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Mapping a Restless River at the U.S.-Mexico Border - CityLab
"In El Paso, we call it the Rio Grande; our neighbors in Juárez know it as Río Bravo. It’s supposed to be a national border, but the river had its own ideas."
maps  mapping  border  borders  us  mexico  texas  immigration  change  naturalhistory  riogrande  ríobravo 
15 hours ago by robertogreco
'Bees, not refugees': the environmentalist roots of anti-immigrant bigotry | Environment | The Guardian
“Recent mass shootings have been linked to ‘eco-xenophobia’ – part of a tradition that dates to America’s first conservationists”

[via: https://twitter.com/vruba/status/1162377768635490304

“This is an urgent, clear, and historically grounded warning about ecofascism. Please read it.

Parts of the far right are shifting from denying the environmental crisis to seeing it as a useful tool, something that makes fascism seem necessary.

One of the problems of a hyperpolarized political discourse is it makes it hard to see and deal with cross-polarity evil ideologies.

I’m very worried that most environmentally concerned Americans aren’t able to spot ecofascism yet. This @susie_c article is a good inoculation. Please share it.”]

[See also:

“The Menace of Eco-Fascism” by Matthew Phelan
https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/10/22/the-menace-of-eco-fascism/

“The Eco-Fascism of the El Paso Shooter Haunts the Techno-Optimism of the Left – Society & Space” by Jesse Goldstein
http://societyandspace.org/2019/08/08/the-eco-fascism-of-the-el-paso-shooter-haunts-the-techo-optimism-of-the-left/

“Eco-fascism: The ideology marrying environmentalism and white supremacy thriving online: The online movement has roots in neo-Nazism – and a violent edge worth taking seriously.”
https://www.newstatesman.com/science-tech/social-media/2018/09/eco-fascism-ideology-marrying-environmentalism-and-white-supremacy

“Why an Heiress [Cordelia Scaife May] Spent Her Fortune Trying to Keep Immigrants Out
Newly unearthed documents reveal how an environmental-minded socialite became an ardent nativist whose money helped sow the seeds of the Trump anti-immigration agenda."
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/14/us/anti-immigration-cordelia-scaife-may.html ]

[Related: a thread on Marin County from me following Charlie’s thread (above):
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/1162569089581084672

RE preceding series of RTs on ecofascism, here are two more references:

“The Eco-Fascism of the El Paso Shooter Haunts the Techno-Optimism of the Left” http://societyandspace.org/2019/08/08/the-eco-fascism-of-the-el-paso-shooter-haunts-the-techo-optimism-of-the-left/

“The Menace of Eco-Fascism”
https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/10/22/the-menace-of-eco-fascism/

When I think about this all, my mind goes just north of where I sit to the example I know the best.

“Marin County has long resisted growth in the name of environmentalism. But high housing costs and segregation persist” https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-marin-county-affordable-housing-20170107-story.html

“Confronting Marin’s problems with racism” https://marinij.com/2017/08/17/marin-voice-confronting-marins-problems-with-racism/

“The statehouse in Sacramento showcases dioramas for each California county. The diorama of Marin has no people, only beautiful redwood forests, ocean vistas and the San Rafael mission. +

“Why do we care so deeply for the environment, yet forget the indigenous people who are here now and have lived on this land for centuries? Aren’t our human resources in all their diversity just as important?”

Marin is the location of Muir Woods National Monument*, named after that very same John Muir mentioned in @susie_c’s article** (pointed to in preceding RT).

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muir_Woods_National_Monument
**https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/aug/15/anti

In even more recently *published* news from Marin: “A tiny Marin County school district “intentionally” segregated its students, corralling black and Latino children in an under-performing public school for years” https://sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/School-district-in-Marin-County-agrees-to-14293740.php + https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/09/us/sausalito-school-segregation.html

And just before that “White fragility and the fight over Marin County’s Dixie School District” https://www.hcn.org/issues/51.5/a-civil-conversation-white-fragility-and-the-fight-over-marin-countys-dixie-school-district

Marin Country has a population of about 261,000. It’s just one (close to me) example of a place where very fascist behaviors are carried out by self-proclaimed progressives (and liberals*).

*not always meaning the same thing to everyone, but often used to point to the left

There are small and large pockets of eco-fascists nearly (maybe?) everywhere, including major swaths in this “progressive” city, and all over the internet, of course.”]
eco-fascism  2019  susiecagel  environment  environmentalism  sierraclub  johnmuir  xenophobia  whitenationalism  johntandon  eco-xenophobia  conservationists  overpopulation  whitesupremacy  immigration  racism  eugenicism  border  borders  mexico  us  latinamerica  population  donaldtrump  georgewbush  tuckercarlson  conservationism  foxnews  elpaso  refugees  history  climatechange  conservatives  conservation  republicans  cordeliascaifemay  marin  marincounty  segregation  race  fauxgressivism  populationcontrol 
2 days ago by robertogreco
Class Day Lecture: Teju Cole - YouTube
[See also: https://www.harvardmagazine.com/2019/05/commencement-teju-cole ]

"The GSD has named Teju Cole as its 2019 Class Day speaker. Teju Cole is a novelist, essayist, photographer, and curator. His books include Open City, Blind Spot and, most recently, Human Archipelago. He has been honored with the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Internationaler Literaturpreis, the Windham Campbell Prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among many other prizes. His photography has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, and he was the photography critic of the New York Times Magazine from 2015 until 2019. He is the Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing at Harvard."
tejucole  2019  commencementaddresses  design  refugees  tonimorrison  fascism  patriarchy  whitesupremacy  oppression  complicity  power  doors  sandiego  borderfieldstatepark  friendshippark  border  borders  migration  immigration  us  mexico  tijuana  borderpatrol  humanism  grace  chivalry  hospitality  humans  kindness  commencementspeeches 
10 weeks ago by robertogreco
‘San Diego 2049’ offers a glimpse of possible futures - San Diego CityBeat
"AI presidents and VR border workers are envisioned at the yearlong UC San Diego program"



"A local needs to get to their job taking care of a wealthy La Jolla socialite who plans to “go under” for a lengthy stay in virtual reality. But they can’t get to that job because the dedicated scooter lane on Interstate 5 has been compromised due to flooding. To make matters worse, the collective AI who was just elected the U.S. president hasn’t yet announced his (her? its?) infrastructure-funding plan.

Welcome to San Diego in 2049, as imagined by students and affiliates of UC San Diego. The yearlong program, known simply as “San Diego 2049,” is an exercise in “speculative design for policy making,” according to organizers. It is sponsored by the UCSD’s Center for Human Imagination and just wrapped up with its culminating event: A competition between three teams of graduate students tasked “to design a vision for the San Diego border region in 2049 and create an intervention into that future.”

If the submissions to the competition are any indication, the future of the San Diego region is inextricably linked to the future of the rest of the planet. Noted the event’s keynote speaker and best-selling science fiction author, Kim Stanley Robinson, “You can’t talk about the fate of San Diego 30 years from now without talking about the fate of the rest of the planet 30 years from now. It’s a global fate and there’s no such thing as a pocket utopia.”

Robinson, a UC San Diego alumnus, should know. He’s the winner of the trifecta of literary science fiction prizes (the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards) and an expert at world-building, one of the three criteria for the student competition. The other two criteria are “rhetorical strength of the intervention” and “successful realization of the intervention within its given medium” (it is academia, after all).

The results of this theoretical exercise in world-building could be summed up by what Robinson described as an “attenuated peninsula.”

“We’re going to fall one way or another,” he added. “We can either fall into a mass extinction event caused by human action, or we can rally our resources and our expertise and our community and grow together a quite prosperous and glorious future.”

Somewhere in between lies the student submission known as “Fronteras”, a choose-your-own-adventure-style game created for the online platform Twine by a team of UCSD graduate students in varying departments. The game imagines the San Diego border region as a technological playground, an amalgam of “the tourism, caregiving and transportation industries changing immigration policy driven in part by climate change,” said Literature Ph.D. student Jeanelle Horcasitas.

In the game, people called “transfronterizas” are able to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, but only if they are VR workers who take care of the bodily needs of “patrons” while they’re immersed in idyllic virtual reality worlds. Meanwhile, ContraVR radicals have begun meeting at the putrid beaches of Baja California, wearing Aztec-style masks to protect themselves from toxins. The radicals are planning to infiltrate SeAR, a virtual reality version of Sea World.

Whether there will even be beaches and sea ports in San Diego 30 years from now is still up for debate. Robinson noted that even with a five-centimeter sea-level rise, “the beaches will be in deep trouble, and with a one-meter rise, they’ll be gone.” As research for one of his novels, Robinson said he consulted with geoengineers to determine if excess water could be pumped back onto sea ice using oil industry pumping technology (an irony that tickles him, he admitted).

And it can be done, he said. There’s just one catch.

“It would take 10 million windmills and use seven percent of all electricity generated worldwide,” Robinson said.

“This is one way of saying this is a fantasy,” he added. “It’s not going to happen, and that’s true of many geoengineering ideas.”

One solution, according to Robinson’s geoengineering sources, might be to drill through the remaining ice and pump the water out until the glaciers bottom out on rock and slow down again, preventing their slide into the ocean. He proposed that the U.S. Navy (a major employer in San Diego) and all the world’s militaries should “shift their wars on nation states to helping people” instead.

But that requires leadership. Intelligent leadership. So what’s more intelligent than artificial intelligence?

That’s the conceit behind “The Intelligent Governance Network”, a second student project (and the winner of the San Diego 2049 competition). It begins from the premise that a massively crowd-sourced artificial intelligence becomes President of the United States 30 years from now. Among the website’s elements is an excerpt from a televised debate between human and AI presidential candidates in 2049.

“We are able to use the wisdom of the crowd in the best way imaginable and grow together as one,” claims the fictional IGN candidate (which looks a little like a fire hydrant with a brain). “The idea of strong leaders is an idea that has led to countless wars and an endless amount of suffering… The time has come for humans to fully trust in the altruistic infrastructure that the Intelligent Governance Network was built on.”

But will San Diegans be motivated to trust in leadership and make the changes necessary to protect the world as we know it? The students behind the third project, Goose and Gander, seem to have their doubts. Inspired by satirical and absurdist approaches to speculative design, students James Bruce and Joaquin Reyna wrote a work of short fiction that imagines a world where people are motivated to address pressing social concerns in order to protect their most cherished belonging: A goose. In their world, waterways are protected to provide habitats for geese, and transportation is improved because it’s better for the planet, and therefore better for the geese.

“We wanted to make a really annoying satire,” admitted student James Bruce, “and the premise is that a lot of policy is based on the stupidest reasons.” Noting the move toward wide-scale implementation of self-driving cars, for example, Bruce pointed out that among the touted benefits of a self-driving car is that it “lets you not have to worry about driving and talking to the person next to you.”

“Yeah, we have that already,” he pointed out. “It’s called a bus.”

One thing everyone at the San Diego 2049 seemed to agree on was, in Robinson’s words, “we’re in the fight of our lives” when it comes to addressing the challenges of San Diego 30 years from now.

“California is in a good position to lead the way,” he added. “It has the political will to do the right things. I see such an amazing number of skillful creative collaborative people working together, and UC San Diego is one of the greatest intellectual centers on this planet. When I come here, I see this place and I think it could happen.”

And, as Robinson pointed out, it’s important to remember that “at every moment in history what humans were facing was unprecedented.”

“Maybe that doesn’t make us particularly unusual. What I can say is what we’re facing is more unprecedented than ever before.”"
sandiego  ucsd  specialization  designfiction  speculativedesign  2049  border  borders  us  mexico  2019 
11 weeks ago by robertogreco
‘With or Without You’: Naturalising Migrants and the Never-Ending Tragedy of Liberalism | Salvage
"To be homeless is to be nameless. He. The existence of a migrant worker.

John Berger

*

The One Day Without Us campaign was launched in the UK in October 2016 ‘in reaction to the rising tide of post-Brexit street- level racism and xenophobia’ and, according to its website, ‘the divisive and stridently anti-migrant rhetoric emanating from too many politicians that has accompanied it.’ It held its target protest day on Monday 20 February 2017. ‘At a time when the political discussion about migration too often depicts a false narrative of “us versus them”, and when migrants are too often excluded from a debate that is supposedly about them, we wanted to provide an opportunity for migrants and British nationals to come together and celebrate the vital role that migrants play within their own communities.’ The campaign thus aimed to showcase a variety of pro-migrant sentiment and action across the UK. At my workplace, students and staff were encouraged to write on Post-its pinned to a map of the world their messages of support and solidarity, and what migrants meant to them. In other workplaces, one particularly striking message passing on social media emerged from a series of pictures of people contrasting what their work cohort looked like with and without migrants.

Emphasising how many migrants constitute our workforce and everyday life is a helpful way to create a contrast between the rhetoric of anti-immigration politics and the reality of migrant integration. Yet numbers are also threatening to some when imagined through The Sun-fuelled metaphors of hordes, swarms, and floods of monsters, coming here, taking our jobs. In its more extreme forms, the vocabulary of anti-immigration rhetoric shifts between the registers of environmental disaster to war and crusade. Against this, the One Day Without Us actions send out a powerful message of solidarity by numerically performing the sudden disappearance of the migrants amongst us to conjure up a bond that feels increasingly unbound."



"Specifically, it seems logical to this ideology that where and to whom one is born should determine what resources and conditions one should survive in – justified legally by the respective principles of ius solis and ius sanguinis for determining nationality rights. The anti-immigrant rhetoric in most European countries today reinforces and restricts these principles. However, in other contexts such as North America, as Jessica Evans reminds us, indigenous peoples are ‘internal outsiders with a prior claim to both jus solis and jus sanguinis’ and yet ‘access to the state and to the right for a state of their own’ remains denied to them. In both contexts, however, xenophobic and exclusionary rhetoric finds refuge in the cataclysmic sense of emergency where everybody is meant to accept that the world is dying, resources are limited and cannot be shared, and, crucially, (European) Christian culture is threatened. Thus, people should stay where they are and deal with the lot they were given, whether this means war, famine, persecution, discrimination, colonial theft and trauma, unemployment, lack of healthcare, and more. What this implies is the erosion of the principle of solidarity. Although this principle, when coupled to Western liberal ideals, has often led to the worst of liberal interventionism’s civilising missions, it remains a cornerstone of basic human decency and co- existence, and of socialist politics. It therefore must be protected from European liberalism’s securitisation, retrenchment and paranoia.

Thus, the ‘with and without us’ message signals the challenge of this tragic yet never-ending liberalism, which, like the narrator character in the U2 song ‘With or Without You’, threatens to die but remains loudly and infuriatingly alive and dominant. Liberalism is currently deemed at risk by the advance of the far right; as critics of liberalism, should we not be rejoicing? No, because what is really at risk is not liberalism, but the principle of solidarity that some liberalism contains. Instead of dying, liberalism is merely becoming more and more securitised and economically ‘rational’. The principle of solidarity is trapped in the farcical tragedy of liberalism’s never-ending schizophrenic dance-off to two different songs; trying to cleave to its ideal of harmonious economic migration and human- rights discourse on one hand, and its need for retaining and cajoling the interests of state and capital through cheap labour and border controls on the other.

In ‘With or Without You’, Bono is wailing, taunting us with despair and the threat of death because the subject of his love brings him both joy and pain. He personifies today’s dominant ideology, asking migrants to stay and save liberalism’s soul, while complaining of how they threaten it, justifying the need to exploit them, detain them or kick them back into the equivalent of outer- space. Economic liberalism maintains and reproduces a moral discourse of righteousness and an institutional façade of human rights. Nevertheless, it must be rejected in toto because it necessarily also furthers a policy agenda of fear and social hierarchy that fills up the pockets of employers and fuels the growing migration security agenda and industry. Sonja Buckel captures this relation well when explaining that ‘managing migration’ means that ‘neoliberal open-border politics has been interwoven with a left- liberal humanitarian and human rights strategy, while also needing to make concessions to the conservative project’. Thus, she writes, ‘what is currently happening with the immigration crisis is not a crisis of neoliberalism. Instead, “managing migration” remains effective’.

The left can of course be co-opted into this management of migration, and this calls for vigilance towards instances when we see these categories and subjectivities being invoked and performed. To teach migration from a more critical perspective is to acknowledge and disturb our role as ‘educators’ or conductors of these categories and subjectivities. This means, firstly, to teach the origins of migration as a process tied to the commodification and value theory of labour, where workers are necessarily ‘moving- workers’ but have been alienated to only identify as national citizens or ‘bordered-workers’; and secondly, to rethink on a basic level how we are all necessarily migrants under capitalism.[2]"



"Specifically, it seems logical to this ideology that where and to whom one is born should determine what resources and conditions one should survive in – justified legally by the respective principles of ius solis and ius sanguinis for determining nationality rights. The anti-immigrant rhetoric in most European countries today reinforces and restricts these principles. However, in other contexts such as North America, as Jessica Evans reminds us, indigenous peoples are ‘internal outsiders with a prior claim to both jus solis and jus sanguinis’ and yet ‘access to the state and to the right for a state of their own’ remains denied to them. In both contexts, however, xenophobic and exclusionary rhetoric finds refuge in the cataclysmic sense of emergency where everybody is meant to accept that the world is dying, resources are limited and cannot be shared, and, crucially, (European) Christian culture is threatened. Thus, people should stay where they are and deal with the lot they were given, whether this means war, famine, persecution, discrimination, colonial theft and trauma, unemployment, lack of healthcare, and more. What this implies is the erosion of the principle of solidarity. Although this principle, when coupled to Western liberal ideals, has often led to the worst of liberal interventionism’s civilising missions, it remains a cornerstone of basic human decency and co- existence, and of socialist politics. It therefore must be protected from European liberalism’s securitisation, retrenchment and paranoia.

Thus, the ‘with and without us’ message signals the challenge of this tragic yet never-ending liberalism, which, like the narrator character in the U2 song ‘With or Without You’, threatens to die but remains loudly and infuriatingly alive and dominant. Liberalism is currently deemed at risk by the advance of the far right; as critics of liberalism, should we not be rejoicing? No, because what is really at risk is not liberalism, but the principle of solidarity that some liberalism contains. Instead of dying, liberalism is merely becoming more and more securitised and economically ‘rational’. The principle of solidarity is trapped in the farcical tragedy of liberalism’s never-ending schizophrenic dance-off to two different songs; trying to cleave to its ideal of harmonious economic migration and human- rights discourse on one hand, and its need for retaining and cajoling the interests of state and capital through cheap labour and border controls on the other.

In ‘With or Without You’, Bono is wailing, taunting us with despair and the threat of death because the subject of his love brings him both joy and pain. He personifies today’s dominant ideology, asking migrants to stay and save liberalism’s soul, while complaining of how they threaten it, justifying the need to exploit them, detain them or kick them back into the equivalent of outer- space. Economic liberalism maintains and reproduces a moral discourse of righteousness and an institutional façade of human rights. Nevertheless, it must be rejected in toto because it necessarily also furthers a policy agenda of fear and social hierarchy that fills up the pockets of employers and fuels the growing migration security agenda and industry. Sonja Buckel captures this relation well when explaining that ‘managing migration’ means that ‘neoliberal open-border politics has been interwoven with a left- liberal humanitarian and human rights strategy, while also needing to make concessions to the … [more]
capitalism  migration  border  borders  citizenship  2017  maïapal  nationalism  race  racism  immigration  canon  liberalism  frédériclordon  johnberger  onedaywithoutus  neoliberalism  sandromezzadra  policy  politics  economics  identity  division  marxism  subjectivity  mobility  containment  society  migrants  immigrants  jessicaevans  indigenous  indigeneity  outsiders  accumulation  materialism  consumerism  jeffreywilliamson  sonjabuckel  security  industry  humanrights  humanitarianism  ideology  labor  work  territory  territorialism  colonization  west  xenophobia  naturalization  sovereignty  globalization  globalism  slavery  servitude  war  environment  climatechange  climate  globalwarming  colinmooers  supremacy  backwardness  davidharvey  jasonmoore  dereksayer  structure  agency  whitesupremacy  criticalpedagogy 
march 2019 by robertogreco
Diary: Octavio Solis, Saturdays in Juárez
"Playwright Octavio Solis grew up just a few miles from the Mexican border in El Paso, Texas. Join him as he remembers his Saturday visits with his family to neighboring Juárez."
border  borders  elpaso  texas  juárez  mexico  us  octaviosolis  memories  memory  2018 
january 2019 by robertogreco
‘Has Any One of Us Wept?’ | by Francisco Cantú | The New York Review of Books
"The dehumanizing tactics and rhetoric of war have transformed the border into a permanent zone of exception, where some of the most vulnerable people on earth face death and disappearance on a daily basis, where children have been torn from their parents to send the message You are not safe here, you are not welcome. The true crisis at the border is not one of surging crossings or growing criminality, but of our own increasing disregard for human life. To describe what we are seeing as a “crisis,” however, is to imply that our current moment is somehow more horrifying than those that have recently set the stage for it—moments that, had we allowed ourselves to see them and be horrified by them, might have prevented our arrival here in the first place.

In an essay examining the omnipresence of modern borders and the immigration crisis in the Mediterranean, British journalist Frances Stonor Saunders argues that documents such as passports and visas are central components to how our society values and recognizes human life.2 “Identity is established by identification,” Saunders writes, “and identification is established by documenting and fixing the socially significant and codifiable information that confirms who you are.” Those who possess such documentation possess a verified self, “an identity, formed through and confirmed by identification, that is attested to be ‘true.’”"



"When the violence of our institutions is revealed, when their dehumanizing design is laid bare, it can be too daunting to imagine that we might change things. But what I have learned from giving myself over to a structure of power, from living within its grim vision and helping to harm the people and places from which I came, is that even the most basic act of decency can serve as the spark that will lead one back toward humanity, and even the most basic individual interaction has the power to upend the idea of the “other.” Heeding even these small impulses can serve as a means of extricating ourselves from systems of thought and policy that perpetuate detachment, even in spite of all the mechanisms that have been devised to make us believe in individual and nationalistic self-interest. As obvious as it might seem, to truly and completely reject a culture of violence, to banish it from our minds, we must first fully refuse to participate in it, and refuse to assist in its normalization. When we consider the border, we might think of our home; when we consider those who cross it, we might think of those we hold dear."
franciscocantú  border  borders  us  mexico  2019  borderpatrol  humanism  humanity  policy  politics  donaldtrump  migration  refugees  violence  vi:sarahpeeden  power  detachment  nationalism  individualism  self-interest  decency 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Reece Jones on Twitter: "New to the issue of violent and inhumane borders? Many authors have been writing about this for years. Here are some of the key books on the topic THREAD 1/"
"New to the issue of violent and inhumane borders? Many authors have been writing about this for years. Here are some of the key books on the topic THREAD 1/

Undoing Border Imperialism (2013) by @HarshaWalia connects immigration restrictions with settler colonialism arguing both are tools of repression 2/
https://www.akpress.org/undoing-border-imperialism.html

Boats, Borders, and Bases: Race, the Cold War, and the Rise of Migration Detention in the United States (2018) by @AlisonMountz and @mobilarchiva looks at the rise of migrant detention 3/
https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520287976/boats-borders-and-bases

The Land of Open Graves (2016) by @jason_p_deleon is an excruciating read about deaths at the US-Mex border 4/
https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520282759/the-land-of-open-graves

The Devil's Highway (2004) by @Urrealism is the classic on the danger of crossing the border 5/
http://luisurrea.com/books/the-devils-highway/

Border Patrol Nation (2014) by @memomiller explains how immigration enforcement became the big business that it is 6/ http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100874610&fa=author&person_id=16890

Walled States, Waning Sovereignty 2nd edition (2017) considers why so many countries are building walls now 7/
https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/walled-states-waning-sovereignty

My book Violent Borders (2016) argues that enforcing a border is an inherently violent act that is about protecting economic and cultural privilege 8/
https://www.versobooks.com/books/2516-violent-borders

Any other suggestions for important books on violent and inhumane borders? 9/

The Politics of Borders (2017) by @matthewblongo
https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/politics-of-borders/C5FC44039DE284A9FC438F55048B27F1

The New Odyssey (2017) by @PatrickKingsley
http://books.wwnorton.com/books/The-New-Odyssey/

Expulsions (2014) by @SaskiaSassen
http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674599222

Operation Gatekeeper and Beyond (2010) and Dying to Live (2008) by @jonevins1
https://www.routledge.com/Operation-Gatekeeper-and-Beyond-The-War-On-Illegals-and-the-Remaking/Nevins/p/book/9780415996945

Lights in the Distance (2018) by @trillingual
https://www.panmacmillan.com/authors/daniel-trilling/lights-in-the-distance/9781509815616 "
reecejones  borders  border  violence  books  readinglists  imperialim  coldwar  race  migration  immigration  us  geopolitics  mexico  bordercrossings  politics  policy  history 
september 2018 by robertogreco
Harvest of Empire – Harvest of Empire
[Available on YouTube, for now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyncOYTZfHE ]

[See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvest_of_Empire:_A_History_of_Latinos_in_America ]

"The Untold Story of Latinos in America

“We are all Americans of the New World, and our most dangerous enemies 
are not each other, but the great wall of ignorance between us.”
Juan González, Harvest of Empire

At a time of heated and divisive debate over immigration, Onyx Films is proud to present Harvest of Empire, a feature-length documentary that reveals the direct connection between the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and the immigration crisis we face today.

Based on the groundbreaking book by award-winning journalist and Democracy Now! Co-host Juan González, Harvest of Empire takes an unflinching look at the role that U.S. economic and military interests played in triggering an unprecedented wave of migration that is transforming our nation’s cultural and economic landscape.

From the wars for territorial expansion that gave the U.S. control of Puerto Rico, Cuba and more than half of Mexico, to the covert operations that imposed oppressive military regimes in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador, Harvest of Empire unveils a moving human story that is largely unknown to the great majority of citizens in the U.S.

As Juan González says at the beginning of the film “They never teach us in school that the huge Latino presence here is a direct result of our own government’s actions in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America over many decades — actions that forced millions from that region to leave their homeland and journey north.”

Harvest of Empire provides a rare and powerful glimpse into the enormous sacrifices and rarely-noted triumphs of our nation’s growing Latino community. The film features present day immigrant stories, rarely seen archival material, as well as interviews with such respected figures as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchú, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Díaz, Mexican historian Dr. Lorenzo Meyer, journalists María Hinojosa and Geraldo Rivera, Grammy award-winning singer Luis Enrique, and poet Martín Espada."
film  documentary  us  history  immigration  latinamerica  puertorico  mexico  guatemala  honduras  juangonzález  cuba  nicaragua  elsalvador  rigobertamenchú  jessejackson  anthonyromero  junotdíaz  lorenzomeyer  maríahinojosa  geraldorivera  2011  martínespada  luisenrique  dominicanrepublic  latinos  imperialism  politics  policy  foreignpolicy  braceros  wwii  ww2  civilrights  race  racism  migration  communism  redscare  centralamerica  caribbean  colonialism  socialism  capitalism  fidelcastro  rafaeltrujillo  spanish-americanwar  inequality  exploitation  sugar  cotton  revolution  resistance  fulgenciobatista  dictatorships  oppression  deportation  texas  california  newmexico  arizona  mexican-americanwar  nevada  colorado  florida  nyc  óscarromero  harrytruman  democracy  jacoboárbenz  unitedfruitcompany  eisenhower  cia  intervention  maya  ethniccleansing  land  ownership  civilwar  iran-contraaffair  ronaldreagan  sandinistas  contras  war  bayofpigs  refugees  marielboatlift  1980  jimmycarter  language  spanish  español  miami  joaquínbalaguer  hectortruji 
july 2018 by robertogreco
How Crossing the Border Became a Crime
"He believed the US “should absolutely bar from our shores all races which are not naturalizable under the law of the land and all individuals of all races who are physically, mentally, morally, and spiritually undesirable.” He advocated “selective immigration,” “so that America may not be a conglomeration of racial groups […] but a homogeneous race striving for the fulfillment of the ideals upon which this Government was founded.” He supported “scientific testing” of immigrants in their home countries. His was a purely eugenicist approach to immigration. And some of his rhetoric is shamefully reminiscent of modern Republican rhetoric on immigration: He described immigrants’ harrowing stories of persecution in Europe as “sob stories,” saying “these ‘sob stories’ and especially European propaganda with which the country has lately been flooded are simply designed to break down the 3 per cent restriction immigration law.”

In 1929, Sen. Coleman Blease proposed an immigration act that would criminalize illegal entry, and it was passed that March. As Ian McDougall wrote for ProPublica this month, Blease saw Davis’ idea of criminalizing illegal entry as “a way to advance his vision of a white America.” (Blease was a rabid white supremacist, who defended lynching and introduced a constitutional amendment to punish individuals who engaged in interracial marriage.) The bill made it punishable by a $1,000 fine or imprisonment of up to two years to re-enter the United States after having been deported, and made illegal entry a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year.

As the historian Kelly Lytle Hernandez argues, while the law would affect any immigrant who entered illegally, it was specifically intended “as a measure to control and punish unlawful Mexican immigrants.” It did not make illegal presence a crime, a distinction which lasts to this day. It did so, according to Hernandez, to respect court precedent: in Wing Wong v. United States, the court had ruled that “the detention of non-citizens was valid only to facilitate the ‘expulsion of aliens.’” Criminalizing unlawful presence was tricky, but criminalizing illegal entry could have the same desired effect: of deterring the kind of immigrants white America didn’t want."
racism  us  law  border  borders  immigration  migration 
june 2018 by robertogreco
City of Exiles — The California Sunday Magazine
"Every month, thousands of deportees from the United States and hundreds of asylum-seekers from around the world arrive in Tijuana. Many never leave."
tijuana  sandiego  cities  refugees  border  borders  us  mexico  2018  deportation  asylum  danielduane  yaelmartínez 
june 2018 by robertogreco
A new U.S.-Mexico border? At the Venice Biennale, imagining a binational region called MEXUS
"As part of their research into watersheds, Cruz and Forman have created an inventory of public lands in Los Laureles that can serve multiple purposes — as green space, environmental education center and natural buffers to mitigate flows of waste. And they are working to see how they can create a mechanism to invest in those spaces so that they might be preserved.

“Instead of the investing in the wall,” says Cruz, “can we invest to get the poor settlement to regulate the flow of waste? Can we get the poor residents to take care of the rich estuary?’

The subjects are tricky, but in these types of projects, Zeiger says she sees plenty of optimism.

“In architecture, if we don’t allow ourselves to visualize a condition that is different than the current condition, then we really cut off how we will impact the future,” she says.

For Forman, that consists of fomenting a new type of border culture.

“Citizenship,” she says, “is not an identity card. It’s about coexisting and building a city together.”"
teddycruz  fonnaforman  carolinamiranda  border  borders  us  california  mexico  sandiego  tijuana  texas  arizona  newmexico  2018  venicebiennale  architecture  citizenship  politicalequator  geography  geopolitics  mimizeiger  annlui  afrofuturism  architects  mexus  walls  nature  watersheds  land  maps  mapping  territory  ybca 
may 2018 by robertogreco
Mapping Who Lives in Border Patrol's '100-Mile Zone' - CityLab
"All of Michigan, D.C., and a large chunk of Pennsylvania are part of the area where Border Patrol has expanded search and seizure rights. Here's what it means to live or travel there."
border  borders  us  mexico  2018  tanvimisra  checkpoints  civilrights  lawenforcement  policing  military  militarization  borderpatrol  california 
may 2018 by robertogreco
Maps | Kenneth D. Madsen
"U.S. Border Barriers

California .jpg .pdf
– Kelly San Diego waiver 8/2/17 .jpg .pdf
– Duke Calexico waiver 9/12/17 .jpg .pdf

Arizona .jpg .pdf

New Mexico & West Texas [coming soon]
– Nielsen Santa Teresa waiver 1/22/18 .jpg (map only) .pdf (w/ photos & waiver text) [updated 2/6/18]

Texas [coming soon]

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Waivers

Comparison of all eight legal waivers to-date .jpg .pdf [updated 2/8/18]

Note that mileage calculated from maps created prior to Dec. 2017 (i.e. CA & AZ maps above and summary handout below) over-estimate actual distances due to a projection error. Percentages are still largely correct, however. Corrected maps are forthcoming.

summary handout 8.5″ x 11″ .pdf"
kennethmadsen  borders  border  california  mexico  us  texas  arizona  newmexico  sandiego  calexico  geopolitics 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Is it inspired or irresponsible to call Donald Trump's border wall prototypes ‘art’?
"We reach the intersection of Cuahtémoc Norte and Juventud Oriente, where a small roundabout serves as memorial to those who have died crossing the border. A European curator who is working with Büchel on the prototypes project — but who declines to go on the record — points out the memorial to the group.

I ask her and Diers whether they had ever visited Tijuana before working on Büchel's prototypes project. Neither had.

Within 20 minutes, we are standing in a hilly colonia on the eastern fringes of Tijuana, just before the metal border wall.

On the Mexican side of the dividing line are the junkyards that contend with the overflows of waste generated by Tijuana's maquiladoras, which craft the cheap goods that will ultimately end up in the U.S. On the other — al otro lado — are the looming prototypes.

Just south of the fence sits one of the stone obelisks that marked the border during the late 19th century. Diers notes that the simple presence of the obelisk was once enough to mark the international dividing line: "It was a conceptual border more than a real border."

Since they were completed, the border wall prototypes have turned into architectural celebrities of sorts — debated on the news, filmed by drones and scrutinized by critics. The Times' architecture critic, Christopher Hawthorne, describes them as "banal and startling," a combination of "architectural exhibition and the new nativism rolled into one."

Beyond their political implications, it's easy to see why the structures have drawn so much attention: They are absurd — bloated security theater in a color palette befitting a suburban subdivision. (So many shades of putty.) It was only a matter of time before an enterprising artist horned in on the action.

All the attention has also had the effect of turning this humble settlement into a tourist attraction. A folding ladder is placed near the metal wall, and we each take turns climbing up to get unobstructed pictures of the prototypes.

Soon we are joined by Alexis Franco Santana, an ebullient 22-year-old tijuanense who lives in a small room across from the site. Santana, outfitted in white tank, red headphones and constantly pinging cellphone, says the structures have drawn visitors from all over the world.

He thinks the prototypes are laughable.

"It's like Donald Trump said, 'Go to Toys R Us and bring me all the toys, and I will choose the best one,'" he says. "They can make the wall from here to the sky and we can find a way to get around it. Los mexicanos tienen maña." Mexicans have knack.

His neighbor, Juan Manuel Hernandez Lozano, takes a dimmer view.

Hernandez was born in Mexico but was taken to Los Angeles without papers when he was about 5. He spent almost his entire life in Los Angeles and speaks English laced with the musical cadence of the Eastside. To prove his real-deal L.A.-ness, he shows me a Raiders tattoo.

Nine years ago, he was deported. His family lives in L.A., but he's stuck in Tijuana. In that time, he has missed the funerals of both parents and a brother.

"It's been hard," he says. "I got sick over here. I have cancer. I should have been dead a year ago."

I ask him what he thinks of the idea of turning the prototypes into a national monument.

"It's a racist thing," he replies. "Why would they do something like that? What are they getting out of it?"

When the Manzanar internment camp was designated a national historic site by Congress in the 1990s, it was not without controversy. The camp, in the Owens Valley, had once harbored upward of 11,000 Japanese Americans, who had been interned there during a period of intense anti-Japanese paranoia during World War II.

Japanese American activists — among them, former internees — had called for protection of this contentious site as a way to remember this dark episode in U.S. history. ("A national symbolic step that must go forward," activist Sue Kunitomi Embrey said at the time.)

But some groups fought the designation. In a letter to the National Park Service, which manages the site, one critic described the portrayal of Manzanar as an internment camp as "treason." Others preferred that the camp be depicted as the benevolent provider of wartime "housing" for Japanese Americans.

The efforts to sugarcoat history ultimately failed. Manzanar is today one of the most prominent sites in the U.S. to commemorate the internment of Japanese Americans.

The making of a monument is a messy business. It requires unflagging advocates, inevitable detractors and a majority vote in Congress.

It also requires time.

Manzanar was declared a national historic landmark in 1985, four decades after it was shut down. It became a national historic site seven years later. And it all came as a result of a groundswell of support for the idea that this was history worth commemorating.

In the case of the border, that history is still being written. The border prototypes could become monuments to racist folly or reawakened white supremacy. All of it leads me to wonder what the reaction would have been in 1943 if a European artist had visited Manzanar, and then described the place as a "land art exhibition" in a press release.

Toward the end of the tour, Dier gathers us in a circle and asks what we think of the idea of turning the prototypes into a monument. One person says they could serve as "a monument to hubris." Another says they could be preserved like an American Auschwitz. I suggest that in the spirit of the border, where U.S. goods and ideas are constantly being recycled by Mexico, perhaps we should allow the residents of Tijuana to dismantle the prototypes and use them to build something new.

Members of the group disperse to catch their final snapshots. I ask Santana, who has been hovering in the background, if he's OK with turning the prototypes into art.

Not in their current form, he says. "If it's going to be art, they should paint them. They could put a beach scene on one or a forest on the other. But they need to paint them, otherwise it's not art."

The group clambers into the van and we make our way back to the other side — the one where many of us, through accidents of fate, just happened to be born."
carolinamiranda  border  borders  sandiego  tijuana  california  us  mexico  art  2018  donaldtrump  policy  christophbüchel  renéperalta  gelarekhoshgozaran  whitesupremacy  race  racism  xenophobia  politics  history  berlin  berlinwall  manzanar 
february 2018 by robertogreco
Cul-de-sac : Open Space
"San Diego’s always been easy to malign; but the endlessly unfurling line of sunny boosterism endemic to San Diego’s civic self-image is all wrong also. When it comes to considering “America’s Finest City”, the national imagination sways between two poles: paradisiacal invention of temperate waves, fresh-fish tacos, and soft sand; or, cultureless void, psychologies sun-dulled into a blank embrace of his-n-hers wax-n-tan salons, stucco sprawl, and the artisanal F/A-18 Hornet."



This cross-national fact pervades all aspects of life in “San Diego.” Not just a border town; a border county. (A border country?)

And yet, San Diego’s often referred to as a geographical cul-de-sac, where the high mountains to the east and the border to the south create a physical and psychological lock-in-place. Cul-de-sac: a dead end, a deadlock, literally, the bottom of the bag. Says who?

When I stay in San Diego, I stay with my partner in Golden Hill, on an actual hill above downtown, whose slopes and inclines afford views of the bay to the west and south. Once the home of socialites and philanthropists, then in long decline as haven for junkies, dealers, and of course, artists, Golden Hill is now about one-third of the way through its “urban-revitalization.” It is bordered on one side by largely Latinx Sherman Heights/Barrio Logan, home to Chicano Park, and on the other by picaresque South Park, quiet, expensive, pretty, and pretty white. Bay Area residents would feel at home wandering Golden Hill’s blocks of Victorian mansions, Craftsman bungalows, and multi-decade representations of apartment complexes in various stages of upkeep or decay. The current fashion in building, though, is for high-priced, small-scale condos (“Starting in the low $500s!!”).

I’ve located myself, I know “where I am,” but it feels sensationally, essentially, placeless.

Street names, all called after other places: Arizona, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania. Uninventively named Ocean Beach nests beaches within beaches: avenues called by the names of other beaches. Newport, Narragansett, Saratoga, Santa Monica, Santa Cruz, Pescadero, Bermuda. Infinite displacement. Signs point elsewhere, the same as nowhere.

Like LA, San Diego’s hot, it sprawls. But not as hot, and the sprawl is uneager, tepidly accepting of, even pleased with, itself. To the west, the sparkling sea, and to the east, waves of expensive tract housing punctuated with low-slung shopping plazas crowded with corporate chains. Post-place USA? Along the coast, each in a string of seaside villages — first increasing and then decreasing in wealth concentration from south to north — has its own distinct flavor of blowsy undercurrent.

This “city of villages” is a net or concatenation of communities built on mesas, regularly separated by canyons, crevasses, the occasional waterway or stream — and often, freeways — and these light divisions create personality and economic boundaries between them. Hillcrest, North Park, East Village (in the city), or El Cajon, Del Mar, Santee (around the county). Traveling between them, or braked for a minute at the top of a hill, I’m always sensing myself on an edge — of something. Shore, skyline, precipice, border, cliff. Of understanding? The views are often grand or sweeping, but they don’t seem to send back “possibility.” The sky in San Diego is just the sky."



"Retirees and invalids, margarita- or beer-drenched drifters, yogis and transcendental meditation addicts, real estate agents, biotech execs, personal trainers, sailors, and a multiplicity of immigrants both international and domestic — and still somehow not a city of dreams. Or, a “city of broken dreams” (Mike Davis). A city of dreamless sleep, with sunny days spent ambulating dream-slow through the enervating heat."



"San Diego has no cover, no face, or is simultaneously all face. Which?

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and native San Diegan Rae Armantrout famously, unpopularly, wrote that San Diego has no charisma, is blank. That’s put unkindly perhaps, but it’s not all wrong. She also points to the odd quiet, the deep silence beneath whatever aggressive hum. Let’s call it the somnolent subconscious / the deeply sedimented unconscious — the veneer is thin here; you can feel it.

In fact, one isn’t any one here. One’s an atom, roasting in the sun.

“Perhaps living in San Diego prepares you to become a Buddhist,” writes Rae.

Diffuse, fuzzy around the edges, thick. My mind feels like that too, sometimes — it takes longer to shake itself awake. Is it the heat, the sun-glaze, is it in the water?"



"In 2016, 34.9 million tourists visited San Diego, spending 10.4 billion dollars.

San Diego is the most biologically rich county in the continental US. And the most threatened, with nearly 200 at-risk animals and plants.

Western snowy plover, coastal cactus wren, California gnatcatcher, least Bell’s vireo, arroyo southwestern toad, Stephens’ kangaroo rat, San Diego fairy shrimp, Quino checkerspot butterfly, San Diego thornmint, Dehesa beargrass, coastal sage scrub, Engelmann oak woodlands…

Seventy-four percent of ex-offenders return to prison within two years of release, in San Diego. The state average is sixty-five.

