Border Control 2019 Symposium & Exhibition Report

About Border Control:

The Border Control Symposium took place at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan from September 19-22. The accompanying exhibition, Border Control: Traversing Horizons in Media Practice, was held at the Stamps Gallery from September 20 – November 11, 2019; it was guest curated by Allison Collins, Media Arts Curator at Western Front

The three-day event drew 150 attendees, with approximately 40 panels, artist presentations, creative walks, workshops, and exhibition events. Featured programming included a keynote address by Vinay Gupta, held in collaboration with the Penny Stamps Speaker Series; a plenary session titled “The Future of Creativity;” an exhibition tour led by the curators; and special panels such as Digital Detroit and the NMC Diversity Panel: Borders & Bodies. There was also plenty of good food and good conversation, as evidenced by our attendee feedback.


How do you navigate borders in your own practice or research? The New Media Caucus seeks to bring together artists and scholars to critically engage relevant topics. Borders and boundaries, both tangible and ephemeral, are closely tied to the ways in which humanity has always made sense of the world, and of its place in it. Our current moment is one in which this certainty is being undermined as many borders are being challenged and contested. Borders can be mental, physical, geographical, political, social, ethical, legal, economic, environmental, digital, real, imagined, visceral, and emotional.

Some of the processes calling contemporary borders into question include:

  • Climate change is rapidly collapsing even our most basic understanding of the world, as the ecosystems around us are transformed, shifted, and even extinguished at an unparalleled pace.
  • Accepted notions of demographic, political and economic boundaries are called into question by displaced populations and algorithmic filter bubbles.
  • Techno-scientific developments and new philosophical concepts challenge the separation of human from non-human life and intelligence.
  • Intersectional discourses which contest existing categorizations and hierarchies of gender, race, ability and class.
Programming Highlights
Programming Highlights

Border Control: Traversing Horizons in New Media Practice

Sponsors & Scholarships

Symposium Coordinating Committee & Contributors: