Oct 27, 2008

The Green Border Wall

The Mexican government is building a wall on their side of the border. Instead of being made of brick and mortar, like the proposed American wall, this one is made of trees—an environmental reserve about 30 feet wide and 600 miles long on the Texas border, a “green wall” to protect the Rio Grande from the roads and staging areas that smugglers use to ferry drugs and migrants across the frontier.

Oct 26, 2008

Hacktivists and Art Against Power

Hacktivistas y arte contra el poder / Hacktivists and art against power. A project by Ricardo Dominguez from the blog B.A.N.G. lab

Download pdf

Oct 24, 2008

photography and plaster over latex as records of manipulations and new readings arising.

milieu/ecology: In this field of connections and relationships implying interconnectedness; a system where the local and the global come into play absorbing or resisting external forces.
By manipulating this ecology, one can defamiliarize and reconfigure the distant plan. It is a new reading and understanding of space, extensions and potentials. As such, one discovers new components, other spatial localizations, axes, rights of passage and of defenses; there is a different way to measure distances, separations, etc. it is no longer a matter of precisely delineating, but of living, sculpting and adapting.

strategy vs. tactics: In this same manner one might make a parallel with the ay one truly experiences a city. We can refer to De Certeau, the new reading reflecting the "tactics" taken within the strategy. Michel de Certeau’s “strategy”, the aerial plan, fixed and determinant, yet disconnected and perhaps irrelevant with regards to the existing situation and psycho-geopgraphy. The “tactics”, the cognitive mapping that steps away from the geographical ad economic factors, and reflects the everyday, - temporal and nomadic; the psychogeography that redefines space. Guy Debord’s dérive.

The focus on representation:
Baudrillard states that technology, and communications have allowed for a deterritorialization of time and space, merging the boundaries between reality and representation.
Baudrillard’s simulacra… images, signs, and symbols replace reality; we live a simulation of reality rather than reality itself, we become reliant on simulacra; what is real and what is representation no longer matters.
The wall as simulacra: It’s polices and existence defined from a disconnected place. The wall can then be defined as hyper-reality, disconnected in its existence, deterritorialized from time and space, solely based on foreign strategies of fortification and enclave…The concept of the border can then move away from the idea of fortification and enclave, leading and focusing onto a world of everyday lived experiences and survival.
Informality- as a response to formal determinism.

Oct 22, 2008

Death Along the Border

hi guys-

this link is to a nytimes article discussing death along the border through rendering a personal account of one family's loss...

links to more border images


Oct 21, 2008


interview on KQED with Guillermo Gomez-Pena. Second half of hour on Forum with Michael Krasney. Definitely worth a listen while falling asleep/driving/studio-ing away

Tue, Oct 21, 2008 -- 10:00 AM

Art of Ancient Afghanistan / Guillermo Gomez-Pena
In the first half hour we discuss the cache of ancient Afghan art and artifacts featured in a new exhibit at San Francisco's Asian Art Museum. In the second half hour, performance artist and MacArthur Foundation grant recipient Guillermo Gomez-Pena joins us to discuss his latest piece, now showing at Theater Artaud in San Francisco. In the piece, Gomez-Pena uses the human body as a metaphor for the Bush administration's policies toward Iraq and Afghanistan.

Download audio (MP3)

Host: Michael Krasny


pretty much the same as the last article, but interesting to see the multi tiered coverage of this particular issue relating to the expansion of the fence and the impact it has on the interpersonal affairs of immigrants and border populations in general.

New Fence Will Split a Border Park

Through a border fence, Jacqueline Huerta touched her niece, Yisell Martinez, who was held by her sister, Rosalie Martinez.

At a time of tumult over immigration, with illegal workers routed from businesses, record levels of deportations, border walls getting taller and longer, Friendship Park here has stood out as a spot where international neighbors can chat easily over the fence. NY Times

Oct 9, 2008

some thought on the trip

border sensing: EL PASO-JUAREZ
adriana navarro

General informality: The post 9-11 discourse has lead the Pentagon to a strict redefinition of its border “Atlas”, re-conceptualizing the northern and southern hemisphere into “functioning core” and the “non-integrating-gap” respectively. It is precisely along the border that many of the most contested critical thresholds of the current socio-political geography exist. These are spaces that are much complex and cannot be defined by a simple dichotomy. They are spaces of overlaps and hybridization, spaces of flow with a constant exchange and interaction of bodies, work, materials, capital, law and politics, identities etc. In this regard, Michael Dear talks about transborder citizens; or the concept of a “Third Nation”.
This typical “socioeconomic and cultural osmosis” of the border regions lead to a set of inequalities that may be intensified by a tightening of restrictions. As such the development of informal settlements, also called “colonias” along the border, is not rare. The concept of the border can then move away from the idea of fortification and enclave, leading and focusing onto a world of everyday lived experiences and survival.
Informality- as a response to formal determinism.

