Independent Interpreters Walk the Line
Series of Presentations About the U.S. Border Continues

215 Border monument number 184, photographed by David Taylor

THE CENTER'S INDEPENDENT INTERPRETER PROGRAM continued in 2010, following a display of Cindy Hooper’s video work with two more programs about the US/Mexico border.

In March, an installation of Sarah Cowles and Alan Smart’s project about the border structures of El Paso/Juarez opened, Fence Ditch Repeat, which included a lecture about the project, and an accompanying sound installation by John Also Bennett.

Large printed display panels lined the walls of the CLUI, depicting and describing the history and physical landscape of the 2,000 mile-long border. Roughly at the halfway point, at Juarez/El Paso, the border makes its transition from a linear landform of cartography (over the land westward, to the Pacific), and as a chaotic, dendritic river channel (following the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo eastward to the Atlantic).

It is also a diverse river of steel protrusions, at least on the American side, employing a variety of boundary defences, including recycled Gulf-War landing mat used as fence, 18 foot steel beam fence, three-foot mesh panels fence, straight rail vehicle barrier, cattle fence, staggered concrete column fence, Sandia Fence, curved First Defence-type fence, and the various electronic forms of fence, including seismic sensors, sky boxes, TARS blimps, camera stations, and SBI Net towers.

In August, David Taylor presented his border project, Working the Line, centering on a documentation of the 276 obelisks installed between the years 1892 and 1895 that mark the US/Mexico boundary from El Paso/Juarez to San Diego/ Tijuana.

In addition to photographing these monuments, Taylor spent hundreds of hours on patrol with the US Border Patrol, and many hudreds more hours literally walking the line, on both sides, getting to know the social conditions of the border, as well as the physical.

These talks were the second and third in the series of CLUI Independent Interpreter presentations which are part of an ongoing investigation of the nation’s political and physical boundaries, made possible by the support of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.