Undocumented Migration Project/Hostile Terrain 94 Exhibition* : Home

Hostile Terrain 94 (HT94) is a participatory project organized by the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP), a non-profit research-art-education-media collective, directed by MacArthur Fellow and UCLA anthropologist Jason De León.
Last Updated: Mar 20, 2024 11:52 AM

The Project

The Hostile Terrain 94 exhibition comprises more than 3,200 handwritten toe tags that represent migrants who died trying to cross the Sonoran Desert of Arizona between the mid-1990s and 2019. Each toe tag lists the personal information of one such individual: one-by-one, these tags are geolocated on a wall map of the desert showing the exact locations where remains were found.

Between October 25, 2021, and January 11, 2022, RIT will host one part of a global pop-up installation that will take place simultaneously at a large number of institutions, both nationally and globally in 2021 and 2022. With volunteers, we will fill out the toe tags, install a large map, and pin the toe tags in an exhibit space in the hallway outside the University Gallery (2765 Booth Hall). In responses to evolving CDC guidelines, this exhibit will adhere to all social distancing guidelines while also providing ample space for quiet engagement, reflection, and conversation about the humanitarian crisis at our southern border. We highly recommend you visit this impactful. moving exhibit!

* This project is simultaneously supporting Professor Decker's course, MUSE 226: Cultural Heritage, and Professor Anthony Jimenez's course, SOCI-395 : Borders, Humans, and Empires.



Hostile Terrain 94 (HT94) is a participatory project sponsored and organized by the Undocumented Migration Project, a non-profit research-art-education-media collective, directed by UCLA anthropologist and MacArthur fellow Jason De León. The project draws attention to the humanitarian crisis at the US-Mexico border linked to policies of Prevention through Deterrence.

Undocumented Migration Project 

The Undocumented Migration Project is a long-term anthropological study of movement between Latin America and the United States. UMP is the group that organized the exhibition Hostile Terrain 94 exhibition.

Historical Memory Project

Based in New York City at the City University of New York (CUNY), Historical Memory Project (HMP) cultivates historical memory to memorialize victims of state-sponsored terror, raise awareness of historical injustices in Latin America and beyond, and foster our collective human rights memory. The group strives to connect with students, scholars, researchers, activists, and grassroots communities; they maintain  that the recovery of historical memory is an antidote to historical injustices. 

Supplemental Events & Activities

Witnessing and Remembering: Community Creation of the Hostile Terrain 94 Exhibition (Undocumented Migration Project)

Join us for one session or more! Volunteer Sign up - Google Sheets

In addition to the onsite installation, supplementary activities include:

We invite the RIT community to participate in our project by:

  • Participating in a toe-tag writing sessions or inviting groups of students to participate. These sessions will be in LBR-1251 (McKenzie Commons) on:

 -Sept. 1, 12-2p

 -Sept. 9, 12-2pm

 -Sept. 16, 12-2pm

-Sept. 30, 12-2pm

-Oct. 6, 12-2pm

-Oct. 13, 5-7 pm

-Oct. 14, 12-2pm

-Oct. 19, 5-7 pm

-Oct. 21, 12-2pm

-October 22 

    -9am - 12:30pm

     -12:30pm - 2pm (Dane Gordon Room, LBR-1202)              *** note different location

     -2pm- 4pm

  • Helping us install the exhibit in late October
  • Coming to view the map and participate in the augmented-reality experience
  •  Attending the film screening and reception with guest speaker.
  • Helping us spread the word and invite your friends in the Rochester region to participate in any of the above.

If you would like to be notified about upcoming events and activities, please email Professor Christine Kray, cakgss@rit.edu, and we will add you to our list.

Witnessing and Remembering: Community Creation of the Hostile Terrain 94 Exhibition (Undocumented Migration Project) - Join us for one session or more!


Sponsoring Professors

Juilee Decker

Email: jdgsh@rit.edu
Professor of History
Director Museum Studies Program

Christine Kray

Email: cakgss@rit.edu

Professor of Anthropology 

Director of the Sociology & Anthropology Program

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