Best Border Art
Lucy Petrovich's "Desert Views, Desert Deaths"
Petrovich's stunning installation meshing video and computer imagery was the star of the show at this year's Biennial. The artist used technological wizardry to make her piece a kind of giant computer game: Wielding a mouse, the viewer became a migrant struggling through a confusing--and dangerous--desert. On the scary soundscape, the buzzing of the cicadas sounded a little too much like a vulture for comfort. And the visuals were terrifying. Sharp-edged mesquites and thorny cacti, baked by a blistering sun, kept changing position and blocking the path of escape. White crosses marking the graves of the fallen came flying toward a viewer's head, followed by newspaper headlines bearing the names of the desert's real-life dead, the hapless migrants who perish every year in Arizona's heat.