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Cont e

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A Note to the Reader Coming Together in the Chasm Melissa Fisher

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BORDER ONE

Identity Through A Shifting Landscape Borders that Bind

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Filters of Perception

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Freedom

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Interpretation

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Marina Kleit

Gianna Zamora

Clint Evangelista

Nicole Gonzalez

BORDER TWO

IN CLOSE RELATIONSHIP 1 L’existence précède l’essence

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Coming To

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Expectations and Globalization

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The Extension of Differences

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Embracing the Unknown

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“American” Grown with Mexican Roots

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Kevin Lau

Michelle Johnson

Shawn (Yuxuan) Zhang

Dan Qiao

Devin Sheridan

Gabriel Maldonado

BORDER THREE

Nature versus Nurture JP Falstad

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1 Existence Precedes Essence,” Jean-Paul Sartre’s words and heart of existential philosophy. We come into this world first and define ourselves by our actions. It’s hard to say what.


t ents

Fear of the Unknown

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Border and Borderlands

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Border Identities

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Breaking the Code

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Investigating How Media Affect the View of Border

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Into the Blue

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Disconnection of a Border & My Life

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Looking for a Better Life

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The Unseen Barrier

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What is to be Expected

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Understanding Language: Thru Words, Body, Buildings

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Audrey Borger

Luis Espinoza

Marcelle Rico

Amy Kittisoros

Patrick Yip

Christian Linney

Arturo Martinez

Estefany Gonzalez

Maria Poblete

Paul Esteban

Jonathan Gonzalez

BORDER FOUR

TRANSNATIONALS The Journey of Finding Oneself

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Confronting Privilege and Crossing Norms

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Transitions without Resolutions

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Verbalizing Emotions

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Merge: Coalesce, Consolidate, Absorb, Combine

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ÂżQuĂŠ Eres?

56

Valeria Ortega

Grant Chinn

Joel Goldsmith

Ulyses Ramos

Martha Salazar Cintora

Shelbie Pettiford


A Note to the Reader The proceeding interview content was collectively edited by the authors of each chapter as part of HOT AIR BALLOONS & INTERVIEWS —a Tijuana-San Diego Borderlands Art & Ethnography experiment. Each author reviewed and helped revise every transcript within their collectively produced chapters with four chapters total: Border One, Two, Three and Four. As an important part of the experiment, participants were asked to edit the language of their peers only to the point they understood the basic sense of what was being communicated. This resulted in some words left in languages other than English along with unusual grammar and sentence structures that serve to reflect more accurately the speech patterns of each voice represented. The result is messy, unclear and even confusing at times, but allows the reader to meet the speaker as they are. This collection of interviews is printed to function as one bound volume or as an unbound one for wider distribution. Each page that features a dashed line and scissors is a single broadsheet presenting the interview work of a single author. If cut out, each page can stand alone containing a preface, introduction, interviews and information where to download the free full collection of 82 interviews. Our hope is that this collection of local interviews will be shared and used in ways that further serve to complicate stereotypes about this region and share unexpected of the present. To download & read all 82 interviews, visit www.collectivemagpie.org/book

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Coming Together in the ChasM Melissa Fisher Coming Together in the Chasm | Melissa Fischer My name is Melissa. I am a 24-year-old, white female U.S. citizen who grew up in Escondido and moved back to San Diego in August 2016 after studying art history at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. I learned about the transnational seminar after a friend attending UCSD forwarded me the course description and application, and although not being a

current student of any of the three participating borderland universities rendered me ineligible to participate, the course’s radical proposition to document the border through experimental, participatory practices sparked my interest and prompted my application.1 Due to my ineligibility, Collective Magpie responded to my application by inviting me to propose an alternative participatory role.