The frontier: “We are the front line” . The conquest. Neocolonialism linked to the post-colonial mentality of the border? “La mision civilatrice”, the mission to civilize, to order and formalize the “Other”, resulting in hegemony, segregation, disparities, hierarchy, and perhaps even violence and criminalization.

The fence/wall: a “horrific beauty”. It is frightening to think of this particular fence as a beautiful object. It cuts and molds to the landscape, accentuating, challenging or mimicking the contours of the land; angular steel contrasting to the nature…yet one cannot ignore the power of the socio-political context surrounding. It is an object, defining and redefining boundaries…perhaps irrelevant in the psycho-geography already created. It is a contradiction in itself.
It follows a strict metering, layering and material gradation; different properties of transparency, different joints and connections.
It has a categorization: urban to urban or urban to rural, pedestrian, vehicles, visible or non-visible.
It transforms in height, length, porosity, and strength depending on various strategies. Depending on security and surveillance, the fence will become lighter, allowing light, sight and life to filter, framing but not blocking one side from the other.
It redefines a landscape on each side it delineates. A sectional difference accentuates the distinction to “the other”.
It is linear and infinite to the eyes, but stops.
It is impenetrable and imposing, yet opens with a key.
It is continuous yet can be perturbed.
It has vegetation growing on one side and spilling on the other. How is this defined? What exactly does this mean in the relationship between one and “the other”?
It is layered; sometime achieving 4 layer: mesh, panels, lights, cameras and humans…
The wall is to be notice on one side more than the other. Who’s wall is this?

The rituals:
-Surveillance: repetition, filtering, and intimidation. A clear demarcation of policing and control.
-Erasure: the land next to the fence is constantly smoothed and, wiped from any trace, only to find any new imprints.

Oct 5, 2008


While rereading portions of Rem Koolhaas' S,M,L,XL over the last few days, I was reminded of the relevance of his essay "Field Trip," written about visiting the Berlin Wall in the seventies, while finishing his architectural studies at the AA. On a level as simple as the title of our studio course (riffing on Rem's agenda of documenting "the Berlin Wall as architecture"?) and as complex as all the layers of use and implication, I have found the rereading of this essay illuminating for our current investigations.

See:    S,M,L,XL. Rem Koolhaas and Bruce Mau (New York: Monacelli Press, 1995). P215-232.

"[The wall] is 165 kilometers long and confronts all of  Berlin's conditions, including lakes, forest, periphery; parts of it are intensely metropolitan, others suburban.
"Also, the wall is not stable; and it is not a single entity, as I thought. It is more a situation, a permanent, slow- motion evolution, some of it abrupt and clearly planned, some of it improvised...."

oxbow lakes & the "living" border

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia::
An oxbow lake is a U-shaped lake water body formed when a wide meander from the mainstem of a river is cut off to create a lake. This landform is called an oxbow lake for the distinctive curved shape that results from this process. In Australia, an oxbow lake is called a billabong. By itself, the word oxbow can also mean a U-shaped bend in a river or stream, whether or not it is cut off from the mainstream.[1][2]
this is a pretty interesting phenomenon ron brought to my attention yesterday, and a few resources to further your understanding of it. did you guys get a chance to visit chamizal national memorial? at this site there are a couple of videos describing the surrounding political issues now and historically regarding a "living boundary" such as el rio. these short videos describe the disputes over territories as the river meandered over time, and chamizal to memorialize the resolution of some disputes between the us and mexico - a joint effort in ultimately physically MOVING the river. http://www.nps.gov/cham/historyculture/chamizal-history.htm

Oct 1, 2008

Art Against The Wall

Here's a quick article on art along the border wall from the slightly partisan blog, No Border Wall: