60 miles of Trans-Border Urban Conflict, Teddy Cruz

“Radicalizing the Local: 60 Miles of Trans-border Urban Conflict”

Teddy Cruz and San Diego- Tijuana Border  On borders Van Houtum asks whether altering the foundations of boundaries and borderings nationally lead to transforming the border, and whether possibility exists for a different organization and design of border landscape (Van Houtum, 2013:180) Next to performative characteristic and altering artistic practices, this question introduces the possibility of design in the borderspace. an Houtum’s question opens up a critical ground for integrated research and practice with design. Therefore, in this chapter, the cross disciplinary practice of Teddy Cruz is used as an example to be explored. Cruz’s practice is another important example of border-crossing artistic research: it integrates design thinking and practice as an architectural praxis combined with theoretical research. Setting up his workplace along the San Diego-Tijuana border for years now, Cruz  accentuates the generative and transformative capacity of the knowledge that has piled up on border space through this case.

San Diego and Tijuana cities make a dependent urban complex, although the border bisects and there is uneven development, economic, and social life between the two sides. For example, while migrant workers go to San Diego, the urban waste of San Diego flows to Tijuana. Border cities enact strange mirror effects, and the leftovers of San Diego houses are recycled into countless new housing possibilities in Tijuana .

For the border’s bisection, Cruz makes the argument for the Political Ecuador that separates the global south and north in every meaning. The meetings of Political Ecuador have been taking place since 2006 in sites of conflict and institutions and dealing with ‘urban pedagogy towards citizen action’.

Asking whether the crisis in urban and/or the conflict on border space has any potential for design, Cruz explores the site and conditions through interviews, dialogues, and narratives. These are acts of closely engaging with the bottom-up, and they closely reorganize our thinking. (2011: 22) The close exploration of community behaviours suggest spatial strategies to the architect who acts as an expanded practitioner. Public interest expands the practice of the architect to a cross-disciplinary level.

In this installation made on the border in 2008, Cruz takes some kind of an architectural section of 60 miles of borderspace. These 60 miles in total, 30 miles on each side of the border, somehow collide with the definition of borderspace, and make the conflicts and relationships visible on both sides. For example, (+ is San Diego, – is for Tijuana) +30 miles in San Diego is named and explained as “[c]onflict between master-planned gated communities and the natural topography”, while -20 miles into Tijuana is  “[c]onflict between density and sprawl”.


Flying things above the border

At least three of them. Like the balloons that are hanging above the borderline, Repellent Fence of Postcommodity, Javier Tellez uses border-airspace-and flying in his work One Flew Over the Void  by creating an human cannonball- that literally jumps people to the other side of border. (from us to mexico, but still an interesting border crossing)- is both an installation and performance. Another flying thing, The Cloud performance of Alfredo Jaar, in 2000 let fly two clouds that multiplies when flies.

AlfredoJaarCloud2.jpgAlfredoJaarCloud8.jpgThe Cloud, Valle Del Matador, Tijuana-San Diego, Mexico-USA Border, October 14, 2000..png
Alfredo Jaar, The Cloud, 2000

Javier-Tellez-_One-Flew-Over-the-Void_Bala-perdida-2005-Single-channel-video-projection-1130-mins-color-sound-169-..see-full-caption.jpgJavier Tellez, One Flew over the Void

RepellentFence5_HiRes.jpgRepellent Fence, Postcommodity

repellent: keeping something out or away- mosquito-repellent spray

What is this common ‘flying above the border’ that mostly represents people who can not easily cross, who displaced, who are immigrants? Spatially interesting, the border in all three cases here is US- Mexico border, seems  to be a ‘ground border’- air seems to be free- free to perform, free to cross- an alternative route.

airspace in america is also restricted by laws- airspace rights.

however when we consider one of the other border of conflict, Israel-Palestine, we see that as Benveniste avers, border is made up of three layers; sub terrain, ground and air. As if Israel


13-13e6cb5e2d01c55a4f0Among many BAW/TAF, Border Art Workshop/Tflííer de Arte Fronterizo in 1984 is the foundational example for the artistic practices in border spaces. This practice is the primer in US-Mexico borders, especially the most talked-about the San Diego-Tijuana borderspace. Based in San Diego, and most projects were realized on the border of itself, Tijuana borderline, is founded by a group of artists, including Gomez-Pena.

According to Sheren, such thing as border art was not a category till foundation of the BAW/TAF. (2015) The group attracted attention during NAFTA debates[1], and tackling political tension by site-specificity, performances, and conceptual art methods.

[1] NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement, was an agreement signed by Canada and Mexico, the borders of the USA that creates a triangular trade way. This agreement affected the life in borders in many aspects.


Border Actions/ BAW/TAF

Borders and Francis Alys

going backwards:

*walking, crossing borders: Alys and geographical border in artistic practice

Francis Alÿs; green line, silence of ani, the loop, when faith moves mountains

Works of Francis Alÿs acknowledges that poetics to politics and politics to poetics are always contingent. The piece, Green Line has a sub-title which is like a quote to dwell later on: “sometimes doing something poetic can become political and sometimes doing something political can become poetic”


Ekran Resmi 2016-09-09 16.32.35.png

He makes what is invisible but there exists; the green line drawn in 1948-1949 already has an absurd story. Although today google maps have eradicated palestine (see the map figure below), there are people living under siege, being confined to borders with walls, fences, traffic control, bridges and highways. Israeli planning have formed many different methods to control and block people from palestine, generated the most distinguished practice of bordering.

After the Lebanon war, Benveniste  asks the question of “[w]ho owned the width of line?” (…) He refers to the story of border lines of  between Israel and Jordan in 1949. Drawn with different kind of pencils  on the laid-out map, the difference in thickness and softness between pencils produced three to four millimeters, in 1:20 000 scale map the unbelonged line widths were up to 80 meters.”

A performance revisited,from The Leak in Sao Paolo in 1995, he uses green paint instead and makes visible now borderwall that seperates the land. Here, Alys acts politically within his artistic practice;  to cite from Ranciere, “politics consist of making visible that which is not visible”

Paul Klee avers that “Drawing is like taking a line for a walk”, which asserts that such drawing to be doing while drawing, just as Alys’ drawing the green line, becomes visible as he walk-

and sometimes doing nothing leads to nothing. the loop

map 1. image from google maps eradicated palestine. follow the dashed line for westbank and the rest. (below)
Ekran Resmi 2016-09-09 15.16.12.png

Ekran Resmi 2016-09-09 16.32.13.png

diagrammatic maps 2-3: http://visualizingpalestine.org/visuals/shrinking-palestine/index.html- last accessed 9.10.2016

east coast europe, ed. markus miessen

1.mladen dolar, Kafka’s Europe: laws in the hand of the avatar of nobility; the necessity of new laws that are comprehensible (in language) to every day- ordinary. this is possible on the edge:

“where Kafka’s lesson lies: a geographical lesson of being at the edge of…., this edge is the very place of the innovation, …., a hybrid space of intimate externality, of a crack of any inside,the commonness of what can not be common….”  pg.23

– therefore border

2. markus miessen, the (im)possible border, the border is more the economic and the cultural one, than the physical

where is east east from? different maps than renaissance European once, there east is not on the right.

3. kazys varnelis, terrain vague
the transition of postmodernity to network culture

terrain vague works: gordon matta clark, bernd and hilla becher, on what Schumpeter calls “creative destruction of capital”

terrain vague areas strange but within being exposed they become familiar and seen as sites for future developments- best example of wall-border-terrain vague to site of new urbanism: berlin wall. “how quickly things are demolished and the space surrounding was filled in, evil as Baudrillard says, have not left with the demolish of the iron wall, but it was spread.”

4. can altay, europe 2050

5.hans ulrich obrist, ever le goff
Turkey’s EU candidateship
mondialite rather than mondialisation (globalisation)
in soccer Turkey and Russia are in European League. Cyprus half in EU half does not exist island.





Border Theory#1

all the migration, displacement and flow- borders are again highly discussed topic. never seen as only geographical seperations, the term border has various meanings- touching and altering multiple issues.

a new book on border,by Thomas Neil, ‘theory of border’ has a review that reasons to rise high interest; “kinopolitics” in order to reinterpret borders as forms of social motion  and a new methodology of “critical limology,” which provides fresh tools for the analysis of contemporary border politics

one more subject on the reading list.