My resulting role in the fifteen-week seminar isn’t easily labeled and may best be summed up as deliberately

experimental, lying somewhere between that of a researcher, observer, and irregular participant. I attended several of the

seminar meetings and met with its organizers on many occasions. I led two seminar presentations and discussions using artworks from the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s collection, inviting participants to interrogate various

institutional aspects of the political functioning of museums and the demographics they serve. Over the duration of the

seminar, I studied the history of border art both in San Diego and beyond, as well as the institutional history of MCASD. I came to the seminar with an interest in studying its unusual pedagogical structure and its proposition to use collective

art-making practices, ethnographic methods, and interviewing techniques as means of engaging with the concept of the border.

Of course, it had not been planned that the first transnational version of the seminar would begin during a historical

moment in which the instability and uncertainty of border relations between Mexico and the United States logistically

threatened the seminar’s very feasibility. As the first two weeks of Trump’s presidency progressed, just before the

seminar was scheduled to start in February 2017, I found myself overwhelmed by the prospect of doing research in any

proximity to “the border” whilst it simultaneously began to make national news headlines almost daily. Just five days into his presidency, Trump signed an executive order to immediately build a border wall between Mexico and the United

States, as well as one that both expanded deportation priorities and sought to prevent sanctuary cities from receiving

federal grants, which was later deemed unconstitutional. That same week, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto 2

canceled a planned meeting with Trump after Trump floated a proposition to impose a 20% tax on Mexican imports to pay 3

for the wall. And, in the wake of the widely protested executive order that suddenly banned people from seven countries from entering the United States, the occurrence of a sudden political shift that would keep the seminar from happening

felt entirely plausible.4 The fact that the political conditions and border spectacle threatened the logistical possibility of carrying out the seminar speaks only to the criticality and urgency of its ambitions: to develop a platform whose structure

prompts people to arrive at their own understanding of the border through first hand engagement with it, rather than through the passive acceptance of border descriptions that are merely presented to them.

When I first read the series of interviews produced by the particular seminar I was involved in, I was surprised by the

amount of interview content that seemed to have no relation to the U.S.-Mexico border. Like those produced in the preceding three seminar sessions—interviews from all four sessions are contained in this publication—the interviews aimed to collect stories about the borderlands. While the U.S.-Mexico border does surface as a topic in a number of the

interviews, many of the interviews expose struggles with entirely different borders, or only discuss the border insofar as it functions as a starting place, or a lens through which to discuss something else. The stories often meandered through

the mundane—say, an interviewee summarizing their average day—to shared cultural topics like sports or education, and into the sharing of experiences so personal and intimate that to read them in a semi-public context was jolting.

I wondered what I had been expecting to read instead. A series of stories about crossing the border? Perspectives on Donald Trump’s presidency and the future of the border? Beliefs about what a border should and should not be? And

moreover, from where did my expectations of what the interviews would be “about” even originate? After all, the

interviews’ divergence from the subject of the border was consistent with that of the discussions that took place in the few seminar meetings I attended, many of which centered on life around the border more than the border itself.

Thinking about the interviews, I realized that the border’s presence in the seminar was most influenced not by its status as a topic, nor by how many times it had appeared in that week’s news headlines, but by the mere fact that every meeting

transcended it—every single weekly meeting logistically required that multiple participants cross the border with wait times ranging between thirty minutes and three hours, spend at least five hours in dialogue with people whose identities

had largely been formed in opposite countries, and work towards staging public art interventions and interviews

intended to challenge notions of the border from the perspective of residents of both Mexico and the United States.5 At its most fundamental level, the seminar structurally relied upon the repeated occurrence of exchanges that both literally and figuratively overcame limitations posed by the border.

This recurring transcendence of the border comprises the seminar’s transnationalism: a governing process that afforded the seminar’s participants constant contact with the experience of not knowing—a breaking of ego that necessitated the

loss of psychological borders. This allowed methods employed within the seminar, such as art making and interviewing, to serve as a set of tools for active engagement whose ends are ones with their means. The value of these tools exists not

in the resulting products, but in the ways they enabled participants to both practice and stimulate in others the same open-mindedness toward unfamiliar experiences engendered by the process of transnationalism.