Autobiography of a Yogi, “the book that changed the lives of millions,” was penned by Paramahansa Yogananda at his Self‑Realization Fellowship ashram and retreat center in Encinitas, in North San Diego County. Ashtanga Yoga, the practice that changed the lives of millions, also had its US nativity scene in Encinitas, when K. Pattabhi Jois arrived here in 1975.



If my thesis is that the city is ungraspable, neither the sum of its parts or possible to glimpse in prism, this not-place-ness must be the prize/prison of manifest destiny become the end of history.

Jim Miller, in Under the Perfect Sun: The San Diego Tourists Never See: “cul-de-sac also means, finally and most poignantly, a situation in which further progress is impossible.”

On the other hand, says who? At the lift, box, and cycle gym I go to when I’m here, people chat, they say hi. I’m on the floor doing crunches while the Counting Crows song “Mr. Jones” is blasting over the deck. Suddenly I’m experiencing liberation — from every high-urban fantasy I ever had for or of myself.

Near the crest of a hill, up the block from a café I frequent, there’s a large pink stucco apartment building in a vaguely Spanish-modern style, trimmed in white. Someone’s installed a red-letter electronic ticker on the side of this building at its highest point, and programs it to spit out philosophic citations from Lao Tzu, Sophocles, “Anonymous”… From their perch on the hill the flickering banners appear to headline the city. For example: Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall — Confucius, spelled out one letter at a time.

I puzzle a long time over this enigmatic line, dropped out of context and attributed to G.K. Chesterton, poet, theologian, philosopher, overt anti-Semite, and father of the Father Brown mysteries: Do not try to bend, any more than the trees try to bend… Try to grow straight, and life will bend you.

Red-letter warnings, invitations to unsubtle visions, and confusing mandates to the individual overcasting her gaze on the sparkling bay, the seventeen construction cranes hovering over downtown, and the freeways, distantly humming, palm trees swaying in the too-bright light, hand on forehead shielding eyes. Blink, blink, blink."
suzannestein  sandiego  gkchesterson  2017  lajolla  ucsd  undertheperfectsun  jimmiller  isolation  meaning  border  borders  mexico  us  place  srg 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Vox Borders - YouTube - YouTube
"Reporting from six borders around the world, Emmy-nominated journalist Johnny Harris investigates the human stories behind the lines on a map in a new series for Vox.com

The six-part documentary series airs Tuesdays starting October 17th.

For additional content, travel dispatches, and more visit http://www.vox.com/borders "

[VOX BORDERS S1 • E1
Divided island: How Haiti and the DR became two worlds
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WvKeYuwifc

VOX BORDERS S1 • E2
It's time to draw borders on the Arctic Ocean
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wx_2SVm9Jgo

VOX BORDERS S1 • E3
Inside North Korea's bubble in Japan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBfyIQbxXPs

VOX BORDERS S1 • E4
How the US outsourced border security to Mexico
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xbt0ACMbiA

VOX BORDERS S1 • E5
Building a border at 4,600 meters
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECch2g1_6PQ

VOX BORDERS S1 • E6
Europe’s most fortified border is in Africa
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY_Yiu2U2Ts ]
borders  haiti  dominicanrepublic  arctic  arcticocean  japan  northkorea  korea  mexico  us  centralamerica  border  2017  spain  morocco  china  nepal  españa 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Make Kin, Not Borders – The New Inquiry
"PERHAPS, as Murphy suggests in the book’s coda, we should do away with the concept of population altogether. “Population has become for me an intolerable concept,” Murphy admits. It is always “profoundly entangled with designations of surplus life, of life unworthy, of life contained, of life open to destruction.” Moreover, she adds, it makes a crucial analytical mistake: It “points the finger at masses rather than distributions and accumulations, at people rather than economy.”"



"Population points to babies rather than borders and systemic inequality as culprits for poverty. Free movement, not capital. Plan utopias, not people. Make Kin, Not Borders!"
population  migration  border  borders  economics  life  humans  donnaharaway  michellemurphy  thomasmalthus  conservation  raymondpearl  policy  eugenics  birthcontrol  distributions  accumulations  simontorracinta 
september 2017 by robertogreco
YBCA: Visualizing Citizenship: Seeking a New Public Imagination
“Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman

Visualizing Citizenship: Seeking a New Public Imagination

Mar 10 2017 — Jun 18 2017

The Mexico-US border is a geography of conflict from which a more inclusive political vision can be shaped, based on integration and cooperation, not division and xenophobia.” - Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman

In the face of a new, more divisive, political landscape, the public narrative around borders surfaces fears on all sides of the political spectrum. Yet for architect and theorist Teddy Cruz and political scientist Fonna Forman, border communities are opportunities for civic and political creativity, rather than criminalization. These sites, to which they refer as “geographies of conflict,” are the basis of three projects that present case studies for more expansive and inclusive ways of thinking of the relationships between the United States and its neighbors, and more broadly propose that citizenship is organized around shared values and common interests, and not on the action of an isolationist nation with a homogeneous identity.

Composed of videos, diagrams, maps, and visual narratives designed in collaboration with Studio Matthias Görlich, the exhibition presents The Political Equator (2011), a video and wall diagram that captures a collective border-crossing performance through a drainage pipe joining two marginalized neighborhoods along the border wall that divides an informal settlement in Mexico from a natural estuary in California. Produced for this exhibition, a series of posters synthesize their work on the Cross-Border Citizenship Culture Survey (2011-ongoing), the result of a collaboration with Antanas Mockus, the former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia; his think tank, Corpovisionarios; and city officials in San Diego and Tijuana. Also featured is The Medellín Diagram (2012-ongoing), which presents a new political and civic model for creating public spaces that facilitate cultural, political, and knowledge exchange based on the example of the city of Medellín and its extraordinary social and urban transformation."

[See also:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BUKugmPB1ev/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BUKuesOhEW3/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BUKucvjBnb4/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BT91baWBDUT/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BT91XhMB1B5/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BT91TldB9-0/ ]
ybca  teddycruz  fonnaforman  border  borders  sandiego  tijuana  medellín  antanasmockus  bogotá  matthiasgörlich  studiomatthiasgörlich  corpovisionarios2011  2012  cities  urban  urbanism  transformation  us  mexico  politcalequator  conflict  integration  cooperation  politic  geopolitics  art  design  california  medellin 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Iñárritu’s ‘Carne y Arena’ Virtual Reality Simulates a Harrowing Border Trek - The New York Times
[See also:
"Why Alejandro González Iñárritu is the Director Who Finally Got VR Right — Cannes 2017"
http://www.indiewire.com/2017/05/alejandro-gonzalez-inarritu-carne-y-arena-cannes-vr-1201819096/ ]

"After weeks in the desert, dehydrated and afraid, refugees and migrants who are apprehended crossing the United States-Mexico border are regularly locked in what are called las hieleras: the freezers. They are meant to be short-term holding cells — they have no beds — but they also exact a kind of extrajudicial punishment. As revealed by a Freedom of Information Act request in 2015, migrants are trapped there for nearly two days on average. Children are separated from their families; detainees are deprived of food. Sometimes their lips split. Sometimes their skin turns blue.

The cold of the hieleras is the first thing you feel in “Carne y Arena” (“Flesh and Sand”), a groundbreaking hybrid of art exhibition, virtual reality simulation and historical re-enactment by the Mexican film director Alejandro G. Iñárritu on view here ahead of its art-world debut in June at the Prada Foundation in Milan. You enter a cold-storage chamber, spare but for a few industrial benches, and are instructed to remove your shoes and socks. Dusty slippers and sneakers, recovered from the border zone, litter the floor. Barefoot, you exit the cold room and enter a larger one, its floor covered with sand. Attendants equip you with an Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset, headphones — and a backpack. The darkness gives way, and you find yourself on the border, and in danger.

In the gloaming you can make out an old woman who has broken her ankle, moaning in Spanish for help; a people-smuggler, or coyote, complains in English that they’re slowing down. You can walk through the sand to get close to them, since your headset is equipped with a motion detector. But soon a helicopter appears overhead, its spotlight bearing down on you, and border agents with guns and dogs are ordering you in two languages to put your hands up. With a rifle in your face, you instinctively throw your hands in the air.

Politically urgent and technically accomplished, “Carne y Arena” is the first virtual-reality installation to screen in the official selection of the Cannes Film Festival, which opened its 70th edition this week. Its debut here in an airplane hangar, far from the glamorous Croisette, is a foretaste of its display in arts institutions. Along with its showing at the Prada Foundation, which produced the work with Legendary Entertainment, it will also travel to two museums on either side of the border that President Trump has promised to divide with a wall. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art will host “Carne y Arena” starting in July; the Tlatelolco museum in Mexico City will also feature the VR work this summer.

Museums will most likely provide a better context for this powerful three-room installation than the world of cinema. Mr. Iñárritu’s virtual reality, or VR, project has a sternness and resolve similar to some of his previous movies, notably the survivalist epic “The Revenant” and the California-Mexico strand of “Babel,” which netted a best director prize here in 2006. But “Carne y Arena” is not a film, and it succeeds by acknowledging that virtual reality is a wholly different medium, posing different theoretical and narrative challenges. Editing, essentially, is gone. Framing is gone too. Characters must be positioned in three dimensions, not just two. The medium is almost a hybrid of video game and live theater, and to excel, you have to think like a philosopher as much as a techie. “Carne y Arena” took Mr. Iñárritu four years to figure out — he made the relatively low-tech “Revenant” in the process — but he got there.

In “Carne y Arena,” whose virtual-reality component runs about seven minutes, traditionally photographed landscapes provide the backdrop for digitally rendered performers. Advances in technology — along with the sand beneath your feet — make the experience truly transporting, and as the dust rises from the ground, you quickly forget that the Riviera is right outside. (The outdoor images, detailed and menacing, were shot near the border by Emmanuel Lubezki, known as Chivo, Mr. Iñárritu’s frequent collaborator.)

Some technical limitations of the medium remain in evidence when you get close to the performers: not professional actors, but undocumented immigrants from Mexico or Central America, whose 14 individual stories are evoked in portraits appearing in the show’s final room. So that you can perceive them from every angle, they performed on a sensor-equipped soundstage and have been rendered digitally in three dimensions. Though their clothing and movements are convincing, up close their flesh appears reptilian and their faces generic.

But then crouch down, push your head through one of their bodies. You’ll find yourself in a bloody, throbbing chamber: their beating heart. “Carne y Arena” may draw most of its power from the real lives of immigrants, but it’s a work of fiction, with flights into poetry that set it apart from many documentaries in virtual reality, which has too often been promoted as just an “empathy machine.”

Just as the border guards are screaming at the migrants to kneel in the sand, a puff of smoke appears. The officers vanish, and a strange dream sequence begins.

The coyote is sitting on a truck, reading a book of poetry; the woman with the broken ankle is humming a lullaby at a long table that has materialized in the desert. When you move to the table, its wooden surface starts to deform. A cavity appears, containing a capsizing boat — an evocation of another refugee crisis, this one taking place right off the Croisette in the Mediterranean. Like the surreal moment when you discover you can walk into these migrants’ hearts, this mournful reverie serves to humanize people we still think of mostly in aggregate.

One reason the experience of migration and helplessness feels so potent in “Carne y Arena” is because you experience it alone. In this way, VR is completely different from Imax projections, or from cinema watched through 3-D glasses. Directors and artists have to choreograph narratives in space rather than in frames, and they must also calculate for a constantly shifting point of view. When you wear a virtual-reality headset, you become the lead actor, but you’re also, in a way, the director of photography as well.

So for all the thematic echoes between “Carne y Arena” and earlier films like “Babel” or “The Revenant,” I concluded by my third go-round that one movie above all might have prepared Mr. Iñárritu for the challenge of virtual reality. That film is “Birdman,” which he and Mr. Lubezki presented as a single, two-hour tracking shot. The exacting choreography of “Birdman,” perceived by a camera wandering through a Broadway theater, may have helped Mr. Iñárritu model the spatial relations and you-are-there imagery that VR requires. Classical Hollywood editing no longer serves, and so narrative has to be conveyed in other ways: through setting, sound and physical encounters.

It may seem strange that “Birdman,” Mr. Iñárritu’s black comedy, may be the most relevant antecedent for a work as harrowing as this one. And yet virtual reality, in the long run, is not cinema or video art. It’s a medium that seeks to become a non-medium — a tissue of images and sounds that replicates or even supersedes true life.

These are old ambitions, of course. The technologies for 3-D viewing have been around for centuries, and convex-lensed optical viewers in the 18th century, or depth-simulating goggles in the 19th, have come and gone. Whether virtual reality will really reshape art institutions, or whether it will fade like those earlier zograscopes and stereoscopes, is unknown. What Mr. Iñárritu has proved, with this formidable new work, is that making VR more than a sideshow medium is the job of artists, and that some stories can compel us more deeply when we are dropped into their protagonists’ lives. One of those stories takes place every day along the American border — and in the Mediterranean as well — by people with no greater designs than the pursuit of happiness."
alejandroiñárritu  virtualreality  border  borders  us  mexico  2017  emmanuellubezki  towatch  vr 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Architecture of Persecution – Guernica
"The 4000-year-old city of Jerusalem's rich archeological history is weaponized against Palestinians."


"This is why that [sic] we opted for the methodology of walking through walls . . . like a worm that eats its way forward, emerging at points and then disappearing. We were thus moving from the interior of homes to their exterior in a surprising manner and in places we were not expected, arriving from behind and hitting the enemy that awaited us behind a corner.

The speaker is an Israeli paratroop commander called Aviv Kochavi, interviewed by the architectural theorist Eyal Weizman in 2004. During the 2002 attack on Nablus, Brigadier General Kochavi’s troops advanced into the city through aboveground “tunnels” which they blasted through the dense urban fabric of houses, shops, and workshops. The soldiers avoided the streets and alleys of the city, moving horizontally through party walls and vertically through holes blasted in floors and ceilings. Thermal imaging technologies allowed them to “see” adversaries on the other side of solid barriers, and 7.62mm rounds could penetrate to kill on the other side. Much fighting took place in private homes, and the civilian population was profoundly traumatized.

A retired brigadier general called Shimon Naveh, who taught at the IDF’s Operational Theory Research Institute, told Weizman of the IDF’s interest in the philosophical work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, particularly the concepts of “smooth” and “striated” space:
In the IDF we now often use the term “to smooth out space” when we want to refer to operation in a space as if it had no borders. We try to produce the operational space in such a manner that borders do not affect us.

Elad’s multidimensional project to smooth out the Palestinian space of Silwan seems entirely continuous with these French-theoretical military tactics. They are an organization that has grown out of war, a very modern full-spectrum war in which the distinction between combatants and the civilian population is blurred, and the battlefield could potentially be everywhere, including inside civilian homes. Elad’s attack is slow, but it is happening. It is unfolding at the pace of spades and excavators, the pace of planning hearings and court dates and fundraising galas, an assault on an urban area slowed down to the speed of archaeology.

Elad’s latest tactic in Silwan is burrowing. It has already built a tunnel (billed as “the pilgrims’ route”) to connect the City of David to the Temple Mount, and the highlight of tourist offerings is the chance to walk underground along part of an ancient aqueduct system, through which water still flows. Other tunnels are confidently identified as the work of King Herod, or as hiding places for Jewish rebels against the Romans. The new tunnels (no doubt supplied with their own attractive biblical backstories) are worming in all directions under Palestinian Silwan. Part of their routes are secret. Residents complain that they are seeing cracks in their walls, in the foundations of their houses. They wonder whether it is because of the tunnels that in several places the streets have collapsed."
walls  borders  harikunzru  palestine  israel  2017  jerusalem  elad  military  militarization  border  burrowing  silwan  war 
may 2017 by robertogreco
A Time for Treason – The New Inquiry
"A reading list created by a group of Black, Brown, Indigenous, Muslim, and Jewish people who are writers, organizers, teachers, anti-fascists, anti-capitalists, and radicals.

WE studied and pursued methods for revolutionary social change before Trump came to power, and our core focus remains the same: abolishing the ever-enlarging systems of hierarchy, control, and environmental destruction necessary to sustain the growth of capital. With the ascendance of White nationalist ambition to the upper echelons of empire, we have given special attention to struggles waged and endured by marginalized people for whom the fight against capital has always been a concurrent fight against Anglo-Saxon supremacy.

Although there are bleak times ahead, we must remember that for most of us America was never paradise. Democrats and liberals will use this time to revise history. They will present themselves as the reasonable solution to Trump’s reign and advocate a return to “normalcy.” But their normal is a country where Black people are routinely killed by police and more people are imprisoned than any other place in the world. Their normal is a country where millions are exploited while a handful eat lavishly. Their normal is the opposite of a solution; it’s a threat to our lives.

We encourage everyone to use their local libraries and indiebound.org to acquire the books listed below.

ANTI-FASCISM/FASCISM HISTORY

Militant Anti-Fascism: A Hundred Years of Resistance by M. Testa (Ebook free until 11/30 from AK Press)
The Mass Psychology of Fascism by Wilhelm Reich (PDF)
Escape from Freedom by Erich Fromm
Blackshirts and Reds by Michael Parenti (PDF)
“The Shock of Recognition” (An excerpt from Confronting Fascism by J. Sakai)
Hypernormalisation by Adam Curtis (documentary)
A critical review of Hypernormalisation
Fascist Symbols (photo)
Searchable Symbol Database
Hatemap

Chile:
The Battle of Chile (Documentary): Part I, Part 2, and Part 3

Philippines:
When A Populist Demagogue Takes Power

Argentina:
Transatlantic Fascism: Ideology, Violence and the Sacred in Argentina and Italy
Eastern Europe: In the Shadow of Hitler

Italy:
The Birth of Fascist Ideology by Zeev Sternhell (PDF)
Basta Bunga Bunga
Lessons from Italy: The Dangers of Anti-Trumpism

Greece:
How Greece Put an Anti-Austerity, Anti-Capitalist Party in Power

Russia:
Russian Fascism: Traditions, Tendencies, and Movements by Stephen Shenfield

France:
Where Have All the Fascists Gone? by Tamir Bar-On
Neither Right nor Left by Zeev Sternhell (PDF)
Gender and Fascism in Modern France edited By Melanie Hawthorne, Richard Joseph Golsan
The Manouchian Group (French Antifa who resisted the Nazis when Germany occupied France)
L’Armée du Crime/The Army of Crime (Film)
Antifa Chasseurs de Skins (Documentary)

Spain:
Fascism in Spain 1923–1977
“The Spanish Civil War” (Series on Youtube)

Germany/Hitler:
Escape Through the Pyrenees by Lisa Fittko
Male Fantasies, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 by Klaus Theweleit (particularly Chapter 1)
The Nazis, Capitalism and the Working Class by Donny Gluckstein
Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt (PDF)
Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada (fiction)
“Freudian Theory and the Pattern of Fascist Propaganda” by Theodor Adorno (PDF)
Fascinating Fascism
The Horrifying American Roots for Nazi’s Eugenics

United States:
Negroes with Guns by Robert F. Williams: EPUB, PDF and Audio Documentary
The Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement by Lance Hill
In the Name of Eugenics by Daniel Kevles
Dixie Be Damned: 300 Years of Insurrection in the American South by Saralee Stafford and Neal Shirley
Bloody Dawn: The Christiana Riot and Racial Violence in the Antebellum North by Thomas P. Slaughter
“Why We Fight” Part I & Part II
Columbus Day is the Most Important Day of Every Year
Fascism in a Pinstriped Suit by Michael Parenti (Essay in book Dirty Truths)
Southern Horrors by Ida B. Wells
Morbid Symptoms: The Rise of Trump

Alt-Right/U.S. Neo-Nazis:
‘Hail Trump!’: White Nationalists Salute the President Elect
This Is Not a Guide: Is the Alt-Right White Supremacist? (yes)
Why We Must Stop Speaking of Oppression as “Hate”
The Myth of the Bullied White Outcast Loner Is Helping Fuel a Fascist Resurgence
The New Man of 4Chan
The Dark History of Donald Trump’s Right-Wing Revolt
Dark Days at the RNC
Trump Normalization Watch
The Real Origins of ‘Lone Wolf’ White Supremacists Like Dylan Roof

Here are assorted alt-right/White nationalist propaganda videos to better understand their rhetorical pull: one, two, three (Note: these videos were made by white supremacists).

