Earthworks

Red Sand Project earthworks are large-scale, site-specific outdoor land art installations. Stretching hundreds of feet long in the shapes of political borders, earthworks raise important questions about migration, freedom of movement, and the ways refugees are susceptible to exploitation. They highlight the ways in which borders, drawn arbitrarily through history, divide communities and make individuals more vulnerable to trafficking.

Created by Molly Gochman, earthworks began in 2015 just as the polarizing, political rhetoric around immigration and the US-Mexico border started to reach a fever pitch. Considering ways to physically increase the scale of Red Sand Project, Molly sought to draw more attention to the ways in which the battles over the border were making already vulnerable populations even more susceptible to mistreatment and abuse. As public art installations, earthworks provide spaces for activists, community members, and others to question, connect and take action against vulnerabilities that can lead to human trafficking and exploitation.

Border US-MX, 2019, Seattle-Tacoma Airport

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The second Red Sand Project earthwork to be installed at an airport, it is visible from the air by planes taking off and landing into the airport, as well as by train from the Light Rail that passes by. At this site, viewers are able to walk up to the earthwork and see it in person, walking alongside the 350-foot long trench.

350 ft. x 2 ft.

47°26'57.3"N 122°17'52.5"W

Seattle, WA

Border US-MX, 2018, International Airport Houston

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The largest to date, this earthwork stretched 650 feet long and was installed for six months at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas. Visible from both the air and the ground, this red crack in the earth was seen by domestic and international passengers flying in and out of the airport.

650 ft. x 3 ft.

29°58'50.3 N 95°20'32.4 W

Houston, TX

Border US-MX, 2017, Tougaloo College

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In partnership with The Study of Modern-Day Slavery Institute and the Art Department at Tougaloo College, this earthwork was the first to be installed at a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). Still installed today, the earthwork has been the site of panels, conferences, and other convenings on modern-day slavery at Tougaloo College.

300 ft. x 2 ft.

32°24'13.9 N, 90°09'34.4 W

Jackson, MS

Border US-MX, 2015, Caroline Street

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The first Red Sand Project earthwork was created in response to the politicized rhetoric around migrant children crossing the border. Installed in Houston, Texas on Caroline Street, the earthwork used the visual language of Red Sand Project to identify the US-Mexico border as one giant crack that made people — especially children — vulnerable to exploitation.

215 ft. x 2 ft.

29°44'32.9 N, 95°22'20.0 W

Houston, TX