United States of North America, a fictitious passport, that joins the three NAFTA members’ passport heraldics: Canada, U.S.A. and México. This piece expands the boundaries of these individual countries, questions the concept of nation, reflects on the NAFTA treaty and raises a conversation about immigration. The Monarch Butterfly, known for its migrations between Canada and Mexico, is an emblematic representation of a nation without borders; a linked reference with people's multi-national, multi-generational migrations that are increasing  in today's global world in constant mobility.

Estados Unidos de Norte América (2009) es un pasaporte ficticio que une las heráldicas de los pasaportes de los tres países miembros del TLC: Canadá, USA y México. La pieza expande las fronteras de estos tres países individuales y cuestiona el concepto de nación, así mismo reflexiona sobre el TLC y lo complejo del tema migratorio. La Mariposa Monarca conocida por su migración entre Canadá y México, es la emblemática representación de una nación unificada y sin fronteras; una referencia que vincula las migraciones multinacionales y  multi-generacionales de personas alrededor de un mundo globalizado y en continuo movimiento.

Erika Harrsch 2009

United States of North America  ERIKA HARRSCH 2009 - 2010

Erika Harrsch suggests an American continent absent of geopolitical borders with her work United States of North America. She imagines a single unified realm encompassing the United States, Canada and Mexico, members of the North American Free Trade Agreement. To that end Harrsch has created an interactive installation whose centerpiece is an elaborately conceived passport. The passport features an original seal that combines symbols of the three countries and at its center, a monarch butterfly known for an epic annual migration between México and Canada, and a symbol of metamorphosis, freedom and hope. The interior pages contain texts on NAFTA, free trade, human rights and related topics, in place of visas and entry stamps. The passport itself is held in a vitrine, symbolizing its high value to an individual. Audience participation is essential to Harrsch’s installation. She invites viewers to spin a prize wheel for the chance to win a limited edition passport, a sardonic act connoting the lottery visas and the chance nature of illegal entry into the United States (one wheel segment contains the now-iconic silhouette of a running family, a symbol used on signage along the San Diego Freeway where immigrants have been struck by motorists) as well as the absurd logic of some immigration policies.

Elizabeth Ferrer, BRIC Contemporary Art Director.

United States of North America Installation 2009-10-11
With diferent participatory and games of chance elements, variable dimensions
The presence of the Monarch Butterfly subject opens up a dialogue on nationality, immigration and identity.
This installation has been part of the 798 Beijing Biennale 2009 at BTAP, China.
Status-Report at BRIC Rotunda Gallery Brooklyn NY,
PINTA art fair, solo artist project, NY 2009,
Lodz Biennale, Poland 2010.
Bellevue Arts Museum, WA, Travelers,Objects of Dream and Revelation, 2011


Borderless United States of North America -  ARTIST BOOK - WRITEN CONTENT

United States of North America (2009) is a fictitious passport that joins the three NAFTA members passport's: Canada, USA, and México. It is an alternative vision that relates to my personal experience of being an immigrant. This piece was Influenced by my traveling between Mexico and the U.S. for the last eight years, working on a four year project filming the sanctuaries of the Monarch butterfly (known for its migrations between Canada and Central Mexico) and the intricate circumstances immigrants go through in order to get a U.S. Visa or resident permit.

To create the cover image of the new passport, I joined the passport heraldics of the three countries. At the center the emblematic representation of the Monarch Butterfly, which belongs to the three nations, crossing freely without borders. All the symbols together form a distinctive badge of a nation, a new one unified and free.

"United States of North America" expands the boundaries of these individual countries, questions the concept of nation, raises a conversation about immigration and reflects upon the outdated and incomplete NAFTA treaty. The monarch butterfly follows a mysterious progression that takes several generations to complete, they take advantage of each nation’s landscape for its life purposes; a linked reference with people's multi-national, multi-generational migrations that are increasing more in today's global world. A world in constant mobility where more people from many different countries are mixing and the idea of  Nationality is diluting. We are no longer the Nation as it used to be, where citizens inhabiting the same territory were united by common descent, history, culture, or language.

Erika Harrsch