U.S. REPRESSION & MCCARTHYISM

A ‘Commission on Radical Islam’ Could Lead to a New McCarthy Era
Newt Gingrich Calls for a New House of Un-American Activities
If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance edited by Angela Davis (PDF)
Naming Names by Victor Navasky
Red Scare Racism and Cold War Black Radicalism by James Zeigler
The Other Blacklist: The African American Literary and Cultural Left of the 1950s by Mary Helen Washington
Still Black, Still Strong: Survivors of the War Against Black Revolutionaries by Dhoruba Bin Wahad, Assata Shakur, Mumia Abu Jamal (PDF)
Enemies: A History of the FBI by Tim Weiner
The COINTELPRO Papers by Ward Churchill (PDF)
Red Scare: Memories of the American Inquisition by Griffin Fariello
Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals and Reagan’s Rise to Power by Seth Rosenfeld (EPUB)
Interview with the Rosenfeld on NPR.
Green Is the New Red by Will Potter
War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony by Nelson Denis (EPUB)
War Against The Panthers: A Study of Repression in America by Huey Newton (PDF)
The Repression Lists
The Story Behind The NATO 3 Domestic Terrorism Arrests
Why Did the FBI Spy on James Baldwin (Review of the book All Those Strangers by Douglas Field)
Cointelpro 101 by The Freedom Archives (Video)

SECURITY CULTURE/THE SURVEILLANCE STATE

The Burglary by Betty Medsgar
Overseers of the Poor by John Gilliom (PDF)
The Smart Girl’s Guide to Privacy by Violet Blue
Security Culture, CrimethInc
EFF Surveillance Self Defense
The Intercept’s Surveillance Self Defense against the Trump Administration
Things To Know About Web Security Before Trump’s Inauguration
How Journalists Can Protect Themselves Online
How To Encrypt Your Entire Life in Less Than An Hour
On Building a Threat Model for Trump
FBI Confirms Contracts with AT&T, Verizon, and MCI
New York’s EZ Pass: We’re Watching You
NYCLU on EZ Pass Surveillance and ACLU blog on EZ Pass Surveillance
New York’s New Public Wifi Kiosks Are Spying On You
Why Public Wifi is a Public Health Hazard
The Drone Papers
The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program
US Cited Controversial Law in Decision To Kill American By Drone
Security Notebook (a packet of readings)
Why Misogynists Make The Best Informants
Fusion Centers / What’s Wrong With Fusion Centers (ACLU report) / Fusion Center Investigations Into Anti War Activities
How See Something, Say Something Punishes Innocent Muslims and Spawns Islamophobia
Citizenfour by Laura Poitras (Documentary)
1971 by Johanna Hamilton (Documentary)

RESISTANCE TACTICS

The Ideology of the Young Lords Party (PDF)
Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire (PDF)
The Black Panther Party: Service to the People Programs, edited by David Hilliard (PDF)
Blood in My Eye by George Jackson (PDF)
Peoples’ War, Peoples’ Army by Vo Nguyen Giap (PDF)
Poor People’s Movements by Frances Fox Piven
Policing the Planet, edited by Jordan T. Camp and Christina Heatherton
In the Shadow of the Shadow State
Black Riot
Against Innocence
Nothing Short of a Revolution
A Concise History of Liberation Theology
Organizing Lessons from Civil Rights Leader Ella Baker
After Trump
Black Study, Black Struggle
The Jackson Kush Plan (by Cooperation Jackson/MXGM)
Fuck Trump, But Fuck You Too: No Unity with Liberals
the past didn’t go anywhere — making resistance to antisemitism part of all our movements
De-arrests Are Beautiful
10 Points on Black Bloc (Text or Youtube)
On Blocs
How To Set Up an Anti-Fascist Group
How To Survive A Knife Attack: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4


BLACK LIBERATION

Black Reconstruction by W. E. B. Du Bois (PDF)
Abolition Democracy: Beyond Empire, Prisons, and Torture by Angela Davis (PDF)
Revolutionary Suicide by Huey Newton (PDF)
Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement by Barbara Ransby
We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement by Akinyele Omowale Umoja (PDF)
How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America by Manning Marable (PDF)
Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Repression by Robin DG Kelley (PDF)
Interview with Robin DG Kelley about his book
Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition by Cedric Robinson (PDF or EPUB)
Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon (PDF)
Black Jacobins by CLR James (PDF)
A History of Pan-African Revolt by CLR James
Black Awakening in Capitalist America by Robert Allen
From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime by Elizabeth Hinton
This NonViolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed by Charles E. Cobb Jr (PDF or EPUB)
Eddie Conway in conversation with Charles E. Cobb in How Guns Kept People Alive During The Civil Rights Movement: Part I, Part II and Part III
The Young Lords: A Reader (PDF)
Black Anarchism: A Reader (PDF)
We Charge Genocide’s Report on Community Policing (PDF) | The group’s talk with DOJ
An Open Letter To My Sister Angela Davis by James Baldwin
Cooperation Jackson: Countering the Confederate Assault and The Struggle for Economic Democracy (Video)
American Nightmare: Black Labor and Liberation (Documentary, not yet released)
On Reparations: Resisting Inclusion and Co-optation by Jamilah Martin
Beyond Nationalism but Not Without It by Ashanti Alston
The Liberal Solution to Police Violence: Restoring Trust Will Ensure More Obedience
The Weapon of Theory by Amilcar Cabral
The Carceral State
The Work Continues: Hannah Black Interviews Mariame Kaba… [more]
activism  fascism  history  donaldtrump  2016  readinglists  booklists  mccarthyism  resistance  nationalismanit-fascism  chile  argentina  philippines  italy  italia  greece  russia  france  germany  hitler  alt-right  neonazis  repression  us  cointelpro  security  surveillance  surveillancestate  blackliberation  deportation  immigration  chicanos  oppression  border  borders  mexico  blackmigration  migration  muslims  nativeamericans  feminism  gender  race  racism  sexuality  queer  civilrights  patricioguzmán  thebattleofchile 
november 2016 by robertogreco
A Vista With Nothing to See (Works That Work magazine)
"Many of the world’s borders are invisible, but the boundary between Canada and the US is actually marked by an absence. Officially title ‘the vista’, it is a barren strip of land 6 m (20 ft) wide, stretching through 2,171 km (1,349 mi) of forest. Although there’s nothing there to stop you from doing it, crossing the ‘slash’, as it’s informally known, is a serious offence."
us  canada  border  borders  boundaries 
november 2016 by robertogreco
How the US-Mexico Border Wall Is Hurting Animals
"Eight years ago, while flying 800 feet above the grasslands of southern New Mexico, an unlikely observation changed the course of my life. As I was leaning out the window of a small Cessna above the border of the United States and Mexico, a cold March wind roared through the plane and I could just barely make out the excited words of wildlife scientist Rurik List Sánchez:

“There they are, at the border!”

Bison! We had been searching for them all morning and the day before, and we spotted them just as they were jumping from Mexico to the United States, over a barbed wire border fence that ran between their main food and water resources. I had come to write a story about these unique trans-border bison for Wildlife Conservation magazine, and by slim chance had happened to witness their international journey in real-time. Research in Mexico had shown that this bison band—one of six free-ranging herds left in North America—had been making this journey almost daily for the past half-century as the herd labored to survive the trials of life in an arid land. Spotting them at the border itself had made the long trip from my home in Washington D.C. worth it.

But as I watched those bison, my excitement was tempered by the fear that their greatest trial awaited them on a near horizon. The beginnings of the U.S.-Mexico border wall were already being designed and constructed elsewhere on this 2,000-mile border. How long would it take that barrier to reach this remote grassland and divide the bison’s pond and pasture?

I had followed border policy and wall construction, though not closely, but in an instant as I watched those bison cross the border, the real-world consequences that would follow the building of a border wall came home to me. From that moment, I began to gear my working life toward telling their story, and the stories of all the other countless creatures on the U.S.-Mexico border that would be facing the fallout of this sudden barrier.

The predicament of those bison, and the thousands of other wild species on the border, is just one example of an infinity of barriers that we construct continually through the lives of other creatures. Barriers are all around us.

This reality was brought home to me a couple of days ago, while sitting in my house on the northeastern edge of Washington D.C., shortly after I returned from the Texas shooting of this “Think Like a Scientist” film on barriers. I had received a text from a neighbor: “There’s a vulture feeding frenzy in your front yard!” By the time I looked outside the vultures were gone, but on the road just beyond my front walk sprawled an eviscerated Virginia opossum, killed by a car in the night. I knew this neighborhood opossum and was saddened by his ignoble ending. But there was something more.

The two events, with bison and opossum, though long separated by time and space, were fundamentally linked. Two very important forces often dictate the actions and aspirations of all living things: the need to move, and the obstacles that stand in the way.

There have always been natural obstacles to the movement of plants and animals: climate, mountain ranges, oceans, but the pace of change with these obstructions offers a chance to adapt and therefore often ignites the flames of natural diversity. Human-wrought barriers however, whether they are suburban roads or international border walls, tend to have the opposite effect: They are sudden, defy nature’s logic, and, though some species may see benefits, the overall impact erodes biological diversity.

A cleared forest, a fence, a diverse meadow replaced by monoculture, even the invisible line drawn where a protected landscape like a wildlife refuge transitions into commercial property: All can pose abrupt challenges to survival.

In the borderlands land managers and wildlife biologists are grappling with the fallout of these challenges: a herd of pronghorn dying out on the Arizona border because all the breeding males were trapped on the Mexican side of the barrier; an increase in bobcat deaths on roads in South Texas after border wall construction fragmented their habitat and sent them searching for food, water, and mates.

I imagine the life of my local opossum, the trials that tested his survival, and the death that ultimately came on a suburban street. My neighborhood is filled with barriers, from fences, roads, and buildings, to less noticeable obstructions like bright street lighting that hinders the movements of shy nocturnal creatures, and monocultures of grass that offer little in the way of food resources or cover. Opossum have fared better than most in navigating the maze of our urban world. The IUCN Red List categorizes the species as “Least Concern” because of their adaptability to our fragmented world. But recent surveys done by wildlife biologists in Washington D.C. show opossum populations are declining.

There is, for all living things, a breaking point, where cumulative challenges overwhelm the ability to adapt. In Washington D.C., barriers laid down over centuries have helped reduce the region’s biodiversity to a hardy handful. In the borderlands, political climates are already taking a toll on wildlife as artificial barriers rise in a landscape that has until now been relatively free of them. And in the world at large, human-wrought barriers and obstructions are always rising and falling, appearing and disappearing.

In an era of climate change, what was once a natural factor in the survival of plants and animals has become touched by the chaotic hand of human industry. This nebulous barrier, and how it plays out in the world of wild things, is anybody’s guess. Some scientific models have predicted that in the next 50 years one-third of Earth’s species could go extinct due to humanity’s epic reconfiguring of our planet and its atmosphere. And various models have predicted big climatic shifts for both the borderlands and Washington D.C.—extended drought for the borderlands, intense heat for D.C. From the climate perspective, one of the greatest determinants for the future of the borderlands bison, my local opossum, and indeed all wild species, will be their ability to move and find suitable habitat as climate chaos shakes out. Physical barriers may ultimately prove decisive factors in an extinction crisis.

And human consciousness and care are the fulcrum on which all else rests."

[See also: https://vimeo.com/160397424 ]
border  borders  us  mexico  nature  wildlife  2016  kristaschlyer  politics  policy  multispecies 
november 2016 by robertogreco
What I learned from a week at the Mexico border wall | Fusion
"As I looked back over the footage I’d shot, I kept coming back to that far eastern edge of Tijuana, where the city is at its most emergent and the wall ends. Many of the roofs were covered by what appear to be recycled billboards. A random smattering of advertisements face skyward, targeting no one. Models’ faces, beer cans, cars, movie posters. A jumble of discarded messages from the culture: 1-800-GET-THIN, Toyota of Riverside, Ariel from the Little Mermaid, a Mercedes, More Energy, Party!, Jack Black, a trumpet, Bud Light, a robot crossed out, Lying Game, Choose Me, a truck cab, Ringer, Any ID, Want More?, Love the Artist, Man on a Ledge.

My border experience felt like this kind of boisterous collage. Two countries connected by global capitalism, by local culture, by Spanglish, by the weather and the sunset and tiny blue-tailed lizards, by the Raiders, by Juanes, by trucks and cargo containers and radio waves, by Tecate and Dos Equis, by Tinder, by Disney princesses, by skinny jeans, by hair dye, by checking the Border Wait app to see how long it’s gonna take to cross.

The border as a wall, as a line on a map, as a way of life, as something you never visit until relatives come from out of town, as the storehouse for all the pieces that seem to go missing from every immigration story, including my family’s own."
sandiego  border  borders  us  mexico  2016  alexismadrigal  tijuana  calexico 
october 2016 by robertogreco
The Long History of America's Constitutionally-Challenged 'Border Zones' | Atlas Obscura
"The extension of Customs and Border Patrol's mandate to a 100-mile zone has alarmed civil liberties' groups for years."

"Recently Maria Abi-Habib, a journalist at the Wall Street Journal, had a troubling experience. As she detailed on Facebook (picked up by Motherboard), customs agents at Los Angeles airport tried to take her phones after grilling her for an hour—something she protested as a violation of her rights. But it went further than that. "My rights as a journalist or U.S. citizen do not apply at the border," she wrote, "since legislation was passed in 2013 giving DHS very broad powers."

This is true, but the meaning of "border", a concept that one normally assumes is a hard line, has been shifting for much longer than that. In particular, a technical definition in federal regulations established in 1953 has resulted in 100-mile “border zones,” sometimes encompassing entire states, and some groups becoming increasingly alarmed by the implications of such wide-ranging border areas.

In 1952, the government authorized the United States Border Patrol (initially established in 1924) to patrol “all territory within 25 miles of a land border” and board and search vehicles for illegal aliens, according to the website of its successor agency, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). Immigration officers—then and now—receive their authority from Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Currently, section 287 of Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations authorizes immigration officers to search and interrogate, without warrant, any person suspected of being in the United States illegally within a “reasonable distance” of any external boundary of the United States. In 1953, the Department of Justice amended section 287.1 of 8 CFR to define “reasonable distance” as 100 miles, a distance the American Civil Liberties Union insinuates was arbitrarily determined.

“[O]ther than their presence in these publications, there is no public history as to why the Justice Department chose 100 miles as the ‘reasonable distance’ from the border under the INA. It may simply be that 100 miles has a history of being the distance considered to be reasonable regarding the availability of witnesses for examination, responses to subpoenas, and numerous other discovery issues under other federal laws,” the ACLU notes in their fact sheet on the issue.

Given that over two-thirds of the U.S. population lives within 100 miles of an external boundary, the ACLU and others argue that the 100-mile distance—coupled with the expanded mandates afforded to immigration officers as part of the “wars” on drugs and terrorism—creates “border zones” where ordinary American citizens could be caught up in warrantless searches and interrogations with no legal recourse.

Journalist Todd Miller provided a gripping depiction of the alarming scenario in a 2013 article written for the Nation, which he opened with a dramatic recounting of U.S. citizen Shena Gutierrez’s detention by CBP agents in Arizona:
Shena Gutierrez was already cuffed and in an inspection room in Nogales, Arizona, when the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent grabbed her purse, opened it, and dumped its contents onto the floor right in front of her. There couldn’t be a sharper image of the Bill of Rights rollback we are experiencing in the US borderlands in the post-9/11 era.


While Gutierrez’s story is a gripping reminder of the protections provided by the Bill of Rights—and the brutality that could be visited upon any citizen if those protections are undermined—it’s reasonable to question whether such a blatant violation of citizens’ rights could occur to any person living in Maine, Vermont, or any of the other states entirely within the 100-mile zone without public outcry.

According to a 2013 blog post from the National Constitution Center, the ACLU and other groups are overstating the threats to constitutional rights within the border zone. Citing two 2009 analysis papers from the Congressional Research Service, the NCC argues that because border agents must have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, and because they can only search individuals who have recently crossed the border, most searches should not violate the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unlawful search and seizure; the NCC does, however, note that searches at border stops and airports do not require reasonable suspicion.

The requirement of “reasonableness” has, in fact, been used by federal courts to uphold the legality of warrantless searches in the border zone, as Kate Huddlestone notes in a legal note published in the Yale Law Journal examining the constitutionality of Texas House Bill 2 vis-a-vis the burden it places on undocumented immigrants within border zones. Essentially, because people live and work in border zones, immigration officers must have a reasonable suspicion to conduct a search; if border zones were purely areas of transit (like an airport), officers could (and, as we all know, do) search everyone, no suspicion required.

Of course, illegal searches can and do happen, all the time. But the 100-mile border zones established over 70 years ago may not be the Constitution-free lands of unauthorized search and seizure some fear. Regardless, the border zones serve as a timely reminder that national borders aren’t as cut-and-dry as putting up a wall."
border  borders  us  mexico  2016  policy  law  legal  airports  transit  migration  canada  maine  vermont  arizona  borderpatrol 
august 2016 by robertogreco
The Devil Is Loose. — The California Sunday Magazine
"Drownings, shootings, high-speed accidents, immigrants in labor — the life of a border paramedic"
border  borders  us  mexico  photography  abestreep  michellundgren  susanmeiselas  texas  laredo  riogrande  riobravo  immigration  migration  drugs 
august 2016 by robertogreco
This Is What the U.S.-Mexico Border Wall Actually Looks Like
"Our photographer visits the most talked-about stretch of land in U.S. politics."
border  borders  us  mexico  2016  photography  politics  policy  jameswhitlowdelano 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Norway considers giving mountain to Finland as 100th birthday present | World news | The Guardian
"Norwegian government considers shifting border to gift its Nordic neighbour a peak that would become its highest point"
borders  finland  border  norway  geopolitics  2016  gifts  birthdays 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Why two artists surveyed the U.S.-Mexico border ... the one from 1821 - LA Times
"Two artists — one Mexican, one American — piled into a white Sprinter van stuffed with camping gear, photo equipment and art supplies for a 3,721-mile journey to mark the expanse of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Marcos Ramirez, known as “ERRE,” a Tijuana artist who tackles border topics in sculptural and conceptual works, and David Taylor, an Arizona photographer who has documented the border, began the first leg of their journey in July 2014 with a two-hour crossing from Tijuana into the U.S. at the international border.

But instead of heading east toward Arizona, the artists traveled north along Interstate 15 through the Mojave and the Owens Valley and up the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada, where they camped within view of Mt. Whitney. The pair then cut west toward the California coast, through the rolling hills of Mendocino County, and redwood forests, before landing at Crissey Field State Park, a small, coastal recreational area outside Brookings, Ore.

There, at 42 degrees latitude on a wild beach a few dozen feet from the California border, they planted — without permission — a 6-foot-6-inch steel obelisk to mark the divide between the U.S and Mexico.

Taylor and Ramirez, nearly 900 miles north of Tijuana, weren’t horribly lost. For they weren’t marking the heavily fortified U.S.-Mexico border of today, but the boundary established between the two nations in 1821. That’s when California, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and many other states, even slices of Oregon and Kansas, were part of the Mexican union.

The artists toasted their achievement at Crissey Field with a round of beers. Then they hotfooted it out of there, before park officials could get wind of what they were up to.

“It was so tentative,” Taylor says. “There are signs everywhere saying you can’t litter and you can’t leave stuff behind. The park is well attended. … But we were able to scoot off in time.”

For their project, “DeLIMITations,” the artists placed 47 steel obelisks along the route of the 1821 border, from the coast of Oregon to the Gulf of Mexico, stopping in Medicine Bow, Wyo.; Dodge City, Kan.; Waurika, Okla.; and many other towns. Before this undertaking, the 1821 border had never been formally surveyed in its entirety.

“There had been a short section of it between the headwaters of the Sabine River [on the Texas-Louisiana border] and the Red River, which divides Texas and Oklahoma, that had been marked,” Taylor says. “But the entire rest had not.”

The project was as much an opportunity to revisit history as it was to do what had never been done.

“Most of the historical markers you see on the road is for entertainment," Ramirez says. “Like, ‘Billy the Kid was shot here.’ We wanted to engage real history.”

It’s a past that will be revisited this week when “DeLIMITations” goes on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, which helped fund the project (along with a binational clutch of institutions that includes the Nevada Art Museum, the University of Arizona, SITE Santa Fe and the museum of the Autonomous University of Baja California in Mexicali).

The exhibition — with photography, video and a pair of stainless-steel obelisk sculptures — explores a fraught topic in this contentious election, in which presidential candidate Donald Trump has repeatedly called for the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, an idea the Republican Party officially endorsed at its national convention.

Cris Scorza, who serves as curator on the show, says the exhibition couldn’t be timelier — and in taking the long view of history it shows the ways in which even the hardest borders can shift over time. “It changes how we see it because it seems so permeable,” she says. “It’s not a wall. It makes us aware of topography and landscape.”

Borders, in fact, are a relatively recent invention, says Taylor.

“There were not surveyed borders before European settlement in the Americas,” he says. “There were transition zones. You left one place and it blended into another.”

It’s a transition zone of sorts that the artists set out to map — the territory where the histories and notions of nationhood of two wildly distinct countries physically overlap.

“I was to be able to make the trip and see all of those landscapes that are not anymore Mexican,” says Ramirez. “But they are. In marking them, they are.”"
marcoserreramirez  mexico  us  history  border  borders  davidtaylor  california  geography  mcasd  delimitation  1821  treatyofadams-onís 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Photos: Migrants From Around the World Come to Tijuana — to Wait - Voice of San Diego
"Rabiu Musah spent a long time getting to Tijuana.

“I took a flight from Ghana to Brazil. From Brazil I took a bus to Peru, then Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, then Mexico,” said the 23-year-old Ghanaian native. “So I passed through 10 countries to make it up here.” He traveled by bus and on foot for more than two months.

Musah wanted to apply for refugee status in the United States, fleeing an increasingly unstable situation in his home country. Like thousands of others, he didn’t know of a better way to do it than to make his way to the U.S.-Mexico border and ask for help.