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Over the course of the meetings I attended, I found myself increasingly struck by the sense of closeness and openness that developed between the seminar’s participants, the intensity of which I had never observed in similar contexts. The entire group greeted and said goodbye to each other with hugs at each meeting, they teased each other about things like bad work habits, and they shared personal stories about families and achievements and losses, among other things. Most significantly, though, they collectively embraced a sense of honesty that seemed to erase fears about speaking truthfully even though others might disagree, being assertive when someone said something they took issue with, and easily being accepting when they were wrong or when someone had a contrasting experience. I especially had not expected to encounter that closeness in a group largely defined by its members’ obvious fundamental differences in identity—with contrasting nationalities, upbringings, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, academic majors, schools they were attending, and even hobbies—yet whose relationships most nearly resembled that of siblings. The participants’ vast differences in perspective, in combination with meeting in new locations between two different countries each week, provided participants with the recurring experience of having their abiding worldviews twisted, stretched, shattered, and reconstructed. To this degree, as a mode for interacting with the world, transnationalism functioned to undermine the negatively privileged positions people tend to occupy when they surround themselves with people who think the same way and inhabit places governed by the same sets of social norms and values, in which false assumptions are validated simply because nothing in the vicinity proves them untrue. To the general public, this seminar functions as a model for how take advantage of living in San Diego and Tijuana’s unique borderlands through embracing, rather than fearing, transnationalism. At a time when the politics surrounding the US-Mexico border would suggest that the border has become little more than a performative political tool—subject to policies evaluated more for their rhetorical value than for their cogency or effectiveness, of which Trump’s border wall is an easy example—it is of critical importance to seek out firsthand, transnational experiences that serve as ground-level reminders of who and what these policies affect. Through this sort of direct experience with difference via transnationalism, people open themselves up to making informed determinations about something they have experienced rather than something they have never directly encountered. Those who do not embrace the confrontations with difference that San Diego and Tijuana uniquely make possible—failing to seek out those experiences that stop you in your tracks, disrupt the rhythm of your life, and in turn, force you to accept that sometimes you are wrong— risk maintaining a worldview whose foundation has been unquestioned. However uncomfortable, seek to transcend edges, boundaries, and borders with each other in order to experience things as they exist in the world.

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The transnational seminar in Spring 2017 was comprised of an interdisciplinary group of six participants formed from three local colleges. The course was conceived by artists

Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Participants received course credit toward their undergraduate degrees from: Southwestern College, the community college closest to the U.S.-Mexico border with a high transnational population; and from the two local public universities; University of California, San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Tijuana. This course was the fourth edition of the Hot Air Balloons & Interviews seminar, but the first of two that were structured transnationally: its weekly five-hour meetings took place at various locations on both sides of the border, alternating between San Diego and Tijuana. 2

Executive Order 13767, 82 F.R. 8793, Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, January 25, 2017, https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-

actions/executive-order-border-security-immigration-enforcement-improvements/; Executive Order 13768, 82 F.R. 8799, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, January 25, 2017, https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-enhancing-public-safety-interior-united-states/. 3

José de Córdoba and Peter Nicholas, “U.S.-Mexico Rift Deepens Over Trade Threat, Canceled Meeting,” Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2017, sec. Politics.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-trump-threatens-to-cancel-meeting-with-mexican-president-1485443555. 4

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Executive Order 13769, 82 F.R. 8977, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States. The fourth seminar was the only version of the Hot Air Balloons & Interviews seminar that involved public art interventions. Each seminar participant was paired with another

seminar participant who attended a different school, and together, each pair planned and executed a public art intervention relevant to the topics of the seminar.

