curricular; and the Anthropology Department for almost two years have been working on a long-term endeavor called HT94, a participatory art project sponsored by the Undocumented Migration Project, led by UCLA anthropologist Jason De León. Using IEDI funding, LB has purchased the raw materials needed to install the piece, which will look something like this, in the Calapooia Center Gallery. 

Thanks to the Galleries Co-Curricular Adviser Anne Magratten, the project received a $1500 Peace Initiative Grant for “contributing to peace education through cultivating empathy.”  Future plans bring another installation for early fall term 2022; The piece would remain in situ for the entire 2022-23 academic year. 

Each one of the toe tags in the image represents a body found at the latitude/longitude where it’s pinned to the map: the manila tags are IDed bodies, the orange ones unidentified, with approximately 3200 tags to be filled out. 

For well over a year, Anne Magratten, Anthropology faculty Lauren Visconti, Visual Arts faculty Isabelle Havet and the IEDI have been distributing these tags to as many LBCC students and employees as possible, seeking their assistance in filling them out. 

COVID-19 has not helped with logistics, as we had originally planned multiple on-campus events in the EDI to bring folks together to help. It’s a lot more difficult to mail or arrange pickup/dropoff of individual packets. To date, Anne estimates ~1500 toe tags have been completed, leaving a little more than half yet to be filled out.

There has been discussion of hosting several on-campus events next spring term, either outdoors (weather permitting) or indoors in the Forum or Commons Cafeteria, both of which would allow for physical distancing.  

In addition, the EDI have been working on logistics for another showing (streamed via web login and password) of Jason De León’s documentary Border South, which provides a comprehensive picture of this project and the folks most directly affected by U.S. immigration policies.  

The EDI hopes to provide a screening sometime this term, and plan to ask folks to pledge/sign up (Google Form) to fill out a number of toe tags.

The project calls for the Student Leadership Council’s help; Recruiting students to attend these events: viewing the documentary and filling out toe tags, both of which are extremely emotional and can trigger folks for a variety of reasons, not the least of which may be that they or their families and friends have experienced some form of this trauma. 

That being said, the project team feels strongly that this experience, and the resulting art installation, are important work and will be extremely valuable to our campus community.

Filling out “Toe Tags.” Photo by Alicen Arsenault
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