“I had some problems with my colleagues, when they tried an assault on me,” said Musah, who worked as a graphic designer in his home country. “So staying there might be a problem for me, so with the little money I had, I decided to leave.” He decided to try to get to New York, where some of his family lives.

Musah didn’t have anywhere to go while his application was processed by overwhelmed and backlogged United States border authorities.

“I slept at the park for five days,” he said, resting while he waited in line. Residents of Tijuana give him and hundreds of others waiting for a decision food and water. Now, he’s staying at the Desayunador Salesiano Padre Chava facility, one of the many migrant shelters in and around Tijuana that generally caters to deported people and those waiting to find out whether they can cross into the United States. The shelters are seeing an unprecedented surge in people stranded from all over the world as they await an answer from the U.S.

In these shelters, which are supported by donations and help from the Mexican government, refugees and migrants from Ghana are sharing tables with Haitians, Hondurans and others. Many of the migrants are Mexicans themselves – a large number of people from the violence-plagued states of Guerrero and Michoacan are among those trying to get to the U.S.

The story of Ghana’s diaspora is very much like the story others asking for humanitarian relief from other countries tell. Ghana has experienced political, economic and social instability for decades, resulting in widespread violence and lack of opportunity, particularly for trained professionals. Traditionally, Ghanaian refugees have tried to travel to North Africa or Europe, but as the refugee crises in both regions have worsened, more are traveling longer distances out of desperation and necessity.

The United Kingdom’s surprise decision last week to leave the European Union could mean even more people fleeing violence in their home countries choose to seek shelter in North America. Already there are people from eastern Europe showing up alongside those from Haiti, Mexico’s interior, Central America and across the African continent — refugees and migrants who might otherwise travel to Europe, but are either denied or choose instead come to the U.S.-Mexico border, where they can take their chances on the immigration systems in the U.S. but fall back on staying in Mexico.

More than a thousand migrants have arrived at the San Ysidro crossing in the past few weeks. Most of the people coming to cross from outside Mexico appear to be from Haiti. Some people here want to get to their families in the United States, said Father Jesús Árambarri, director of Desayunador Salesiano. Others are just in Tijuana because it was easier to get here rather than one of the other ports of entry. He said his facility, like other shelters in the region, is overwhelmed and in need of donations.

“Men’s clothes, men’s shoes, razors, other toiletries, there are hundreds of people coming through here every day, every day who could use those things,” Árambarri said. “Thanks to God, we’re getting through this difficulty.”

People staying in Tijuana say they’re not opposed to asking for humanitarian visas from Mexico’s government, should they be denied the opportunity to travel to the United States; people from Ghana say they are not certain whether they will be able to learn Spanish sufficiently to get a job. It is a concern not shared by Rabiu Musah, who said he has already picked some up.

“If I’m denied, maybe I will choose living here,” said Musah. “If I go back, it could be something like … it might end up with my life in danger. So going back to my country — maybe in a future time, but for now, no.”"
tijuana  border  asylum  migration  borders  refugees  2016  ghana  haiti  mexico  us  honduras 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Tijuana Shelters Help With US Immigration Backlog Of Haitians | KPBS
"U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement that the agency will process these migrants on a “case by case” basis. While migrants await their turn, Tijuana's shelters offer food and a place to sleep. At Madre Asunta, the Haitian women made friends with women from Central America and southern Mexico, who were also staying at the shelter. Their children played together as they communicated in a mix of gestures, smiles, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

“We’re a family,” Mevil said.

She told a Mexican woman about her difficult journey through Latin America, concluding, “I have more lives than a cat.”

The Mexican woman responded, “That means you have six more,” and they giggled together.

Footsteps away from Madre Asunta, a men’s migrant shelter called Casa del Migrante is accepting Haitian men as well as some women and children, because there aren’t enough beds at the women’s shelter.

Director Pat Murphy called the influx of migrants a “crisis” and “an emergency.”

“People here have told us, ‘there are thousands of people coming behind us,’” Murphy said.

During an especially busy day last week, Casa del Migrante slept 56 Haitians in addition to about 150 migrants from southern Mexico and Central America.

In less than two weeks, Murphy said his shelter received migrants from 11 different countries, mostly from Haiti. Murphy said he considers them refugees.

Although these migrants seek to enter the U.S., Tijuana must address the surge during the immigration backlog.

Casa del Migrante and three other Tijuana shelters are offering the migrants food and beds. Mexican immigration officials let the shelters know when U.S. Customs and Border Protection is ready to process a few more people.

“When their place in the line is ready, they call us, and we transport them right to the front door of immigration,” Murphy explained.

But he said Tijuana officials are relying too heavily on the shelters, which depend on donations.

Haitian migrants came just as the shelter was seeing a spike in Central Americans and southern Mexicans fleeing violence, Murphy said. Some had to sleep on the floor.

He said he thinks Tijuana should open a shelter of its own, like those opened during heavy rains tied to El Niño.

“They have to just admit that this isn’t a temporary problem, that this is going to continue for a while,” he said.

In the meantime, Tijuana residents are bringing food, clothes and other donations for the Haitians, Africans and other migrants.

“The best news of all this was the generosity of the people, just showing up at the door, saying, ‘here’s food for 50 people,’” Murphy said. “Even though they’re not rich themselves, they realize, ‘I may have a little bit more to share.’”

Twenty-five-year-old Haitian Jeff Son Pascal arrived at Casa del Migrante in early June, also by way of a two-month journey departing from Brazil.

Like hundreds of other migrants, he slept on the sidewalk just south of the San Ysidro Port of Entry for the first few days. Then he was redirected to the shelter while awaiting his turn to see a U.S. immigration official.

He said he is grateful for Casa del Migrante, where he and other Haitians take turns helping with domestic duties, such as washing clothes and serving food.

“The Casa is very good, very good,” he said in broken Spanish.

Son Pascal embarked on his journey alone, without friends or family, but he said he has made many friends in Tijuana, both Haitian and Mexican.

He said he dreams of a better life in the U.S.

When asked how many people are coming behind him, Son Pascal sighed and said: “Many, many, many, many, many.”"
sandiego  haiti  immigration  border  borders  mexico  brasil  brazil  tijuana  refugees  casadelmigrante  2016  migration  sanysidro  us 
june 2016 by robertogreco
What History Teaches Us About Walls - The New York Times
"It is lost to history whether Hadrian, Qin Shi Huang or Nikita Khrushchev ever uttered, “I will build a wall.”

But build they did, and what happened? The history of walls — to keep people out or in — is also the history of people managing to get around, over and under them. Some come tumbling down.

The classic example is the Great Wall of China. Imposing and remarkably durable, yes, yet it didn’t block various nomadic tribes from the north. History is full of examples of engineering thwarted by goal-oriented rank amateurs. But Donald Trump has promised to build a wall on the United States-Mexican border that he says will be big, beautiful, tall and strong, and he says Mexico will pay for it.

Here’s some more historical perspective on walls."
walls  borders  border  us  mexico  israel  palestine  germany  history  2016  photography  donaldtrump  china  spain  españa  morocco  melilla  hadrian'swall  england  moscow  russia  vaticancity  korea  southkorea  northkorea  romania  roma  warsaw  poland  india  bangladesh  cyprus  ireland  northernireland  mauritania 
may 2016 by robertogreco
Border Cantos - Richard Misrach | Guillermo Galindo
"Border Cantos presents a unique collaboration between photographer Richard Misrach and composer Guillermo Galindo. Misrach has been photographing the two-thousand-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico since 2004, with increased focus starting in 2009—resulting in a distinct melding of the artist as documentarian and interpreter. The latest installation in Misrach’s ongoing Desert Cantos series, this project includes eight suites of photographs—some made with a large-format camera and others that have been captured with an iPhone. Misrach and Galindo have worked together to create pieces that both report on and transform the artifacts of migration: water bottles, clothing, backpacks, Border Patrol “drag tires,” spent shotgun shells, ladders, and sections of the Border Wall itself, which Galindo then fashions into instruments to be performed as unique sound-generating devices; video clips of those performances can be seen on this site. He also imagines graphic musical scores, many of which use Misrach’s photographs as points of departure."

[See also: https://newrepublic.com/article/132220/requiem-border-wall ]
richardmisrach  guillermogalindo  sound  audio  border  borders  us  mexico  photography  migration  music  musicalinstruments  art 
may 2016 by robertogreco
Experts Predict Spike In Migration From San Diego To Tijuana | KPBS
"San Diego has long been a popular place for Mexican immigrants to make their home. But real estate experts predict Tijuana will develop a large community of expatriates from the north.

“Each day I see more and more people from San Diego turning to Tijuana," said César Leal Partida, director of business development for Seica, a Mexican construction company based in Tijuana. "Before, I think they looked at us as not a nice part."

Leal was one of dozens of business leaders who attended the "The Future of U.S./Mexico Real Estate" conference at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina on Thursday. Among other topics, speakers discussed a predicted spike in Americans moving to Tijuana.

They said the cheaper cost of living in Mexico and the comparatively low unit prices are already inspiring numerous San Diegans to move south of the border.

"When they see what they can get — the quality of construction they can get, the quality of their building, the quality of life — they're like, 'Wow, and still I'm a 20-minute drive from downtown San Diego,'" Leal said.

He said San Diegans who move to Tijuana often continue working north of the border, which they cross using the trusted traveler program called Sentri. According to Leal, this new community is solidifying the San Diego-Tijuana identity as a region of literally cross-border citizens, adding that he considers himself one of them.

"I don’t live in Tijuana; I live in Tijuana and San Diego," he said.

Leal's company is behind Mexico’s second LEED certified building in Tijuana: VIA Corporativo, a skyscraper that has attracted unprecedented interest from foreign food lovers because it houses Misión 19, the city's most famous restaurant. Leal said the rising food scene — both street food and fine dining — is helping Tijuana capture the attention of foreigners.

Near VIA Corporativo, Seica is developing a large Tijuana condominium project called Arboleda Residencial, which Leal said is already luring American buyers.

Speakers at the real estate conference noted that Tijuana has long been a destination for migrants from lower-income areas of Central America and southern Mexico. But they said the city is starting to appeal to Americans.

Investments in Tijuana are also shifting from low-wage, low-skill industries to those that are higher-profile and higher-value, partly thanks to cross-border collaboration, said Cristina Hermosillo, president of Tijuana's Economic Development Corporation, which helped organize the real estate conference.

She said the conference is meant to provide a platform for industry leaders from both sides of the border to work together on the evolution of the region.

"We feel that putting together both of our strengths, we can actually market our region more efficiently as a globalized mega-region that integrates talent, innovation, infrastructure and advanced manufacturing," Hermosillo said.

Leal agreed, noting that Tijuana has a surplus of engineers graduating from university while San Diego has a deficit. He said cross-border companies and residents can turn local idiosyncrasies into regional strengths.

He recalled going to school in Monterrey, Mexico and encountering surprise when he told his friends he was moving back to his home town of Tijuana, a smaller city.

"They said, 'Why would you? Monterrey is bigger than Tijuana,'" Leal said. "And I said, 'Yeah, if you compare Tijuana with Monterrey, I agree. It's bigger and more important, whatever you want to call it. But if you put together Tijuana and San Diego, we burn Monterrey easily.'""
sandiego  tijuana  border  borders  housing  costofliving  realestate  2016  migration  viacorporativo 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Into the Beast – Versions
"“I couldn’t care less about empathy,” said Natalie Jeremijenko. “I don’t see VR as a prosthetic for empathy. I refuse that. I think it’s bullshit.”

Few people have been working at the intersections between art, technology, and animals for as long as Jeremijenko, whose eccentric, restlessly interdisciplinary energy has produced an impressive array of bizarre projects. In 2009, she set up an installation along the East River in which participants could send a text message to a fish and receive a response recording its overall health and wellbeing; at Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, a place where many of her ideas have been realized, she built a “Salamander Superhighway” across the road that would tweet whenever salamanders migrated through it, since salamanders, in her view, represent a better potential source of ethical meat than Google’s artificial burger; more recently, she enlisted kids from New York’s PS 153 to use “Feral Robot Dogs”—some of them disturbingly repurposed AIBOs—to sniff out soil contaminants in their local community.

In 2004, Jeremijenko was already thinking about what VR could do to connect humans and animals. But she wasn’t thinking about empathy, which she views as an “atomizing, individuating phenomenon” that should never be instrumentalized. Instead, she asked a counterintuitive question: what might VR be able to do to improve the material lives of animals themselves?

Inspired by the canard digérateur—or “digesting duck”—invented by Jacques de Vaucanson in 1739, Jeremijenko created a fleet of duck and geese robots that could be operated by people wearing VR goggles (with beaks attached). After enlisting local kids from an LA public school, she encouraged them to drive their ersatz waterfowls directly into contact with real-life counterparts. The real ducks and geese never mistook the robots for other real ducks and geese. But the drivers could engage in rudimentary communication with them, learning quickly that a straight neck would be interpreted as aggressive behavior, a craned neck “would allow for a closer approach.” And they would see their interactions firsthand.

“I didn’t build a 3D environment, because we were in one,” she said. “I was actually using a physical avatar in physical space. But it constituted a critique of what it is we do with VR: whether it should be this closed world, fantastical, or whether it should allow us to understand the actual world.”

In one case, the project actually led to environmental change—or at least potential environmental change. After one mecha-goose found a nest full of smashed eggs, she and her team investigated and discovered the root cause: the park authorities had been using petrochemical fertilizers that had compromised the eggs’ structural integrity. They weren’t able to fix the situation, but they did discover a situation that might not have been discovered, precisely because they had been seeing things from a more gooselike POV. The project demonstrated one of Jeremijenko’s central theses in utter clarity: if and when VR and animals come together, the only worthwhile byproduct ought to be actual, material change. Anything else is mere escapism.

For the team behind In the Eyes of the Animal, escapism is the entire point. The project is premised on the idea that a blissful, peacefully psychedelic sensory experience can expand our vision—our moral vision—beyond the scope of the human. “Somehow it creates a cocoon,” Steel said. “It gives you this kind of isolation, in a similar kind of way that you get when you’re walking through the woods and you’ve got no mobile signal. It gives you space to think. It taps into the tranquil state of mind that you can get floating on the surface of water, or sitting on a mountain and looking at the view. That sense of presence.”

Jeremijenko would call bullshit. And in a lot of ways, she has a point, even though In the Eyes of the Animal has the advantage of being much more aesthetically and emotionally arresting than a VR-controlled duck sim in which you look for signs of petrochemical toxicity. Jeremijenko maintains that nothing good will happen from the perspective of environmental health if we let VR transport us to “nature” in the traditional sense: a space pristine, unpolluted, unaffected by our presence. VR could be an agent of real change in what she calls the “environmental commons”—a way of seeing how our animal neighbors actually live, not necessarily through their eyes but at the level of habitat. It could also be a dangerously effective way to ignore that commons: a way to strap on the headset and return to Xanadu while the world silently turns to waste."



"Major new technologies of representation have a tendency to advertise themselves as ways of bringing us into closer contact with “nature”. They also have a tendency to do precisely the opposite. When the aquarium took Britain by storm in the 1850s, it was promoted as a glass box that could bring people into a completely new relationship with the inaccessible ocean depths; it also became a way of framing those depths, making them artificial, subjecting them to editorial control. One of the very first motion pictures was Eadweard Muybridge’s Horse in Motion, which revealed new truths about animal movement; another was Edison’s electrocuted elephant, which proved in the most darkly literal way that technology could destroy animals by making them into spectacles. Nature TV from the David Attenborough 1980s to now has been defined by its gradual, insistent movement toward intimacy: where we once observed them from a reserved distance, we now find ourselves among them, in their lives, in the fray. It has also been adept at hiding its own mediation, at pretending to be a form of closeness when it is really anything but.

We already know what some animal-centric VR experiences are going to look like, and others are pretty easy to imagine. Sir Attenborough himself has already collaborated on VR nature films, insisting that “you actually really are there—inside a rainforest, diving in the ocean or exploring a pyramid, wherever you want to go.” Apps like Ocean Rift unironically use the word “safari” to encapsulate the experience of coming that much closer to exotic creatures. These experiences still place us outside the animal, albeit an inch away. More will come, though, that attempt to place us “inside,” leveraging the power of empathy that seems to be the medium’s unique ethical promise. Much more than Jeremijenko, I’m inclined to think that a piece of software that takes a stab at interspecies empathy could form the basis for material change. I can imagine seeing from the eyes of an orca at SeaWorld. I can imagine feeling a rage that lingers.

At the same time, In the Eyes of the Animal, Jeremijenko’s VR waterfowl, and Theriomorphous Cyborg share one thing in common that should serve as a warning to the creators and consumers of empathy apps in general: all three envision “VR” as a means to “AR,” the self-enclosed app as a means to a more layered, more nuanced understanding of the world—or worlds—in which we live. Perhaps this ought to be the ethical litmus test for empathy apps: what they ask us to do with the experience we’ve had as soon as we take off the headset and return to the world. What they ask us to remember. What they ask us not to forget."
vr  virtualreality  empathy  nataliejeremijenko  via:anne  multispecies  ethics  mattmargini  escapism  pov  jakobvonuexküll  simoneferracina  philipkdick  rickdeckard  nonnydelapeña  border  borders  us  mexico  wilburmercer  richardfeynman  barneysteel 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Robotic Sculptures Will Cross the U.S.-Mexico Border | The Creators Project
"Chico MacMurtrie's Border Crossers are sculptural statements that bridge borders, both physical and symbolic. MacMurtrie plans to install Border Crossers at a range of significant locations, including the U.S.-Mexico border in the artist’s home state of Arizona. Here, the artist would anchor sculptures on both sides of the border. Illuminated from within, the structures would then inflate simultaneously over the border to create six glowing archways, as shown above.

Like the Amorphic Robotic Works director’s previous works—which include his Biomorphic Wall and The Robotic Church—these six sculptures employ robotics to create lightweight, transportable installations. When compressed, Border Crossers can easily fit into a travel backpack. When inflated, however, MacMurtrie’s balloon-like creations can arch over fences and walls and are equipped with sensing and surveillance technology in order to stage the choreographed installation as a “mediatized event.” As the press release explains, “Border Crossers invites the public to rethink the notion of borders in a globalized world […] This project envisions technology as a positive tool to establish dialogues beyond borders, to question borders, and to create a symbolic suspension and transcendence of borders.”

MacMurtrie’s robotic sculptures debuted late last month in San José, California in collaboration with arts organization ZERO1, in the spirit of using art as a platform for social issues. The artist will further the discussion at CalArts’ symposium on Art and Immigration, Immigration: Art/Critique/Process, in March."

[See also: http://amorphicrobotworks.org/works/index.htm
http://www.zero1.org/events/exhibition/border-crosser-chico-macmurtrieamorphic-robot-works
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yeyn_8PSPU ]
chicomacmurtie  border  borders  art  sculpture  arizona  us  mexico  inflatables  robots  immigration  inflatable 
february 2016 by robertogreco
On the Edge | Boom: A Journal of California
"To understand why the Dutch photographer Marie-José Jongerius wanted to photograph in the American Far West—in particular that part of it that runs from Los Angeles inland to Las Vegas, south to Tijuana, and north up through the Central Valley of California—it helps to know something about boundaries and contrast. To know why it’s important to behold her work, it’s critical to know about how that dividing line of sight is not a two-dimensional geometrical figure, but a four-dimensional zone we label the liminal.

Eighty percent of everything we know about the world comes through our eyes, such a vast amount of information (100 million bits per second) that the brain is forced to throw away 90 percent of what hits the surface of the eye, transmitting only 10 percent to the brain for processing. That one-tenth of the world is what we see, the light triaged into about two dozen basic shapes. Circles, ovals, rectilinear shapes such as squares, polygons such as triangles, and then more ambiguously, right angles and arcs. Everything we see in the world is assembled from those shapes, which are made by lines that create the inside and the outside, the left and right, the top and bottom. We are upright bilaterally symmetrical animals, and we organize the information received accordingly. What the lines define around vertical and horizontal axes is boundary contrast, perhaps the second oldest visual notion we own after undifferentiated light and dark. It’s a recognition of line that separates us from the cognition of plants.

Boundaries in the environment are what we tend to move along, as they are rich with information, food, and consequently danger. The edge of the forest where it becomes a meadow is where we find the small animals that are natural human prey. They hide in the safety of the forest, but when they creep and hop and run out into the meadow for food, they become visible and vulnerable. We aren’t so different from the raptors that fly overhead, seeking the same visual information and food source. It’s along the borders and boundaries of the world where photographers can often be found shooting, as well.

The human eye roves about a landscape in staccato movements called saccades. A saccade is a very quick sampling several times a second of what is in front of us; it allows us to identify where we are and what’s around us. Saccades follow general priorities in a rough order: What fits in, what’s anomalous, what displays the bilateral symmetry that can mean friend or foe, what’s in motion and in what direction. When we look at a photograph of a landscape, our eyes tend to follow that same prioritized pattern.

