187 Pairs of Hands

An installation concerning the polemic proposition 187 in California, 1996-1997. The proposition intended to limit the rights of undocumented workers and their families in the state of California. The piece displayed 187 black and white photographs of 187 different people doing everyday jobs in California. The photographs focused attention to the pairs of hands of mainly Latin American workers as they engaged in various labors within California. The work also contains a chair and a desk with a book screwed to its top, which contained the personal data of those photographed.
The photographic display was focused around a container with 3 rows of 8”x10” black and white images over 11”x14” metal plates installed flat over a spacer, 1 ” from the floor. Inside the container, were four sculptures represented the main sectors in which Latin American laborers, mainly Mexican, work in California. The criteria used to select the people to appear in the photos was the same that the INS would use to approach, question and request, any person’s legal documentation and residency status. This criterion is usually based on their physical appearance and ethnic characteristics.