Peter Lang

The Border Complex: Investigating Spaces of Transition and Permanence.

National borders are ultimately imaginary constructs, whether topographically based or conceptually drawn.  Frontier lines are forcibly introduced into highly fragile ecosystems and frequently separate common indigenous communities through a series of manufactured filters, restraints, voids, and junctures. Borders as such represent very real manifestations of human frustration and intransigence. Centuries of creating confines, building and dismantling borders, erecting fences and walls, digging channels and tunnels has contributed little in the understanding the long term impact of such divisive practices. The more a nation improves its passage and barrier technologies, surveillance and armed patrols, the more a community on the flip side invents ways of getting around them.

Exchange above all is the factor that most dynamically plays on inequalities, deficiencies, surpluses and human resources that build up on one side or the other. All of these factors weigh heavily in developing the hierarchy of transient and permanent spaces, contributing to a situation of instability and crisis that are precisely the defining terms of the contemporary border complex. Projects include participatory programs developed together with students and a local border community, specific proposals for survival strategies related to border crossings in the Rio Grande Valley, and investigations into housing and living structures for refugee communities from different global regions.