The landscape in which we are most secure while scoping out what’s in our environment is one where we can see and not be seen, and you can see how artists throughout history have intuited that scheme and used it. Claude Lorrain framed his landscapes in the 1600s with dark foliage in the forefront, the view of the artist and viewer alike peering out across the boundary of sanctuary and into the sunlit meadows and ponds beyond. American landscape artists three hundred years later were still using the same format, whether it was Thomas Cole along the Hudson River, Frederic Church in the Andes, or Albert Bierstadt in the Rocky Mountains. Anthropologists call this a conceal-and-reveal, or a refuge-and-prospect landscape. It’s our ancestral home, as well as the design of a contemporary living room, the drapes forming a natural screen from around which we peer onto the street.

The human gaze, whether in the landscape or looking at a picture of a landscape, follows rules shaped by our physical relation to the world, and when an artist takes us out to the edge of where our human neurophysiology is comfortable—out from behind the trees or curtains and into places where boundaries become ambiguous—both our unease and levels of alertness are heightened. When we enter the in-between place, where a line assumes three spatial and dimensions and time as a boundary zone—the liminal—we’re aware that we, too, could become prey, if not to actual threat, then to unnamed fears.

The edge of the shade cast by a tree is seldom a sharp edge, but instead a blurred line caused by the fractal arrangement of leaves overhead, the dappling of sunlight through a permeable crown of foliage, and limbs moving in the breeze. Daylight does not terminate in sudden darkness, even in the tropics where the sun seems to drop like a stone into the ocean; there is always a series of twilights—a civil twilight, a nautical twilight, an astronomical twilight. During the civil stage, the first planets and brightest stars appear. The second stage sees the horizon disappear from view to the navigator. The third is that time of the faintest reflected light high in the atmosphere when we think it’s dark, but it isn’t quite yet.

These are temporal zones of ambiguity that give us pause, and, along with the spatial ones, they have their parallels in everything from literature to architecture. Science fiction horror stories are rife with twilights when the world turns strange. Houses have anterooms, and cities have bridges and sidewalks, places where passage is made but people seldom live. Those people who inhabit such domains are referred to as the homeless. Purgatory is another shaded place of indeterminacy, a rite of passage. This is what is meant by the liminal, where the zone between states means to be both inside and outside, up and down, left and right—and yet none of those things. That is where Marie-José Jongerius searches for her images. The name of her project, Edge of the Experiment, was chosen for a reason.

When Joseph Campbell wrote The Hero with a Thousand Faces, he was working from the work done by the French ethnographer Arnold van Gennep, who in his book The Rites of Passage (1909) described the process of liminaire, the deliberate dislocation of your normal senses into a liminal state of confusion and openness through which pretechnological peoples would pass during initiation rituals in order to gain adulthood or sacred knowledge. The anthropologist Victor Turner (1920–1983), who expanded Gennep’s research, studied rituals and rites among the Ndembu tribe of Zambia. He noted how the experience of an ambiguous zone can lead to paradigm shifts for contemporary individuals as well as tribespeople and postulated that the theater was a liminal space too, suspension of reality during the performance enabling the audience to undergo a transformation.
To work as a writer with photographers in the field, when they are concentrating so hard they cannot talk, is to become entranced with the landscape, to participate in a shared trance.

Making art is a kind of ritual and never more so than for the photographer setting up a tripod and her 4×5 large-format Crown Graphic field camera, framing the view on the ground glass and bringing it into focus, selecting the moment to trip the shutter. Repeated over and over again, especially for those photographers who also do commercial work, such as Jongerius, it becomes an automatic yet hyper-alert, almost Zen-like discipline. To work as a writer with photographers in the field, when they are concentrating so hard they cannot talk, is to become yourself entranced with the landscape, to participate in a shared trance. To couple that mental discipline with a zone of visual ambiguity, a liminal space, is to risk taking your cognition where it hasn’t been before. This is the terrain where Jongerius is happiest."
photography  marie-joséjongerius  california  socal  lasvagas  losangeles  tijuana  liminality  liminal  williamlfox  borders  boundaries  border  landscape  josephcampbell  arnoldvangennep  victorturner  claudelorrain  albertbierstadt  thomascole  fredericchurch  centralvalley  liminalspaces 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Between Borders: American Migrant Crisis - Video - NYTimes.com
"From Central America, thousands of children fleeing poverty and danger make multiple attempts to reach the United States despite increased efforts by Mexico to turn them back."
migration  immigration  us  latinamerica  guatemala  honduras  mexico  children  youth  2015  border  borders  minors  centralamerica  brentrenaud  craigrenaud 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Erasing the US–Mexico Border Fence
"“If a color cannot cure, can it at least incite hope?” writer Maggie Nelson asks in Bluets, a series of prose poems about the color blue. For residents of the border town of Nogales, Mexico, blue has become a promising signal of open skies and porous borders. On October 13, artist Ana Teresa Fernández led a group of volunteers equipped with paint rollers and brushes to “erase” the border fence dividing the US and Mexico.

Students and community members from neighboring Arizona, as well as locals on the Mexican side, helped paint a 50-foot stretch of the almost 2,000-mile border fence on the southern side with a shade of blue closely matching the sky. Volunteers spent six hours covering every inch of the fence, propping up ladders to reach its height of 25 feet.

This event came on the heels of another installation that took place near Douglas, Arizona, and Agua Prieta, Mexico, where artists and community members released large balloons along the border. Ana Teresa Fernández witnessed the installation in Agua Prieta, taking part in a panel with the organizers before heading to Nogales for “Erasing the Border,” the title of her series of border fence erasures.

“The border represents the physical wound of two countries not being able to heal,” Fernández told Hyperallergic in an email. “As immigration becomes more and more of an apparent reality with deeper problems, and intimate stories of despair and frustration get revealed, the general public is more open to listen and talk about it. And art is doing just this, opening a platform to address these issues in new ways, being open, honest, but also imaginative.”

The artist herself once crossed the border with her family, having been born in Tampico, Mexico, and now living in San Francisco. While a student at the San Francisco Art Institute, Fernández worked weekends at restaurants where she spoke with co-workers about their migration experiences. Conversations with her mother, who had an interest in documenting the border through photography, also inspired her to begin the first iteration of “Erasing the Border,” which took place in 2011 at a beach bordering Tijuana and San Diego.

Unlike the 2011 event, in which the artist was almost arrested, the installation in Nogales occurred with broad support from the community, bringing together around 30 volunteers and even inspiring a border patrol agent to participate.

“In Tijuana, the first time, I was almost arrested, just having started painting because I was doing it by myself,” Fernández said. “I explained calmly to the Mexican agent that I was only bringing the sky down and erasing the fence. I could see them squinting their eyes to try and imagine it. I saw one of the agents let out a small smile of having an epiphany. He let me continue and finish.”

The response from the Mexican side of the border fence may differ markedly from the US side. While many Mexicans live alongside the border, sometimes using the fence as a fourth wall for their homes, most Americans only experience the fence from a distance. The US Border Patrol also restricts the public from walking up to the fence.

“I think had I done it in the US side in Nogales, vigilantes would have physically stopped me,” Fernández said. “Every institution I attended or gave a talk at [received calls saying] I was a Mexican Al-Qaeda and terrorist.”

For those participating in and witnessing “Erasing the Border,” the blue-painted fence represents not just a new view, but a way of reflecting on the experience of the border and connecting with others whose lives are impacted by the fence.

“It’s very sad watching families hold hands through here, that’s as far as they go, they can’t even really hug,” Mary Ochoa, a resident of Nogales, Arizona, told ASU Now.

The participation of young and old, both US and Mexican, has encouraged the artist to expand the series for other communities along the border. She hopes to paint a section of the border fence in Texas in the near future, where blue can once again serve as a portal to imagining a borderless society."
2015  anateresafernández  nogales  arizona  us  mexico  border  borders  abeahn  art  publicart  borderart 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Amid Renaissance, Tijuana Looks to Improve Transit
"Tijuana may finally be making progress on improving its public transit.

It’s been a long time coming. The city’s current bus fleet, for instance, is made up of secondhand U.S. school buses, painted in multicolor and privately run. The city’s mayor has acknowledged the issue.

But Tijuana has begun construction on a 23-mile bus rapid transit system – a higher-quality bus service with dedicated lanes, larger and nicer stations and more regular service. It’s expected to be finished in less than a year and will run up to the Puerta Mexico, the Mexican side of the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

The city has also has laid out plans for a light-rail system that links up to the Mexican portion of the railroad known as the Desert Line, or the Via Corta, which is also being renovated for use as a cargo train at night and a passenger train during the day.

Those plans, however, are still just plans. It’s far from a sure thing they’ll ever come to pass.

Oscar A. Cortes, executive coordinator of Binational Relations for the Federation of Civil Engineers from Mexico, said these improvements were a long time coming, but now they’re needed to continue the urban revitalization Tijuana’s gone through in recent years.

“But to continue to do this, we need to pay attention to how we move people,” Cortes said in Spanish.

The BRT will go from Florido, in the southeastern part of Tijuana, to Puerta Mexico, running down Avenida Revolucion and on highways beside the Tijuana River Channel. The project has been in the planning stages for the past four years. It received a grant of roughly $50 million from the Mexican government. Known as La Ruta Troncal or Ruta 1, the BRT will provide service to an estimated 300,000 passengers daily, for the price of a little less than a dollar per ride, said Cortes.

The renovation of the Via Corta, a freight rail that runs from Tecate to Tijuana, is still in its conceptual stages, with plan proposals and studies under way.

The company that’s handling the renovation of the freight line, as well as the Baja government, both presented their visions for the cross-border train and urban light-rail line during the October meeting of a binational group focusing on bridge and border crossing issues, said a spokesperson of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Department.

“Right now, this railroad doesn’t do anything,” Cortes said, in Spanish. “It’s causing big economic delays in the region because we can’t use it.”

A trolley system proposal has also been laid out in a planning document from the Baja secretary of infrastructure and urban development. It is proposed to span about 20 kilometers in Tijuana and could serve 65,000 passengers and would ultimately connect with Via Corta. But it’s is in the very early stages and doesn’t have a funding source yet, Cortes said.

BRT projects have been the public transit of choice in many cities in Latin America, said Dario Hidalgo, director of integrated transport at EMBARQ, a World Resources Institute program that helps the Mexican government oversee public transportation projects it finances.

“Most cities have chosen BRT and bus improvements for its cost-effectiveness,” said Hidalgo. “There are some initiatives for light rail and rail in Tijuana, but as with any federal funding they need to go through an evaluation process and many projects don’t make a cut.”

San Diego’s business community is keeping a close eye on Tijuana’s public transit investments."
tijuana  sandiego  mexico  border  borders  transit  transportation  2015  mayasrikrishnan  busrapidtransit 
december 2015 by robertogreco
San Diego Developers See a New Frontier in Tijuana
"“My favorite disruptive theory is, Tijuana as an affordable housing market for San Diego,” Shannon said.

Tijuana is drawing San Diego developers’ attention for two reasons. One is the emerging market from a growing city undergoing a cultural revival. The second is how difficult and expensive it is to build in San Diego.

“Before there was zero interest from Americans in building here,” said Cesar Leal, director of business development at SEICA, a consulting company in Mexico. “Right now, in the last four months, there’s been a lot more interest showing up.”

Daniel Reeves, the senior vice president of economic development and public policy at Downtown San Diego Partnership, said he doesn’t think this will be a one-off trend for developers.

“You have these forward-looking developers, like Greg Shannon, seeing this,” Reeves said. “I think it is scary for a lot of developers to consider Tijuana, because it’s a different process. But once it pays off for one, we’ll see a flood of people.”

The trend carries its own risks.

While San Diego developers seek relief and opportunity in Tijuana, there is a risk they could shut Mexicans out of the housing market if this becomes a trend.

If more Americans begin building in Tijuana, it may impact housing affordability for moderate- and low-income Mexicans, said Lawrence Herzog, a professor at San Diego State University who focuses on city and regional planning around the U.S.-Mexico border.

Mexicans in the real estate and planning industry, like Leal, are excited about the opportunity to partner with Americans who need their help maneuvering the Mexican system. But affordable has different meaning in San Diego and Tijuana, Herzog said.

“We always have to be very aware of the huge socioeconomic differences between San Diego and Tijuana,” said Herzog.

A $400 to $1,200 rent might be affordable to moderate-income San Diegans; only the low end of that would help a similarly situated moderate-income Baja Californian.

“I would be slightly worried if developers were coming in and building higher-cost housing,” he said.

There are always concerns of gentrification when developers take interest in a new city or neighborhood, said Reeves.

“Anytime that occurs, there should be concerns,” Reeves said. “However, the flip side is those are all construction and service jobs.”

And those jobs can help raise the earnings of lower-income individuals, he said."

Outsourcing San Diego’s Housing Needs

Shannon sees both market-driven and cultural opportunities in Tijuana.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s SENTRI program, which gives pre-screened travelers expedited clearance coming into the country, has made for a less painful border-crossing option. Security concerns have fallen considerably since Sept. 11 and the height of Mexican drug violence. And Baja California is going through its own revitalization – tech hubs, restaurants and local artwork are filling the once abandoned or sleazy storefronts in downtown Tijuana, and Valle de Guadalupe has become a premier wine and food travel destination.

But while Baja is becoming an increasingly appealing place to live, its real estate market needs to catch up.

There’s a dearth of rental units in Tijuana for between $400 and $1,200 per month— there’s high- and low-end, but little in the middle.

But that’s a range where there’s a need, for people on both sides of the border.

Projections from Softec, a Mexico City-based economic and real estate research firm, predict that between 2013 and 2025, Tijuana will need roughly 300,000 homes to meet demand from population increases.

Rental apartments are something new in Mexico, said Leal. Before, apartments were a family business and companies didn’t invest in them in a formal way.

Many Mexicans used to live outside of the city and commute to work, he said.

“But that’s changed a lot now,” Leal said. “People are realizing that the commute wasn’t worth it and people are moving into the city. And the people who moved to San Diego at the worst of the drug violence are moving back because downtown Tijuana is revitalizing.”

That is, some of the increased development could simply benefit those already living in Baja California, or those who relocated in recent years and are looking to come home."
sandiego  tijuana  mexico  border  borders  us  development  mayasrikrishnan  housing  2015 
december 2015 by robertogreco
La Frontera on Vimeo
"La Frontera is a short, animated, documentary tracing a select history of personal and public land use along the El Paso/Juarez border. Barriers of all kinds are erected, layered and sometimes fused together, often resulting in a distorted and obscured view of what exists beyond the edges of the border. Like most bodies of water, the Rio Grande frequently changing course and fluctuates in level, thus resulting in an unreliable border.

The animation consists of drawings based on personal and collective memories of the Rio Grande, the security fence, an art project executed in Juarez that can only be seen from El Paso, a parking structure erected in front of The University of Texas at El Paso, and other examples of land use in close proximity."
border  borders  us  mexico  texas  elpaso  2012  history  landscape  geography  geopolitics  riogrande  landuse  via:debcha  utep 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Refusing to Forget
"The state-sanctioned racial violence on the Mexico-Texas border from 1910 through 1920 prompted a struggle for justice and civil rights that continues to shape relationships in Texas today.

This collaborative project is intended to memorialize and reckon with this period of violence. These efforts will help to recover the contributions of early civil rights activists and reshape common understandings of Texas history. This period of anti-Mexican violence strained and divided generations of Texans.

A public dialogue on this period of violence is timely and necessary to appropriately reflect on the lasting consequences of this period."
border  borders  violence  mexico  texas  us  history  race  racism  via:publichistorian 
july 2015 by robertogreco
The Line on the Map — Failed Architecture
"Last year, photographer Ignacio Evangelista published his work on abandoned border crossings in Europe. After the Schengen Treaty, they were left behind as crumbling remnants of a geopolitical situation that no longer exists. At the same time, they can be seen as a reminder today, in times when the European project isn’t necessarily thriving.

Evangelista continued his visual exploration of borders on the other side of the Atlantic. Earlier this year, he captured the physical border between the United States and Mexico. Through the project, he highlights the implications of borders for the places where they’re located, especially when the ‘line on the map’ becomes a physical barrier cutting through habitats that weren’t necessarily strongly divided before the fences and walls were put up.

The backdrops are often natural settings, whose continuity contradicts the separation created by mankind.

Additionally, the series makes one wonder about themes such as migration, nationalism, tolerance, and bilateral relations."
border  borders  us  mexico  ignacioevangelista  via:javierarbona 
june 2015 by robertogreco
'I am a citizen': when border patrol agents violate the rights of US residents | US news | The Guardian
"As one Arizona border community calls for closure of checkpoint, concerns grow over increased racial profiling and invasion of civil rights"



"‘If I had white skin and blue eyes’
Wray is originally from Mexico and believes that agents treat her with suspicion as a result. “I have a brown colour and I’m very proud of my colour,” she said. “A couple of times they have asked for an ID for me to prove that I am a US citizen and they don’t believe my words. That makes me feel bad because if I’m saying I’m a US citizen it’s because I am. But they don’t believe it.

“If I had white skin and blue eyes … other people who aren’t even US citizens, they could be from Argentina or other places, but they’re white and they don’t ask those questions,” she said. “They’re still treating me like I walked [in from] the desert yesterday.”

The 57-year-old part-time library worker worries that the checkpoint has a negative effect on the town’s economy and a psychological impact on locals. “They make it look like a war zone and I don’t like it. My grandson is 10 years old and I want him to grow up in a place where he doesn’t see all these men in uniform with guns. The children are growing and they see all this and they think it’s normal, they think it’s a normal way of life,” she said.

Activists also argue that the true purpose of the Arivaca checkpoint and others is not interception but to act as a deterrent. This, they say, forces migrants crossing the border to trek through dangerous, remote terrain to avoid detection, resulting in deaths. The Los Angeles Times reported in 2013 that migrant death rates in southern Arizona were at an all-time high.

Border Patrol has insisted that Arivaca and the dozens of other interior permanent or temporary checkpoints in Arizona and across the US are legal and play a vital role in reducing illegal activity, such as drug and people smuggling."
2015  arizona  border  borders  us  mexico  racialprofiling  profiling  race  borderpatrol 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Storylines TJ/SD
"Storylines TJ/SD maps subjective narratives from the past century that mark, trace, and challenge the transborder condition of Tijuana/San Diego, by highlighting bilingual stories of place-based resistance that have often gone underrepresented and bringing first person narrative to a region that is often interpreted through dehumanizing ideologies.

Organized by a binational editorial board of artists, art historians, and activists, Storylines: TJ/SD serves as a living narrative archive, manifesting as both live programming + public events accessible on both sides of the border, and as an interactive website and podcast released serially.

Storylines TJ/SD is:

Kate Clark (SD)

Misael Diaz (TJ)

Amy Sanchez (TJ)

Emily Sevier (SD)

Sara Solaimani (SD)

Adriana Trujillo (TJ)"
sandiego  tijuana  border  borders  stories  storytelling  bilingual  spanish  english  español  via:publichistorian  kateclark  misaeldiaz  amysanchez  emilysevier  srasolaimani  adrianatrujillo  art  history  events  mexico  us  activism  resistance  place 
april 2015 by robertogreco
6, 52: Continuity
"Pleistocene Park has been in the news, maybe off this Independent coverage. My hunch is that rewilding and de-extinction (and cautious geoengineering generally) are probably great ideas and we’ll come to regret that we didn’t do our scientific and political due diligence earlier. But that’s only a strong opinion weakly held, and what seems more interesting now is understanding how Pleistocene Park, as a flagship, plays in the media.

It’s telling, for example, that Jurassic Park is so often the introductory metaphor. A few months ago, this newsletter mentioned the Crescent Ridge Dawn Redwoods Preserve, another private rewilding project that’s more radical in at least five ways: (1) how close it is to people, (2) how far back in time it goes, (3) that it’s rewilding a species that was naturally locally extinct, (4) in terms of biomass turnover, and (5) how far along it is – already finding previously undocumented behavior. But Crescent Ridge is only charismatic megaflora, and Pleistocene Park just has to say “mammoth” to be news.

I think some of that comes down to people fearing mammoths. There’s maybe a sense that we would be in competition, that in a few years they might be intimidating joggers in Yakutsk and trampling wheat fields in Irkutsk. In other words, that large wild animals should probably not exist.

– I had buffalo burger for brunch today. The bison were the largest North American animals to survive the climate change and hunting at the end of the last glacial maximum. There were something like 25,000,000 of them before the United States. In 1890, there were about 1,100. Now there are about 500,000, many of them more or less sustainably ranched.

– Via @annegalloway’s more-than-human lab’s tumblr, 3,200 toy tigers around space for 40,000."



"Tangentially: the nearest big city to Bisie is Goma, on the Rwandan border, between Lake Kivu and Mount Nyiragongo. @jw_rosen has just written two articles about Goma and the lake: After years of war, Goma, DRC, is open for business and (with lovely photographs by Jason Florio) Lake Kivu’s Great Gas Gamble. Rosen is wary of many of the traps that certain other Western journalists are stuck in like wasps in bottles when they try to talk about the region. The gorillas, for example. Or the old National Geographic angle that I remember someone parodying with a line like “Biknis and Uzis: Beautiful, Troubled Brazil is a Land of Contrasts at a Crossroads”. Rosen manages to show a picture of Goma that encompasses complexity without absurdly exoticizing it, that can show M23, Au Bon Pain, natural disasters, and kombucha without being like “See?! This place is weirder than your place!”

