At What Cost: Part II is an immersive corn maze installation by Salvadoran, Houston-based multidisciplinary artist Lorena Molina. With stalks sourced from Texas farms, Molina's corn maze installation creates the grounds for meditation on the immigrant experience, US imperialism, and access to safety and freedom.
Corn mazes are a common staple of agritourism, created by farmers to generate extra income and enjoyed for family fun in the fall months. There are much larger historical and political implications of this crop, however, as policies like NAFTA have forever changed corn farming in Latin America and caused an influx of immigration to the United States. The sensation of being disoriented or lost in a corn maze, Molina argues, is the sensation of immigration and diaspora. The way to and from is not always certain, and sometimes families, culture, languages, and histories can be lost on the way to a promise. The artist invites participants to use the maze as a site for meditation and contemplation of this experience, to honor the many places that people have left to be here. The center of the maze reveals the artist’s core considerations of the fragility of safety and freedom—who benefits from these ideas and who pays a high price for them.
Lorena Molina is an Assistant Professor of Photography and Digital Media at the University of Houston and founder of Third Space Gallery, a community space and gallery that supports and highlights BIPOC artists in Cincinnati.