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INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

Border ONE

P R EFACE & THAN K YO U

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We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it. The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

conversations with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

Id e n ti ty T h ro u g h A S hi fti n g La nds c a p e

B o rde r s t ha t B ind M a r i na Kleit

Marina Kleit is a visual artist, writer, and performer. She is passionate about creative collaboration, with people and the earth.

Border is a physical or psychological space, in which groups that are divided under labels, arbitrary or not, meet. This meeting may be one that is faced with opposition and resistance, or even hostility. Though through communication and openness, it could be a space of growth through collaboration and a shared respect.

Stranger in a Border Land | Self-Interview

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Marina Kleit, born in Tucson, AZ, raised in and currently residing in San Diego, CA. She is 23. This conversation took place at her home in San Diego, CA. Why is it important to more clearly define our understanding and perspective on border relations in both international and personal relationships? Marina Kleit addresses this issue through her personal account of border experiences.

Q: Now, Marina, what has been your personal experience with international borders? A: My awareness of the tense relationship between bordering nations began early on, as I grew up in San Diego—a border town with Tijuana, MX. Early on, I wanted to cross the border to simply experience a bit of the life my grandfather did. However, so much fear of the other side, instilled in my family from stories in the media about the violence and dangers of travelling to Mexico. I still haven’t gone to Mexico. I believe my involvement with this interview project will change that. Q: You also have experience with international borders in other traveling adventures though. A: Yes, I am practically addicted to travel. Just this past summer and fall, I found myself crossing many borders. I traveled from Norway to Greece, and then from Greece into Albania, then on through several other countries within Eastern Europe. As I crossed border after border, I found that the tension around borders, especially at this current time in history, is felt powerfully by the people of these nations. It is the same fear/tension/excitement felt at the San Diego-Tijuana border. Q: Why have you traveled to other countries, other countries that you have been warned about as well, like Albania and Haiti, where violence, poverty, disease, unclean drinking water, are all threats, yet you haven’t gone to Mexico? A: I think I have always craved travel, and when opportunities came to do art-related projects across the world, I had to explore! But I have asked myself more and more lately, why haven’t I made any effort to visit the land where half of my familial history is embedded? Especially since it is so close to where I live currently? I think it sadly has to do with feeling so alienated from my Mexican heritage and culture. Like I said before, my parents warned me against traveling to Mexico because of the threat of violence. My mother, herself, is so disconnected from her Mexican roots. Even though her parents were native Spanish speakers, her father born and raised in Mexico, they did not teach my mother or her siblings Spanish. They wanted their family to blend in, to assimilate with all of the other all-American households around. My mother experienced this pressure to be completely Americanized throughout her childhood. One story she told me was about her kindergarten speech therapy sessions, where she would unlearn the accent she had picked up from her mother. Q: Do you think rejection of one’s own culture is necessary in order to be accepted into a new culture? If so, is there a pressure to do reject one’s culture? Where is this pressure coming from? A: I think the pressure to assimilate comes from a fear that we won’t be able to thrive in this new environment if there are cultural barriers between others and us. I know that members of my family have experienced the very real tension and confusion that comes with cultural and racial discrimination. For example. when my grandpa was younger, he was threatened with deportation by a woman he was gardening for, because she assumed he was an undocumented citizen. He was a US citizen, but she just couldn’t have imagined that was the case. This is the kind of discrimination he faced, which might have made him want his children to be perceived differently than how he was perceived. I can see why people want to fit seamlessly into society, so that they can achieve beyond what they were able to before. It might also seem like a way to gain respect, to be taken seriously, and to be accepted into the community. It also comes from the awareness that there is a fear of otherness present, maybe not for the majority of people, but it is there. While some are inspired to eradicate this fear, others will play into it, in order to survive. I do not think rejection of one’s own culture is necessary to thrive. I think it would be wonderful if people were to stop looking at their cultural differences as obstacles, and instead saw them as opportunities, and saw themselves as holding an important piece of the puzzle.