(There are a couple angles here that I’m saving for another time, but just because I want to, here are two Goma-related videos I enjoyed: a cover of Pharrell’s Happy and Lake Kivu – Bukavu to Goma.)"



"This morning I read about the Mediterranean drownings, and the unidentified bodies of people who die of dehydration while crossing the border into Arizona, and then rich countries’ hesitations about bringing in Syrian refugees. I see the camps, you know. In the satellite imagery. It’s not as important as listening to the people in them. But helps me relate in other ways. The big ones – Zaatari, Dadaab – are as big as cities. They are cities, cities on life support.

My grandfather’s family were Czech Jews who narrowly avoided the Holocaust. The wealthy nations wouldn’t give them visas. Everyone could see what Hitler was up to. But the US and others still had antisemitic – anti–virtually-everyone – immigration quotas. When it mattered, there were two places in the world that would let them in: China and Bolivia. They went to Bolivia, and as antisemitism became less fashionable toward the end of the war they got to come to America. I’m grateful for what continuity I have with them: the saved letters, the family traits in stories. When I see people dying to cross borders today, I see more continuity. Not same-ness, just continuity. I can’t see people as desperate as my ancestors were and pretend it’s completely different. Everyone in danger of their life deserves help. They don’t earn that responsibility from the rest of us. They just have it, by being a person.

“We’d love to take refugees, but gosh, how can we guarantee that among these starving people and enemies of oppressive states there isn’t anyone who might fractionally lessen our own sense of security?”

“We’d love to take refugees, but gosh, first we have to process them!”

“We’d love to take refugees, but gosh, there’s all this darn paperwork!”

The thing about geography, for me, is continuity. Everywhere is related in calculable ways to everywhere else. There are walls on the ground, but the numbers move smoothly through them. The numbers come from land grabs and military ballistics. We can use them as invisible but omnipresent reminders that you can get there from here.

When I was small, I was used to worldbuilding fiction where the writer had left some things undiscovered. Often this must have been a way to build an ethos of mystery, of romance, of potential, of nascence. Other times it was probably a practical way of leaving options open for the settings of later books in the series. It was very unfair that on the real globe, everything habitable was explored. It felt mean to give the reader a world without the potential for huge lost societies who might have figured out a lot of surprising stuff. “This is all you get.” Rude."
africa  euope  us  migration  immigration  refugees  2015  charlieloyd  borders  border  mexico  congo  drc  bisie  goma  mining  lakekivu  landsat  landsat9  rewilding  crescentridgedawnredwoodspreserve  de-extinction  mammoths  magaflora  magafauna  science  sustainability  terraforming  bison  biomass  pleistocenepark  geoengineering  anthropocene  humanism  personhood  compassion  continuity  geography  society  policy  politics  politicalgeography  safety  security  fear 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Yuri Herrera’s <br><i>Signs Preceding the End of the World</i> — Music & Literature
[Other reviews of note:
http://thequietus.com/articles/17625-yuri-herrera-signs-preceding-the-end-of-the-world-novel-review-mccarthy-breaking-bad-border-fiction
http://www.themillions.com/2015/03/the-book-report-episode-13-signs-preceding-the-end-of-the-world-by-yuri-herrera.html
http://www.bookslut.com/fiction/2015_03_021144.php
http://www.theliteraryreview.org/book-review/a-review-of-signs-preceding-the-end-of-the-world-by-yuri-herrera/

Plus a note from the translator:
http://andotherstoriespublishing.tumblr.com/post/89747240811/translator-lisa-dillman-on-yuri-herreras-signs ]

"Things are different on the other side. What jumps out is an almost biblical bleakness, as though the world itself were beginning anew. “First there was nothing,” that section begins. The unfamiliar land itself presents an ample canvas for invention. But for Herrera, the crossing is as much about the construction of myth as it is about its deconstruction. Herrera plays with this idea most directly when Makina encounters “homegrowns,” Mexicans like herself, who have immigrated to “anglo” territory. They have become servers, dishwashers, maids, “playing it sly so as not to let on to any shared objective, and instead just, just, just: just there to take orders.” They are standing members of the underclass in a segregated, consumerist country. But it is their language above all that embodies the contradiction inherent to their condition:
They speak an intermediary tongue that Makina instantly warms to because it’s like her: malleable, erasable, permeable; a hinge pivoting between two like but distant souls, and then two more, and then two more, never exactly the same ones; something that serves as a link. . . . More than the midpoint between homegrown and anglo their tongue is a nebulous territory between what is dying out and what is not yet born. . . . In it brims nostalgia for the land they left or never knew when they use the words with which they name objects; while actions are alluded to with an anglo verb conjugated latin-style, pinning on a sonorous tail from back there.

It is hard not to quote from this section at greater length. Really, it’s one of the most necessary in the novel, because it suggests that it is only from this intermediary place, between languages, between worlds, that the old stories can be rewritten—and Signs Preceding the End of the World is an attempt to do just that.

For Lisa Dillman, the book’s translator, Herrera’s linguistic call to arms to poses a host of interesting problems. The novel itself is written in language rooted on both sides of the border, the “nebulous territory for what is dying out and what is not yet born.” In practice, this means finding a way to convey Herrera’s invented Spanish in intelligible English. A handful of such anglo-latinisms recur in the book. The most frequent is to verse, which functions like to leave or go. (As Dillman notes in her translator’s afterword, the original Spanish neologism, jarchar, refers, by way of Arabic, to couplets that were added to Arabic or Hebrew poems, intended to bridge culture and language, in Al-Andalus, present-day Spain.) Dillman also verbs nouns and “pins sonorous tails from back there” so that root, as a verb, for example, cleverly becomes rootle, making it seem as though the woman digging through Makina’s purse has been invited to have a look around. At a broader level, the diction is a playful mix of high and low, with frequent poetry-slam–like assonances, as though the book were meant to be read aloud to a quiet beat; it is at times slangy, at times arch, at times an odd confusion of both: “I’m going for my bro,” Makina says. “He’s the stupid sap who went over for a little land.”

When it works and when it doesn’t, though it usually does, Herrera’s language teaches the reader how to inhabit the text’s dislocated geography, and Dillman should be commended for arriving at this distant target. It would be hard to pin a word or phrase to a place without finding one to contradict that verdict on the next page. Her translation does what the best translations should do, namely, grow the bounds of English so that it feels larger than before, more lexically and syntactically diverse, strange, unexpected. That her prose is often striking and beautiful makes it all the richer.

Transference across borders and between languages can be marked by a beginning and an end: the moment when something stops being one thing and becomes another. In Signs Preceding the End of the World, Herrera interrogates the nature of that change, its inevitability, its often brutish force, as it sweeps through a time and a place and a people. It is a force that Makina, now beyond the border, sees acting on her and the world around her:
[The snowflake] looked like a stack of crosses or the map of a place, a solid and intricate marvel at any rate, and when it dissolved a few seconds later she wondered how it was that some things in the world—some countries, some people—could seem eternal when everything was actually like that miniature ice palace: one-of-a-kind, precious, fragile.

The reader wonders what this dissolution will mean for Makina. But here, despite its best intentions, the novel does not dig deep enough into the dirt of human consequence, even if we understand her fate. Her fear is described but not adequately felt; the slow change that we expect in her is lost in a hurried conclusion, underground. In its hundred-odd pages, Signs Preceding the End of the World manages to be many things at once: an allegory, a dark myth, an epic, a compelling meditation on language. In the end, however, Makina and the reader are left with the darkness."

[My notes on Twitter:

While AFK this weekend, I read Yuri Herrera’s *Signs Preceding the End of the World* as translated (no access to original) by Lisa Dillman.
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/587452905139138560

For more info on the book, see Adam Z. Levy’s review. http://www.musicandliterature.org/reviews/2015/4/3/yuri-herreras-signs-preceding-the-end-of-the-world … I esp. like this line on translation. http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/115788956338/her-translation-does-what-the-best-translations
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/587453584444366849

What follows are a few lines I copied to a notebook from the book (*Signs Preceding the End of the World*) itself. To give you a taste
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/587453956428800000

“Makina spoke all three [tongues], and knew how to keep quiet in all three, too.”

“Makina thought she could hear all the water in her body making its way through her skin to the surface.”

“All cooking is Mexican cooking, she said to herself.”

“And how on versing out to the street, they sought to make amends for their momentary one-up by becoming wooden again so as not to offend…”

I’ll stop there. A short, powerful book that follows this lead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24gCI3Ur7FM … (ht @vruba + @aredridel) https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:86c4daf20acf
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/587457312341778432

And I really like what @andothertweets is doing with publishing, as I stated previously. https://twitter.com/rogre/status/571201423548899328
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/587457679586684928 ]
yuriherrera  lisadillman  adamlevy  translation  books  mexico  us  borders  crossings  border  literature  language  spanish  español  english 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Tomgram: Miller and Schivone, Bringing the Battlefield to the Border | TomDispatch
"It was October 2012. Roei Elkabetz, a brigadier general for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), was explaining his country’s border policing strategies. In his PowerPoint presentation, a photo of the enclosure wall that isolates the Gaza Strip from Israel clicked onscreen. “We have learned lots from Gaza,” he told the audience. “It’s a great laboratory.”

Elkabetz was speaking at a border technology conference and fair surrounded by a dazzling display of technology -- the components of his boundary-building lab. There were surveillance balloons with high-powered cameras floating over a desert-camouflaged armored vehicle made by Lockheed Martin. There were seismic sensor systems used to detect the movement of people and other wonders of the modern border-policing world. Around Elkabetz, you could see vivid examples of where the future of such policing was heading, as imagined not by a dystopian science fiction writer but by some of the top corporate techno-innovators on the planet.

Swimming in a sea of border security, the brigadier general was, however, not surrounded by the Mediterranean but by a parched West Texas landscape. He was in El Paso, a 10-minute walk from the wall that separates the United States from Mexico.

Just a few more minutes on foot and Elkabetz could have watched green-striped U.S. Border Patrol vehicles inching along the trickling Rio Grande in front of Ciudad Juarez, one of Mexico’s largest cities filled with U.S. factories and the dead of that country’s drug wars. The Border Patrol agents whom the general might have spotted were then being up-armored with a lethal combination of surveillance technologies, military hardware, assault rifles, helicopters, and drones. This once-peaceful place was being transformed into what Timothy Dunn, in his book The Militarization of the U.S. Mexico Border, terms a state of “low-intensity warfare.”"



"No one may frame the budding romance between Israel’s high-tech companies and Arizona better than Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. “If you go to Israel and you come to Southern Arizona and close your eyes and spin yourself a few times,” he says, “you might not be able to tell the difference.”

Global Advantage is a business project based on a partnership between the University of Arizona’s Tech Parks Arizona and the Offshore Group, a business advisory and housing firm which offers “nearshore solutions for manufacturers of any size” just across the border in Mexico. Tech Parks Arizona has the lawyers, accountants, and scholars, as well as the technical knowhow, to help any foreign company land softly and set up shop in the state. It will aid that company in addressing legal issues, achieving regulatory compliance, and even finding qualified employees -- and through a program it’s called the Israel Business Initiative, Global Advantage has identified its target country.

Think of it as the perfect example of a post-NAFTA world in which companies dedicated to stopping border crossers are ever freer to cross the same borders themselves. In the spirit of free trade that created the NAFTA treaty, the latest border fortification programs are designed to eliminate borders when it comes to letting high-tech companies from across the seas set up in the United States and make use of Mexico’s manufacturing base to create their products. While Israel and Arizona may be separated by thousands of miles, Rothschild assured TomDispatch that in “economics, there are no borders.”"



"Arizona, as Weiner puts it, possesses the “complete package” for such Israeli companies. “We’re sitting right on the border, close to Fort Huachuca,” a nearby military base where, among other things, technicians control the drones surveilling the borderlands. “We have the relationship with Customs and Border Protection, so there’s a lot going on here. And we’re also the Center of Excellence on Homeland Security.”

Weiner is referring to the fact that, in 2008, DHS designated the University of Arizona the lead school for the Center of Excellence on Border Security and Immigration. Thanks to that, it has since received millions of dollars in federal grants. Focusing on research and development of border-policing technologies, the center is a place where, among other things, engineers are studying locust wings in order to create miniature drones equipped with cameras that can get into the tiniest of spaces near ground level, while large drones like the Predator B continue to buzz over the borderlands at 30,000 feet (despite the fact that a recent audit by the inspector general of homeland security found them a waste of money).

Although the Arizona-Israeli romance is still in the courtship stage, excitement about its possibilities is growing. Officials from Tech Parks Arizona see Global Advantage as the perfect way to strengthen the U.S.-Israel “special relationship.” There is no other place in the world with a higher concentration of homeland security tech companies than Israel. Six hundred tech start-ups are launched in Tel Aviv alone every year. During the Gaza offensive last summer, Bloomberg reported that investment in such companies had “actually accelerated.” However, despite the periodic military operations in Gaza and the incessant build-up of the Israeli homeland security regime, there are serious limitations to the local market.

The Israeli Ministry of Economy is painfully aware of this. Its officials know that the growth of the Israeli economy is “largely fueled by a steady increase in exports and foreign investment.” The government coddles, cultivates, and supports these start-up tech companies until their products are market-ready. Among them have been innovations like the “skunk,” a liquid with a putrid odor meant to stop unruly crowds in their tracks. The ministry has also been successful in taking such products to market across the globe. In the decade following 9/11, sales of Israeli “security exports” rose from $2 billion to $7 billion annually.

Israeli companies have sold surveillance drones to Latin American countries like Mexico, Chile, and Colombia, and massive security systems to India and Brazil, where an electro-optic surveillance system will be deployed along the country’s borders with Paraguay and Bolivia. They have also been involved in preparations for policing the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. The products of Elbit Systems and its subsidiaries are now in use from the Americas and Europe to Australia. Meanwhile, that mammoth security firm is ever more involved in finding “civilian applications” for its war technologies. It is also ever more dedicated to bringing the battlefield to the world’s borderlands, including southern Arizona.

As geographer Joseph Nevins notes, although there are many differences between the political situations of the U.S. and Israel, both Israel-Palestine and Arizona share a focus on keeping out “those deemed permanent outsiders,” whether Palestinians, undocumented Latin Americans, or indigenous people.

Mohyeddin Abdulaziz has seen this “special relationship” from both sides, as a Palestinian refugee whose home and village Israeli military forces destroyed in 1967 and as a long-time resident of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. A founding member of the Southern Arizona BDS Network, whose goal is to pressure U.S. divestment from Israeli companies, Abdulaziz opposes any program like Global Advantage that will contribute to the further militarization of the border, especially when it also sanitizes Israel’s “violations of human rights and international law.”

Such violations matter little, of course, when there is money to be made, as Brigadier General Elkabetz indicated at that 2012 border technology conference. Given the direction that both the U.S. and Israel are taking when it comes to their borderlands, the deals being brokered at the University of Arizona look increasingly like matches made in heaven (or perhaps hell). As a result, there is truth packed into journalist Dan Cohen’s comment that “Arizona is the Israel of the United States.”"
border  borders  us  mexico  israel  palestine  gaza  2015  drones  surveillance  militarization  arizona  naomiweiner  toddmiller  gabrielschivone  economics  warfare  business 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Smugglers Use SENTRI Drivers To Move Drugs Across San Diego Border | KPBS
"Authorities have learned of at least three similar incidents in San Diego since then, all involving drivers enrolled in the popular SENTRI program, which stands for Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection.

There were 12.6 million SENTRI vehicle crossings in 2013, more than double the 5.9 million four years earlier.

The program enables hundreds of thousands of people who pass extensive background checks to whiz past inspectors with less scrutiny. Signing up can reduce rush-hour wait times from more than two hours to less than 15 minutes at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the nation's busiest land border crossing.

But like other pre-screening programs, there's a potential downside: The traveler can become a target, and such cases can be tricky for investigators when people caught with drugs claim they were planted.

Using magnets under cars isn't new, but this string of cases is unusual, said Pete Flores, field office director for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

"It's a cat-and-mouse game," Flores said. "Each change they make prompts a change from law enforcement, which in turn prompts them to again change their tactics."

The main targets are people who park for hours in Mexico and keep regular patterns, said Lauren Mack, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Smugglers track their movements on both sides of the border, figuring out their travel habits. It takes only seconds to attach and remove the magnetized containers."
sandiego  sentri  border  borders  drugs  2015  mexico  us  smuggling  tijuana  sanysidro 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Projects » TD
"Vrij Nederland (47/2006),Catalogue Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2007, domus 927 (07/08/2009)

Accelerated through the fear from the attacks of 9/11 and all what followed, the so called ‘Western Society’ is constructing the greatest wall ever build on this planet. On different building sites on all five inhabitable continents, walls, fences and high-tech border surveillance are under construction in order to secure the citizens and their high quality of life within this system. The fall of the Berlin Wall was described as the historical moment that marks the demolition of world’s last barrier between nation states. Yet it took the European Union only six years to create with the Schengen Agreement in 1995 a new division only 80km offset to the east of Berlin.

Producer: Theo Deutinger"
global  world  2006  walls  maps  mapping  inequality  security  border  borders  fences  surveillance  eu  us  theodeutinger 
january 2015 by robertogreco
The Avery Review | Air Nationalism: Norman Foster and Fernando Romero’s Mexico City Airport
"As air travel increasingly compresses our muscles and nerves—cue threats of thrombosis and incidents of passenger rage—airports expand their programs, taking up increasingly larger swaths of land. These programs, inflated by extensive security protocols and ambitious retail spaces, are usually arranged under sculptural canopies, like extra weight tucked under additional layers of clothing. Anthropologist Marc Augé famously described airports as “non-places,” generic spaces of transience that resist the rootedness of memory.1 However, the increase in border security has turned Augé’s description upside down. As the architecture that often constitutes a country’s first point of entry, airports are borders, and as such have become loaded with cultural and patriotic tropes. This nationalist anxiety hides the real politics of the expanded airport program.

A few weeks ago, the Mexican state unveiled the plans for a new airport to serve Mexico City, in the form of a digital video that was equal parts promotional rendering and documentary homage to the leader of the design team, Lord Norman Foster. The competition (which Alejandro Hernández has rightly criticized for its lack of transparency) paired famed international architects with local designers—the rationale, one has to assume, being that the Mexicans alone didn’t have sufficient experience in airport design. Foster’s Mexican complement is the young architect Fernando Romero—communication magnate Carlos Slim’s son-in-law. The need to include both a “local” representative and a big name from the world of architecture stardom has the further effect of directing attention away from the third but equally vital component of the team—the airport consultancy. In the winning team, this firm is Netherlands Airport Consultants (NACO), a Dutch firm with a long history of designing and supervising airports in Saudi Arabia. They describe their role as involved in “every aspect of airport design and development.” The delightful coincidence of their acronym “NACO”—a distinctively pejorative term for “unculturedness” in Mexican Spanish—doesn’t fully explain their almost occult presence in the project. The presence of their technical expertise runs counter to the video’s portrayal of Foster’s extensive experience with the airport typology (“the most highly qualified airport architect in the world”), and it reveals Foster’s participation as something other than that of the “outside expert.” The design team instead triangulates between global stardom, increasingly specialized technical expertise, and a questionably “local” avatar of Mexican identity. These multiple readings—purposefully sought by the Mexican state and enthusiastically illustrated in Foster’s competition submission—mark the building as yet another attempt to overcome the irreconcilable binary of local and global through a kind of architectural ambivalence."



"It is easy to criticize Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, or any number of “starchitects” for their involvement or lack thereof in the processes and regimes with which they collaborate. But it’s more important, and more difficult, to take on these architects’ professed impotence. As program complexity increases, the figure of the consultant has pushed aside many of the roles that architects previously assumed. If we compare these architects’ secondary roles to that of Pani in Tlatelolco, we get a sense of how the discipline has been split between the form-making of the architect-artist and the programmatic management of the consultant. In this light, the program of the building is a conspicuous absence in Foster’s video. While the architectural membrane becomes loaded with a series of nationalist messages, its operational aspects are omitted. Architecture here is reduced to form on the outside and well-lit void on the inside. The architects are thus recast as form- and image-makers in search of the objective correlative of a globalized Mexican state. Or to say it more simply, they’re three-dimensional publicists.

In order for the global network of airports to function, their programs have become increasingly precise and standardized according to elaborate specifications. For the cosmopolitan traveler, increased security protocols seem to go hand in hand with expanded retail opportunities. This is where the real spatial politics of the airport program lie—in the entrails of corridors that sort us by immigration status, in the machines that scan our bodies and our belongings, in the long lines of human beings surrendering their dignity in exchange for the illusory promise of safety. It is telling that the bulk of airport retail is located between the two poles of security, the security check upon departure, and immigration control upon international arrival. Caught in this limbo, we are left free to wander through the world of duty-free shopping, international retail chains, and overpriced food—fear, assuaged by consumption. These spaces are absent from the architectural brief as described by Foster. The emphasis on nationalist tropes, from eagles to serpents, is a desperate populist appeal covering up the construction of a highly politicized space. This video invites us to join the architects in turning a blind eye to these realities."
anamaríaleón  airports  architecture  borders  border  mexicocity  mexicodf  mexico  design  retail  capitalism  neoliberalism  marcaugé  normanfoster  fernandoromero  arrival  departure  tlatelolco  zahahadid  df 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Teddy Cruz to Ted Cruz: Tear Down That Wall | Creative Time Reports
"In an open letter, the renowned urbanist urges the Republican senator to embrace immigration reform—and the creative intelligence of immigrant communities."



