Fibers found as environmental pollution in the Rio Grande.

All of them of synthetic compounds that completely affect the quality of the water and at the same time the micro-plastics that are released and are ingested by the fauna of the river including migratory birds / endemic species as well as the crops of the Valle de Juárez. not only fibers, including heavy metals) This type of pollution not only affects our region but also flows into the Gulf of Mexico-Atlantic Ocean.

New laws are required to commit to curbing this problem urgently. #elaguaesvida #enviromentalracism #riodevida #exploraciontextil


The racist policies in the border between México and USA have eroded from our collective memory the notion that the Rio Grande is a living organism. If we re-signify our concept of the river as one of our main sources of life and not as a territorial boundary between the two countries, perhaps many things could start to change.

The Rio_Arduino textile tuner aims to capture the song of the migratory birds that arrive each year to the Rio Bravo as the american nuns also known as “himantopus mexicanus” and transmit it through an textile arduino to a radio / web signal in real time. The device is made it with synthetic fibers found as waste in the Rio Bravo, cotton dyed with governor, cochineal and walnut, conductive threads, a microphone and some electronic devices with which the transmission is made possible.

The idea is to bring a space in which we can have an experience with the life of the species that pass through the river and get closer to the environmental issues that happen in this specific area and that are of the utmost importance to consider, such as the resource of water.

The problem of pollution in the Rio Bravo affects the health of the populations along the border on both sides and its effects flow into the Gulf of Mexico. Hundreds of plastics are threaten human life and species in this area .

In the construction of this textile device I have worked hand in hand with the engineer Aldo Portillo from FabLab who has taught me a little about electronics and he is the one who has made the tuner programming so that we can listen to the song of the birds in real time.

Rio Arduino

(Textile tuner, 2021)

Environmental protection + Textile tech

How environmental protection and textile tech creates new narratives / awareness through education and art in the Mexican-US Rio Bravo context?

Our planet is going through a climate change, racial, gender and political crisis. It is important to create new ways of relating to water, land, living entities, women, people of color. Also we have to create new ways of doing politics, we have to become aware of the devastation of the landscape and how is impacting in our lives because every little thing in this earth is interconnected.

Due to the voracious and predatory capitalism hundreds of species lose their habitats everyday in different latitudes due to forest fires, corruptive policies, pollution and big industries that dump their waste in the rivers and oceans of our planet.

It´s our responsibility as creative thinkers to seek new ways of producing design, art, technology, architecture, we must have to remember the ancestral populations who lived in complete harmony with nature and return in to our mother/pachamama connection in order to have clean air, clean water for next generations of humans and the diversity of species. We can shift this paradigm from our disciplines and our consumer practices.

Art has always been a medium that seeks to sensitize society and brings us closer to the issues that we live as humanity in different periods of history, it is a medium that through education we can change our narratives and observe everything in a different way.

Textiles have always been part of the history of humanity and the new technologies drive us to create new and interactive ways of consuming textiles.

So my proposal is to generate six pieces of contemporary textile art exploring different materials that can be an aesthetic, interactive and at the same time educational works in which the new generations and general audience can develop experiences that brings them/us closer to the problems of the planetary environmental issues and together create a dialogue of conscience and love around our planet.

I mainly visualize this project in museums, galleries, schools, libraries. As activities I see textile workshops and display documentation that can be consulted by users on websites.


Janette Terrazas Islas
(Rio Bravo, 2021)