They have a particular perspective, a powerful voice to be heard or expressed in some way. Q: Why do you think there is a sense of fear around international borders? A: Well, I think there is a really special relationship between bordering nations, and in these border zones, interactions between different peoples and cultures are both mutually beneficial, as well as a place where fear is bred. This fear has a large part of its roots in economics. Nations see each other as opportunities for cheap labor or as a source of job opportunities. For example, in Mexico, many people work in maquiladoras, assembling parts for the technology industry. Many of the materials used come from the U.S., and are made for U.S. companies. While it would seem like a beneficial relationship, many of these hard-workers are kept in poverty with low wages. These impoverished, slum-like environments in Mexico border towns, that the neighboring country (the U.S.) has exacerbated, are seemingly threatening to the U.S. Fear of criminal acts being committed by desperate people rises. Migrant workers flooding into the country to work in jobs that are willingly offered to them by countless U.S. employers, are described in more and more twisted ways, as dangerous criminals coming to prey on people and take advantage of economic opportunities. When only one side of the story is heard, when one only hears the worst statistics and has no face to the other side of things--the stories of people doing back-breaking work just to support their families, getting little sleep and struggling to survive here-- then of course, one might not be able to see the whole picture. Perhaps people from another place (in this case, a place that is so close to home) are not all a threat to their neighbors, simply because they are under a different national label, a different culture. Q: Can you give an example of a time that you experienced a sense of fear or discrimination among peoples in a country you were traveling in? A: Yes, one example that comes to mind right away was the cultural climate in Slovenia that I felt really strongly, when I traveled there for the first time in the summer of 2015. Many people are mistrusting of each other there, which I heard several times from many friends I made in Slovenia. One friend, Marta, expressed that many Slovenians are afraid of Syrian refugees coming into the country, because Slovenians are already so protective of their money and struggle to make enough money for food. Many fear that they simply will not be able to support so many people in need. I also experienced this mistrust when my boyfriend and I became victims of assault and robbery in Slovenia. As we told people our story there, though they were shocked to hear of such an event happening in their usually safe town, they were not surprised that the person who did this to us was from their neighboring country, Bosnia and Herzegovina. A prevalent opinion among local Slovenians seemed to be that there were more dangers now that the small country was open to the world. Our friend Vesna definitely interpreted our situation through this lens. She remembers life before Yugoslavia was dismantled, when Slovenia was part of the larger communist country, with a certain amount of fondness. She loves the freedom she has now—as soon as Slovenia was recognized as its own country, open to the world, Vesna got on her motorcycle and travelled across Europe for the first time. But she feels it was safer before the country was opened up to the world.  When the borders were closed, everyone was provided for, was comfortable, and the threat of crime was low because the punishments for any crimes, whether they be theft or something more dangerous, were so harsh. Now, with the border open, harmful people can do horrible things, and there may not even be any consequences for these actions. They can simply slip in and out of borders. Through travelling there, I did come to understand why people would feel hesitant to trust


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each other, and especially their international neighbors. I can see how a desperation for control of culture, a need for a sense of protection, would lead people to call for tighter borders. However, I think that we, as humans, are capable of doing incredible things when we are together. We have created songs and works of art, found healing cures, and built pyramids, together. Knowing our potential as a people to create together makes me wish so hard that borders would not need to be places of opposition, and defense, and would instead be places of collaboration and cooperation. Q: Do you consider borders to be human constructions that we are not naturally meant to live with? A: Well, while I do believe that the specific territories we have lined out right now on the typical map were drawn by colonists and politicians, it does seem natural for people to organize ourselves into tribes. These tribes have their specific structures and cultures, even languages. But does this mean that we are confined to these tribes? And if this is a way that we must live in our current time, should we not coexist What does seem unnatural to me is the divisiveness and hostility that can sometimes exist between tribes, between nations. And all of our tribes are mixed up. I currently live in San Diego, at the very southern tip of California,

