PERIPHERY was originally conceived during an artist residency program, an exchange between Mexican and Canadian writers and photographers, which initially transpired in Mérida, Yucatán, México and then continued at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada. The work that resulted from this experience is presented in two parts, one is a photo project that relates to the experience of displacement and is mostly informed by natural disasters: Hurricane Isidore, which hit the Yucatán peninsula in 2002, immediately before the first part of the residency began, and the fires that spread across the forests of southern British Columbia and Alberta immediately before the start of the second part of the program in the fall of 2003.

The photo project led to a collaboration with Canadian writer José Teodoro, which resulted into an accordion book entitled Cathedral (15cm x 3m), which was published in Mexico in 2005 with the support of FONCA-CONACULTA.

Cathedral, images by Laura Barrón/text by José Teodoro

011.   We are driving from Ticul to Mérida, along baked asphalt and against the dusk, in a rented Nissan, through the sweetly sexed breath of basil.  086. We are flying from Edmonton to Victoria on the sounds of pills, plastic and paper.   023. We are driving from Mérida to Campeche in the same car as before, passing a place named Poc Boc, the gauge needles laughing.   007. We are wading across Calle 55 to reach the harbour of the Cafeteria Edén, its translucent blue-green walls barnacled coffee sacks and apocalyptic leaks.   321. We are ferrying from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay to secretly rehearse a disregard for continent, decorum and escape.   199. We are walking lost through the deserts of San Luis Potosí, our heat-soaked consciousness streaming unaddressed dispatches under the shrivelled legs of the gobernadora.   030.  We are bussing from Mérida to Progreso to watch old trucks rattle down boardwalks into an invisible brown horizon.   008.  We are stumbling from the abandoned house to the midnight butchers with their white plastic boots, moustache badges, supplicant pigs, mono love songs and the pregnant dog that looks at me like she knows I am the Foreign One.   029.  We are climbing wooden stairs to the roof of a monolithic terracotta cathedral resting on the skirts of mummified children to the sound of gunshots, a handicapped church belt and an elderly ranchero band conjuring omen on a front porch while cook fires signal unseen others for supper from across the tangled shadows of the khaki jungle.   200. We are watching with trembling knees the trickle of goats between trees, through filters of cactus needles, phantom lightning impressing distance upon us.   017.  We are driving to the end of the road near Telchac Puerto, as far as we can go until the hurricane carves, carries and consumes the asphalt and the salt mines turn to red lakes, the lakes staining fowl who in turn stain sky.   102.  We are separating in terminals, twilight record scratches, exploded typewriter veins, styrofoam coffee cups, drained public pools, dormant tikki torches, broken windows and dial tones, the arc of a cheek in the landscape of a palm.    140. We are running in dreams, our backs ablaze with snow, from those we’ve forsaken. Those we’ve mangled in love, the collectors, the harvesters, the death knell of the past.   092.  We are objects adrift 35,000 ft. in the air, in the air-conditioned darkness beyond manageable time.   322. We are sleeping on the steady rumble cracked pavement.   024.  We are shadows on the sea.