DESCONOCIDA UNKNOWN UKJENT
A global mass collaboration, protesting continuing murders of women in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Approximately 8100 hand embroidered nametags (by may 2019). Each 2 x 8 cm, stitched by 5200 individuals in about 500 globally arranged workshops. Desconocida Unknown Ukjent is an international art project utilizing a mass collaboration, stitching name tags to protest the continuing murder of women in Ciudad Juaréz, Mexico, and in remembrance of similar crimes worldwide.
About Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
Since 1993, more than 2000 women have been brutally murdered, and hundreds have disappeared in Ciudad Juaréz. Explanations for the murders range from the use of women as prizes for drug cartels, domestic violence, and so-called sexual violence tourism. Many of the victims worked in the numerous sweat shops in Juaréz and the name tags inside their dust coats were often used to identify the decomposed bodies. Over the years, the Mexican Government has not been able to make actions that has solved the cases or prevented new from happening.The problem has instead been expanding and is now recognised all over Mexico. In Juarez, every week new names appear on the list of victims. Please see the map for more information.
Each participant in Desconocida Unknown Ukjent, embroiders two name tags; one with the name of a murdered woman in Ciudad Juarez, the other label with the word Unknown in the participants own language, memorizing victims of similar crimes globally. The project is democratic and open for all. The essence is the time each participant gives.
We all have a relationship with names – our name is the first thing we learn to write. To stitch the murdered woman’s name on a small piece of cloth is a physical act, time consuming, repetitious; an intimate experience. It is an act of care, in remembrance and of protest.
Initiating Desconocida Unknown Ukjent
I heard about the situation in Ciudad Juaréz for the first time in 2000 when I was living in Houston, Texas. At the end of 2005, the Station Museum of Contemporary Art in Houston, a museum that is dedicated to a political and social agenda, invited me to create a work dedicated to the women in Juarez, for the exhibition, Frontera 450.
At the time, I was living in Norway again and my immediate thought was to use the physical distance as a starting point for the work. I wanted to find a way to spread awareness about the horror happening in Cd. Juárez, and simultaneously enable a feeling of connection. In essence, abuse and murder of women are about us. It is something that has happened and continues to happen in every global society.
Norway (all over the country)
Help organizations in Juarez
VIDEOS ABOUT CD JUAREZ
Desconocida Unknown Ukjent has been exhibited widely. It is never shown without inviting the local community to participate embroidering labels and helping to install the work. The installation is site specific. The preferable format is a freestanding pink wall where the nametags are installed one and one, each held by a single sewing pin. The pink color is the same as the women in Ciudad Juaréz have chosen as their color of protest.
Desconocida Unknwon Ukjent continues to expand, sadly because new victims arrive each day on the list of murdered women in Ciudad Juaréz. The project will last as long as the situation there remains unchanged. The duration functions as a continuous remembrance and points to our reality where abuse and murders of women are something we cannot escape but have to continuously fight.
Lise Bjorne Linnert
Exhibiting Desconocida Unknown Ukjent:
- Hannah Ryggen Triennial 2019 – New Land, Nordenfjeldske
Kunstindustrimuseum, Trondheim, Norway, 2019
- Desconocida Unknown Ukjent, Liliput Gallery, Puebla, Mexico, 2018
- NI EN MORE, Kunstplass, Oslo, Norway 2018
- Desconocida Unknown Ukjent, shared between
Women Museum, Mexico City and UN High Commissioners Office,
for Human Rights, Mexico City, 2017
- Desconocida Unknown Ukjent, Juarez Contemporary, Ciudad Juarez,
Mexico and Rubin Center for the Visual arts, El Paso, USA, 2017
- The Common Thread – Sexual Violence against Women
in Contemporary Art, Regional court, Munich, Germany, 2015
- Remember Them, Victoria Gallery& Museum, Liverpool, UK, 2013
- An Oasis of Horror in a Desert of Boredom, VISUAL Centre for
Contemporary Art, Carlow, Ireland, 2013
- Desconocida Unknown Ukjent, , Musée Bernadotte, Pau, France, 2012-2013
- Contemporary Eye, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, UK, 2010-2011
- Desconocida Unknown Ukjent, Hå gamle prestegard,
Jæren, Norway, 2010
- Ni uná mas, The Leonard Pearlstein Gallery, Philadelphia, USA, 2010
- REALITY CHECK, Trondheim Senter for Samtidskunst,
Trondheim, Norway, 2010
- Off the Beaten Path. Violence, Women and Art, Stenersen museum,Oslo, Norway, 2009
- Desconocida Unknown Ukjent, The gallery at University for the Creative Arts, Epsom, UK, 2009
- Desconocida Unknown Ukjent, SOFT gallery, Oslo, Norway, 2008
- Luleå Summer Biennial, Passion of Mankind, Luleå, Sweden, 2007
- Frontera 450, Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston, Texas 2006