"We should recognize and celebrate the innovations of immigrants, because their tactics of survival and self-made entrepreneurship form the core of a more emancipatory idea of the American dream. As an urbanist I look at the complex networks of informal economic exchange and mixed-use housing in immigrant communities and am compelled to ask: How can the human capacity and creative intelligence embedded in migrant communities be amplified to rethink sustainability? Can a cross-border citizen—say, someone who lives in Tijuana and works in San Diego—bring about an idea of citizenship rooted in the shared values and interests between two divided cities? How can immigrant communities help us think about strengthening the social ties and economic landscapes of all our communities, particularly in border cities where American families go back generations?

Because of the opportunities opened up by border territories, I take a stand against your anti-democratic legislation, Senator Cruz. The extremist cultural war that you and your party have waged against the ethical imperative for shared values will only solidify our nation’s global isolation. Do you really have the audacity to claim that undocumented immigrants, the poorest and most marginalized human beings dwelling among us, are the greatest threat to our American way of life? Even after studies have shown that our current deportation program has had “no observable effect on the overall crime rate”? Ultimately a society that is anti-taxes, anti-immigrants, anti-government and anti–public infrastructure only commits civic (and economic) suicide. If we do not reverse the polarizing policies spearheaded primarily by your party, they will lead to the obsolescence of the United States as a global leader in defining how a pluralistic democracy should work.

The truth of the matter is that in today’s world we cannot go it alone—nor can we impose our will on others by force. The problems of Mexico and Central America are ours too. The problems of Ferguson, MO, and other communities with marginalized populations are not isolated from the halls of Washington. We cannot wish away the problems of such places with guns and fences; instead we must listen to, and cooperate with, those most affected by our policies.

"Empathy, of the sort promised on the Statue of Liberty’s plaque, must be at the center of today’s debates. I believe that an absence of empathy also entails a lack of care for ourselves, because we can always find ourselves in the place of others. For this reason, economic and urban growth cannot come at the expense of social equity. The drive to privatize cannot overrun public infrastructure. Mistrust of government cannot undermine the need to protect our shared values. And your hollow notions of freedom and progress, Senator Cruz, cannot and must not subordinate our collective responsibilities to individual self-interest.

Please consider this point, Senator Cruz: immigrants are not threats; they may in fact be our best teachers. So let’s be pragmatic and find an intelligent and just process to provide a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented workers who are already here with us in the United States. They are not returning willingly to the violence and oppression that they escaped, and they are an economic and cultural engine for our country—an engine that you and I have been lucky to be part of as immigrants, documented or not."

[via: http://jonerichall.com/post/103404504479/its-time-for-a-new-border-narrative-based-on-reality ]
teddycruz  tedcruz  2014  border  borders  immigration  economics  urbanism  urbanplanning  urban  cities  militarization  infrastructure  policy  politics  us  immigrants  democracy 
november 2014 by robertogreco
The California Sunday Magazine
"Although Richard Misrach has been photographing the American desert for more than 40 years, it wasn’t until 2009 that he decided to turn his full attention to the 1,969-mile border between the United States and Mexico. The multibillion-dollar barrier under construction , with long sections made out of Corten steel, was radically reconfiguring the landscape. It was, he says, an eye-opener — he saw the border as a place where politics and culture collided against each other with unexpected, and often tragic, implications. Misrach has always been interested in what he calls “traces of the future,” objects whose meanings are not clear when he photographs them but that emerge over time, signaling a new historic moment. The building of the border wall was one such moment. Ever since, he has traveled from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico six times a year looking for the future.

For most of his career, Misrach has worked alone, but two years ago, he began to collaborate with the composer Guillermo Galindo. Galindo’s music, written for instruments made from objects found along the border, will interact with Misrach’s photographs in an exhibition that the San Jose Museum of Art is mounting in the spring of 2016. The exhibition will tour the country through 2018, and Aperture will publish a book documenting the collaboration. These photographs appear here for the first time."
border  borders  us  mexico  california  richardmisrach  photography  2014  texas  guillermogalindo 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Drug seizures along the U.S.-Mexico border | The Center for Investigative Reporting
"The U.S. Border Patrol seized 13.2 million pounds of marijuana from 2005 to 2011 at checkpoints and stations near the U.S.-Mexico border. (Much less was seized at ports of entry.) Arizona and Texas are increasingly the epicenters of marijuana seizure activity."
maps  mapping  border  borders  us  mexico  drugs  marijuana  2014 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Beyond the border: the US's deadly immigration crisis | World | The Guardian
"Texas has become the deadliest state in the US for undocumented immigrants. In 2012, 271 migrants died while crossing through Texas, surpassing Arizona as the nation's most dangerous entry point. The majority of those deaths didn't occur at the Texas-Mexico border but in rural Brooks County, 70 miles north of the Rio Grande, where the US Border Patrol has a checkpoint. To circumvent the checkpoint, migrants must leave the highway and hike through the rugged ranchlands. Hundreds die each year on the trek, most from heat stroke. This four-part series looks at the lives impacted by the humanitarian crisis."
border  borders  us  mexico  texas  centralamerica  death  2014  via:vruba  riogrande  riobravo  brookscounty 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Tijuana: life on the political equator | Cities | theguardian.com
"In one of those speculative reports full of foreboding about our urban future, UN-Habitat has predicted that this century metropolises will start joining up like blobs of mercury, crossing international borders to form urban mega-regions. Tijuana-San Diego is an intriguing prospect because the border is not just national but forms part of an imaginary line dividing the global South and North, the developing and developed worlds. This is what Cruz calls the political equator. The question is how the two worlds on either side of it can influence each other?"



"Cruz has done pioneering work in Los Laureles. He was the first to point out that the waste from San Diego’s construction industry was being recycled into new homes here. Further along the valley, where the settlement is more precarious, the evidence is everywhere. “You see those yellow walls?” says Cruz, pointing to the side of a house. “Those are garage doors from San Diego.” Garage doors are a popular material in this canyon. The houses are works of assemblage, like habitable collages. Elsewhere, there are whole post-war prefab houses, simply transplanted from the San Diego suburbs by truck. In crowded areas these are sometimes raised up on metal stilts, right on top of another house – a phenomenon Cruz calls “club sandwich urbanisation". He was so captivated by this practice that at one point he collaborated with amaquiladora to cheaply manufacture space frames specifically for raising up old bungalows. It was a kit of parts for building club sandwiches.

The use of readymades like this has led Cruz to describe such neighbourhoods in Tijuana as purely productive, as opposed to the consumption-based model across the border. Here, San Diego’s waste is recycled to build new communities. Revealing this symbiotic relationship was one way of ascribing value to a type of settlement that is under-respected. “This level of activity needs to be amplified if we’re going to understand the sustainable city,” he says. But while Cruz celebrates such creativity, he is careful not to imply that such communities don’t still need help.

Most of Los Laureles is informal, technically an illegal squatter settlement, but many of the residents have begun the process of acquiring land titles. It is a slow process through which residents incrementally buy legal status and in exchange get the utility services and the political representation that come with it.

This is the kind of administrative process that Cruz has been at pains to engage with. For him, architectural design is far less important than the bureaucratic systems that determine whether communities are empowered or disempowered. And this is precisely one of those cases, where informal communities have the resourcefulness to build homes out of garage doors but not the bureaucratic tools – a legal address, for instance – to find employment outside of the informal sector."



"“This is the laboratory for me in the next five years,” says Cruz. “The first thing Oscar and I want to do is to build a community centre/scientific field station to work on the pollution and water issues.” The big question is whether he can get San Diego’s administration to invest in a place like Los Laureles, whose trash washes across the border into the estuary, as a way of protecting its own ecological interests. “Instead of spending millions on the wall, they could invest in this community so that the poor shanty town becomes the protector of the rich estuary.”

As the last informal settlement in Latin America, with its nose pressed against the window of the North, Los Laureles is already symbolic. But it is also significant as the nexus of three crucial issues. Firstly, it reveals the material flows across this border: San Diego’s waste flows south to be recycled into a barrio, while the barrio’s waste is washed north less productively. Secondly, by disrupting the watershed, the border is undermining the stability of an ecological system. And Cruz’s idea is that Los Laureles should be a micro case study in transnational collaboration, so that the barrio is seen not as a slum but effectively as the guardian of the local environment. Finally, the canyon is another potential testing ground for developing land cooperatively, much as Urban-Think Tank had imagined doing in San Agustín, so that the communal agenda is not lost in the formalisation process.

For Cruz, the collision of complex issues embodied by this easily overlooked community is of global significance. “Any discussion about the future of urbanisation will have to begin by understanding the coalition of geopolitical borders, marginal communities and natural resources,” he says. “That’s why this canyon is fundamental.”"



"Cruz recognises that social change and the creation of a more equitable city are not a question of good buildings. They are a question of civic imagination. And that is something that has been sorely eroded by the neo-liberal economic policies of recent decades. Cruz is a stern critic of America’s steady withdrawal from any notion of public responsibility. He talks of “the three slaps in the face of the American public” after the 2008 crash, namely: the Wall Street bailouts, the millions of foreclosures and the public spending cuts. “It wasn’t just an economic crisis but a cultural crisis, a failure of institutions,” he says. “A society that is anti-government, anti-taxes and anti-immigration only hurts the city.”

So what is to be done? For Cruz, the only way forward is not to play by the existing rules, but to start redesigning those institutions. In San Ysidro, he has been seeking to change the zoning laws to allow a richer and more empowering community life. And changing legislation means engaging with what has been called the “dark matter” – not just the physical fabric of the city, but its regulations.

This is the very definition of the activist architect, one who creates the conditions in which it is possible to make a meaningful difference. New social and political frameworks also need designing, and this i what Cruz has been doing in San Ysidro. “Designing the protocols or the interfaces between communities and spaces, this is what’s missing,” he says. It means giving people the tools they need to be economically productive, and giving them a voice in shaping how the community operates.

In one sense, this could be misinterpreted as just yet more deregulation. But this is not a form of deregulation that enables more privatisation. On the contrary, it would allow more collective productivity and a more social neighbourhood. Here, the architect and the NGO become developers not with a view to profit, but to improve the prospects of the community. “We need to hijack the knowledge embedded in a developer’s spreadsheet,” says Cruz.

In San Ysidro lies the seed of an idea, which is that the lessons of Latin America are gradually penetrating the border wall. What Cruz is trying to do is challenge the American conception of the city as a rigidly zoned thing servicing big business on the one hand and some quaint idea of the American dream on the other. Instead, the city could be more communal, more productive. And he’s drawing on the much more complex dynamics of informal economies, where no space goes to waste, where every inch belongs to a dense network of social and economic exchanges. That’s the model he’s using to try to transform policy in San Diego. The regulations need to be more flexible, more ambiguous, more easily adapted to people’s needs. This is not a Turneresque laissez-faire attitude, but an attempt to get the top-down to facilitate the bottom-up.

And while much of that may sound somewhat utopian, the San Ysidro project has had a stroke of luck that may soon make it a reality. Cruz is now the urban policy advisor to the mayor. As the director of the self-styled Civic Innovation Lab, he heads a think tank operating out of the fourth floor of City Hall, which means that San Diego now has a department modelled on the policy units that were so transformative in Bogotá and Medellín.

What we have here is a Latin American architect, steeped in the lessons of Curitiba, Medellín and Tijuana, embedded within the administration of a major US city. And it’s clear that Cruz is establishing a bridgehead for the lessons of Latin America to find new relevance across what was once an unbridgeable divide. It’s early days, but the implications may well be radical."
justinmcguirk  teddycruz  tijuana  border  borders  architecture  2014  mikedavis  politicalequator  loslaurelescanyon  sandiego  mexico  us  latinamerica  empowerment  bureaucracy  process  politics  geopolitics  squatters  oscarromo  infrastructure  medellín  curitiba  sanysidro  urbanism  urbanplanning  urban  cities  policy  economics  activism  medellin  colombia 
july 2014 by robertogreco
WRONG SIDE OF THE BORDER ("I didn't do anything wrong!")
"POHENEGAMOOK, Quebec — Michel Jalbert never imagined that his usual excursion to gas up at the cheapest place in town would land him in a Maine prison for five weeks and create an international incident. Even now, after U.S. officials finally released Jalbert on $5,000 bail and as he awaits his trial in U.S. District Court early next year, the spirit of cooperation that forms the social and economic fabric of this Canadian border town remains frayed.

People who once thought they had written permission to cross briefly into Maine to buy gasoline without visiting U.S. Customs now worry about the risk to save 20 cents a gallon. Pohenegamook is a mostly French-speaking community where houses and families straddle the border and logging trucks barrel out of the Maine woods to feed the town's thriving lumber industries. But now its residents are rethinking their habit of comfortable coexistence with their American neighbors. The fallout has even reached the four Mainers who live at the edge of Pohenegamook and count on the town for utility services, snow plowing and trash collection.

Jalbert's arrest and imprisonment made headlines across Canada for weeks and inspired an outpouring of moral and financial support from people in both countries. It raised speculation that he was singled out as an example to all border scofflaws in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Secretary of State Colin Powell visited Canada on the day of Jalbert's release, calling the ordeal an "an unfortunate incident" and promising future fairness for Canadians who cross the border regularly for gas and other errands. Still, Jalbert's treatment raised questions about the logic and fairness of customs and immigration operations at Maine's northernmost outpost.

The toll on Jalbert has been severe. A part-time woodsman, Jalbert ran up more than $5,000 in telephone bills, legal fees and lost wages while being held in Piscataquis County Jail in Dover-Foxcroft. He suffered depression and anxiety attacks and lost 10 pounds while separated from his common-law wife, Chantail Chouinard, 26, who is five months pregnant, and their 5-year-old daughter, Debbie. There were days, alone in his cell, when he sobbed in despair.

The 32-year-old Jalbert returned home Nov. 14 to his family's cozy rented bungalow set back from busy Route 289. With temperatures in the teens and more than a foot of snow on the ground, his work in the woods is finished until spring. Last Sunday he had his first good night's sleep in more than a month. … "
2002  border  quebec  maine  immigration  customs  borders  law  legal  homelandsecurity  us 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Nightmare in the Sky: Drugs via Drones - Robotics Business Review
"Anyone who can build a hobby aircraft successfully has all of the tools to ramp up the dimensions and integrate control technology to build a workable drone.

In the case of drug drones, the wings need to fold up so that it will fit in a semi-truck both before and after flight so that it can be serviced, reloaded and flown from another site.

It’s a lot easier and less expensive than running a drug submarine. You can build and operate two dozen drone aircraft for the price of one submarine. The swarm effect also makes it unlikely that more than one at most will be apprehended by American law enforcement at any one time.

The assembly line for narcotics drones is located in the Santa Fe District of Mexico City and near the Bombardier factory at Queretaro where aircraft factory workers can moonlight and double their money."
drones  droneproject  drugs  drugtrafficking  border  borders  querétaro  mexico  mexicodf  aircraft  airplanes  df  mexicocity 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Bajalta California | Boom: A Journal of California
[Also posted here: http://www.kcet.org/arts/artbound/counties/san-diego/bajalta-california-boom-magazine.html ]

"The United States–Mexico borderlands are among the most misunderstood places on Earth. The communities along the line are far distant from the centers of political power in the nations’ capitals. They are staunchly independent and composed of many cultures with hybrid loyalties. Historically, since the borderline was drawn between the two countries, Texas border counties have been among the poorest regions in both countries. Those in New Mexico and Arizona were sparsely populated agricultural and mining districts; and in the more affluent west, Baja California was always more closely connected to California than to Mexico. Nowadays, border states are among the fastest-growing regions in both countries. They are places of economic dynamism, teeming contradiction, and vibrant political and cultural change.

Mutual interdependence has always been the hallmark of cross-border lives. After the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo settled the Mexican-American War, a series of binational “twin towns” sprang up along the line, developing identities that are sufficiently distinct as to warrant the collective title of a “third nation,” snugly slotted in the space between the two host countries. At the western-most edge of this third nation is the place I call “Bajalta California.”¹

The international boundary does not divide the third nation but instead acts as a connective membrane uniting it. This way of seeing the borderlands runs counter to received wisdom, which regards the border as the last line of national defense against unfettered immigration, rapacious drug cartels, and runaway global terrorism. It is a viewpoint that substitutes continuity and coexistence in place of sovereignty and difference.

In 2002, I began traveling the entire length of the US-Mexico border, on both sides, from Tijuana/San Diego on the Pacific Ocean, to Matamoros/Brownsville on the Gulf of Mexico, a total of 4,000 miles. I voyaged in the footsteps of giants. Sixteenth-century Spanish explorers Cabeza de Vaca and Francisco Vásquez de Coronado came this way. Generals Santa Anna and Zachary Taylor fought important battles for these lands during the Mexican-American War.

What began as an impulsive journey of discovery was rapidly overtaken by events. I had the good (and bad) fortune to begin before the United States undertook the fortification of its southern boundary, and so I became an unintentional witness to the border’s closure, an experience that altered my understanding of the two countries. My experiences of the in-between third nation provide a powerful rejoinder to those who would relegate the borderlands to the status of surrogate battlefield against migrants, narcotraficantes, and terrorists.

In his 1787 biography of Fray Junípero Serra, Francisco Palóu included a map of the first administrative division of Baja and Alta California, indicating the Spanish allocation of mission territories between Franciscans to the north and the Dominicans to the south. That border was recognized on 2 February 1848, when a “Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits, and Settlement” was signed at Guadalupe Hidalgo, thereby terminating the Mexican-American War, which had begun in 1846 and was regarded by many (including Ulysses S. Grant) as a dishonorable action on the part of the United States. Article V of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (as it came to be called) required the designation of a “boundary line with due precision, upon authoritative maps, and to establish upon the ground landmarks which shall show the limits of both republics.” The line would extend from the mouth of the deepest channel of the Rio Grande (known in Mexico as the Río Bravo del Norte); up river to “the town called Paso” (present-day El Paso/Ciudad Juárez); from thence overland to the Gila River, and down the channel of the Colorado River; after which it would follow the administrative division between Upper (Alta) California and Lower (Baja) California to the Pacific Ocean.²

In a multivolume history of the American West, historian Carl Wheat refers disparagingly to the post-war boundary survey as the stuff that “dime novels” are made of. To justify this characterization, he invokes yarns about political intrigue, deaths from starvation and yellow fever, struggles for survival in the desert, and the constant threat of violent attacks by Indians and filibusters. He also complained that the US field surveys seem to have been plagued by acrimony and personal vendetta: “if ever a mapping enterprise in the American West was cursed by politics, interdepartmental rivalries, and personal jealousies, it was the Mexican Boundary Survey.”³

It’s true that the letters, diaries, and official memoranda by individuals on the US team portray just about every American participant as a scoundrel or self-promoter. Yet to me the boundary survey is a story of heroism, skill, and endurance of epic proportions. It might lack the glamour of war, or the grandeur of Lewis and Clark’s opening of the lands west of the Mississippi in the early 1800s, but the survey is one of the greatest episodes in US and Mexican geopolitical history. It remains deeply etched in the everyday lives of both nations. Dime novel it most certainly is not; it is more a narrative of nation-building centered in American President James K. Polk’s vision of territorial hegemony extending as far as the Pacific Ocean, with all its momentous consequences."
california  sandiego  tijuana  mexicali  calexico  bajaltacalifornina  border  borders  mexico  us  michaeldear  bajacalifornia  2014  history 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Julian Oliver: Border Bumping on Vimeo
"Border Bumping is a project by Julian Oliver investigating the disruptive influence mobile networks have on the integrity of national borders. This short documentary by Matt McCormick introduces the development and deployment of the U.S. version of the project, commissioned by Techne Institute for MediaCities, an international conference, workshops and exhibition at the University at Buffalo, May 3-5, 2013.

borderbumping.net
techne.buffalo.edu
mediacities.net "
julianoliver  border  borders  technology  borderbumping  us  canada  2013  mattmccormick  location  place  geography  geopolitics 
may 2014 by robertogreco
'Don't Touch Me,' Said Canada. 'I Won't!' Said The USA. So They Moved 20 Feet Apart - Radiolab
"The U.S. and Canada may be as lovey-dovey as two neighbors can get, but according to this charming video history by CGP Grey, both countries agreed to tuck themselves a little bit in, 10 feet back for America, 10 feet back for Canada, creating a corridor of open, surveillable, clear space between them.

This ribbon of emptiness is constantly monitored, regularly gardened (Baby Tree! Be gone!) and persists for 5,500 continuous miles — considered the longest, deforested straight line in the world — protecting the U.S. and Canada from interlopers, or beavers without passports.

Except for one thing — it isn't straight.

The engineers who tried to follow the 49th parallel used primitive instruments, and, it appears, twine, and so the border got a wee bit zig-zaggy, producing a number of problems, a few of which are delightfully described here ..."
via:carwaiseto  border  borders  radiolab  us  canada  geography 
april 2014 by robertogreco
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