On Feb. 24, 2017, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), operating under the Trump administration, put forth a Request For Qualifications (RFQ) to build The Solid Border Wall Prototypes (concrete materials) and The Other Border Wall Prototypes (non-concrete materials). These were to be strong, 18'x30' high, resistant to pick axes, aesthetically pleasing on the U.S. side, and unscalable by humans.
On April 4, 2017 three artists and designers submitted a proposal to the government RFQ under the name JM Design Studio as a form of resistance and critique, with six original ideas including walls of hammocks, pipe organs, and lighthouses. Our proposal went viral with 10 others selected by the media, out of the nearly 400 submitted to CBP. That action was Phase One of our continuing resistance to "Trump's Wall". We are now in Phase Two, which includes the open call for public engagement detailed here.
The current project
Phase Two was announced on January 8, 2018 as the next chapter of our ongoing commitment against Trump's Wall. During Phase Two we have partnered with Flatland Gallery, in Houston, TX. Phase Two includes: a Request For Designs for the Other Border Wall, with all submissions due to us by email by May 31, 2018. Submissions received before Feb. 10, 2018, however, will be shown at Flatland Gallery in Houston, TX from Feb. 17 - March 30. Submissions received after that will continue to be added to the archive. At the end of the submissions period we will select the most creative and engaging designs to self-publish as a book.
During Phase 2, we will continue our ongoing commitment to the Other Border Wall project to remain engaged with the public imagination and our own creative visions during the xenophobic hysteria of the Trump administration. This includes the show at Flatland Gallery, the public Request for Designs, this website and our social media presence, continued media attention, presenting this work at the College Art Association conference in LA on February 24,
a published book at the conclusion of Phase Two, planning for Phase 3, and growing our international network with the movement against Trump's wall through other actions and artworks to be determined.
We greatly appreciate financial support from The Opportunity Fund through our fiscal sponsor Pittsburgh Filmmakers.
JM Design Studio is a collective of three independent artists and designers that formed in Pittsburgh in the early months of the Trump administration. The founding members are Tereneh Idia, eco-fashion designer of Idia'Dega; Leah Patgorski, artist and designer; and Jennifer Meridian, artist and filmmaker. They formed as a collective to respond specifically to Customs and Border Protection's Request for Qualifications for The Other Border Wall Proposals.
Our combined strength is rooted in our individual capabilities and successes. Tereneh Idia is an internationally based fashion designer and founder of Idia'Dega,a global eco-design collaboration with OMWA: Olorgesailie Maasai Women Artisans of Kenya and The Beading Wolves, an Oneida family of artisans. Leah Patgorski is an artist and designer working with sculpture and site-specific installations with textiles. Jennifer Meridian is a visual artist working with drawing, sculpture, and performance. Their work can be found here:
During Phase Two, we are partnering with David Janesko, an artist and the curator/director of Flatland Gallery in Houston.
We have also benefited from the research and planning assistance of Selina Lee, a student at Carnegie Mellon University.