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Laurie McKenna


On July 12th, 1917 in Bisbee, Arizona the mining companies and the Sheriff armed over 2000 citizens and rounded up 1,196 striking miners and their supporters, marched them to the baseball park, loaded them onto cattle cars, and banished them to the desert of New Mexico. The strike was called by the IWW. The workers were accused of being subversives, unpatriotic and a threat to public safety.

The Undesirables installation involved deep research, gathering and making physical objects,  drawing, writing, publishing printed matter, video, projection and live performance.

While working on the Undesirables Laurie became a collaborator in the film Bisbee ’17 (released in 2018) directed by Robert Greene.



Premiere Central School Project Bisbee July 14, 2017

 2018 - Cornelius Projects, San Pedro, Ca

 2019 - Tohono Chul Park Gallery Tucson, Az., 

 2019 - Arizona History Museum Tucson. Az.

Presentation CQL Undesirables 2019 copy 2.007.jpeg

Laurie's 4 smashed penny designs double as pamphlet cover art

The Penny

smallest denomination of legal tender, copper, wages, profits, mining.

Penny Press

Smasher. replace bland and romantic messaging, smashing ruling class revealing radical history. Transforming, Souvenirs.


Rubbing the 1917 Penny

One for each man deported resulting in a commemorative wall: laborious act, gravestone rubbings, revealing lost history.

Flyers, handbills and pamphlets- the materials  historically used by political, labor and human rights organizers. posted and distribute in the 2 years of research leading up to the 100th anniversary of the Deportation.

Pennant - “Think It Over”

Pennants  usually signal what team you are on. Remove team-making.


Drawings and scripting: Transforming the photographic documentation of the Deportation. Capture key phrases and ephemeral declarations found through research. India ink, charcoal on paper.


Video: Toys of the era used as a cast to play out historic vignettes. On the fly storytelling. Cinematography: Jared Alterman, Editing: Kellan Marvin

The Fabrication of a penny press machine

These vending machines are located at the sites of tourist attractions and smash pennies imprinting them with images commemorating historical moments, industries, or locations. I have appropriated this machine to challenge its mainstream intentions. It vends 4 distinct embossments of my design. Most machines create a souvenir that carries little meaning.  My designs are counter to bland memorialization. The machine is like no other and was designed and built by Andrew Fairbank.




Luc Sante

Luc Sante was born in Verviers, Belgium. His most recent book is The Other Paris. His other works include Low Life, Evidence, The Factory of Facts, and Kill All Your Darlings. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Grammy (for album notes), an Infinity Award for Writing from the International Center of Photography, and Guggenheim and Cullman fellowships. He has contributed to The New York Review of Books since 1981 and has written for many other publications. He is a visiting professor of writing and the history of photography at Bard College and lives in Ulster County, New York.

Brian Frye

Brian L. Frye is the Spears-Gilbert Associate Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky College of Law. He teaches classes in civil procedure, intellectual property, copyright, and nonprofit organizations, as well as a seminar on law and popular culture.  He received a J.D. from the New York University School of Law in 2005, an M.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1997, and a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1995. 
Professor Frye is also a filmmaker. He produced the documentary Our Nixon (2013), which was broadcast by CNN and opened theatrically nationwide.


Elizabeth Henson, PhD

Research Associate University of Arizona History Department. 

Pamphlet: Los Flores Magon  contributor  to pamphlet covering radical Mexican leftists the Flores Magon brothers

Laurie McKenna

A pamphlet documenting Rosa McKay-   pro-labor  state legislator in 1917 for the Cochise County district. Her writing on Ras McKay has  been published in The International Worker and Cochise County Historical Journal 2017 


Jon Leidecker  contributed a loop for the Undesirables entitled Solace/Vexations. It is also used in the video vignettes and in performance.. Jon has been producing music under the name Wobbly since 1990, improvising with recordings to produce music which inherently questions the act of being captured. Recent performances deploy a battery of mobile devices driven by their built-in microphones, reacting spontaenously with error-prone yet intelligent variations on the notes and sounds they believe themselves to be hearing: a tightly-knit ensemble with inhuman reflexes, which the human performer influences more than controls. Currently touring and recording with Negativland and the Thurston Moore Ensemble, other live and studio collaborators include Zeena Parkins, Dieter Moebius & Tim Story, People Like Us, Matmos, Laetitia Sonami, Fred Frith's Gravity Band, Thomas Dimuzio, Porest, Tim Perkis & Xopher Davidson, Tania Chen, Sue C., The Freddy McGuire Show, Sagan and the Chopping Channel. Radio Web MACBA commissioned a nine hour podcast overview on the history of recorded collage music entitled 'Variations' in 2008, and related lectures have been presented at Mills, Oxford, Peabody, & Stanford. In 2015 he inherited Negativland's long-running Over The Edge radio program, broadcasting from KPFA FM in Berkeley.

Graphic Art Support

Bridget Shanahan Tucson Arizona

Penny Smasher engineer and fabricator

Andrew Fairbank 

Andrew  lives in New Hampshire and designed and fabricated the Penny Smasher long distance. Andrew is a side car motorcycle racer. He built two sidecar motorcycles for Matthew Barney's Cremaster 4 Guggenheim exhibition. The Penny machine incorporates a length of railroad track donated by local mining company.

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