within the United States, but this place used to be a part of Mexico. It is still connected to Mexico, by land, through the blending of our peoples and cultures. Our tribes are all working together, that is something we cannot avoid now. We are too deeply tied, at our roots. So therefore, it would benefit us to make our international relationship a peaceful one. I’d like to bring up land ownership here, which I believe is not only counter to the way we are supposed to live, but it is also a big contributor to the very issues we have been discussing with border relations. We are not meant to own the land. We are meant to share in its abundance, to give and receive mutually with nature, and this could be a good blueprint to follow with our human relationships. With land ownership comes barriers, with barriers come a disconnectedness that is detrimental to our relationships with our neighbors, when we lose sight of who the “other” is. Q: What do you think we can do from this point to change anything? A: A huge step of action we can take is being open to those around us. To those challenging conversations, challenging to ourselves, and challenging of what we accept as normal in daily life. Those conversations can happen anywhere, in homes, cafes, political discussions. However, these issues are beyond politics, they are personal—affecting our families, our quality of life. ●

Interpreting Generations | Participant/Author to Participant/Author Marina Kleit: I find it interesting that though both you and I have some Mexican roots, we both seem to have experienced a certain degree of separation and disconnection from Mexican culture. Do you think that this is a common experience and why? Gianna Zamora: This is definitely a common experience and not just with Mexican/ Americans but with other people who are of mixed ethnicities as well. Ultimately it depends on the person, but without a doubt the generational gap has the potential to lead to feelings of distance and removal. Just from my own experience, technically being a third generation immigrant of Mexico I have seen how certain aspects of Mexican culture have remained absent from my life. I am not fluent in Spanish and until now I didn’t really know the story of my family history. My father was born in the U.S. and experienced similar feelings of distance from his Mexican roots. I also have friends who are first generation who share these feelings of estrangement because their parents chose to leave behind their accents, language, and cultural traditions in order to assimilate more easily with the intention of creating “better” circumstances for themselves and their children. Beyond that though I think it has to do with the fact that there are so many people coming together from various cultural backgrounds and traditions in California which is leading to an entirely new hybridized culture where everyone is mixing, blending, and adapting. M: What do you think is the role of those in the creative arts when it comes to political and ethical situations. Do artists have an important role in making change? G: Artists have the most important role in my opinion. They speak a universal language and are constantly testing limits, transcending borders, and the best artists in my opinion have the ability to disturb or disrupt their audience through their work. In the context of politics or ethics, they have the ability to propose alternate situations no matter how absurd or unrealistic they may be. Ultimately it is an artist’s job to advocate for the possibility of anything. One artist that comes to mind immediately is Ricardo Dominguez and his work with the Electronic Disturbance Theatre. In 2007 the idea for the Transborder Immigrant Tool (T.B.T.) was dreamed up by co-founders Ricardo Dominguez and Brett Stalbaum. The tool- made using a cheap Nextel cell phone- was designed to guide migrant travels crossing the border to water caches that are distributed throughout Death Valley by various non-profit organizations such as Border Angels and Water Stations Inc. The T.B.T also had a dual purpose of reciting “survival poetry” inspired by military survival handbooks to aid the travelers in navigating through the seemingly endless desert landscape. Before it even had a chance to be distributed, talk alone of the device led to an investigation by the FBI Office of Cybercrimes and FOX news aired a heated debate between a thoroughly disturbed U.S. Army Colonel and the founder of the Border Angels. These responses alone proved that the T.B.T. was clearly disturbing the comfort of a lot of right-winged Americans. When it came time to distribute the T.B.T. the NARCO war on drugs had escalated so Dominguez, Staulbaum and other collaborators decided the distribution would cause more harm to the migrant travelers than good. Despite the fact that migrant travelers never got the chance to use the T.B.T while crossing, I still feel that the gesture and intention of this work remains timeless and forced people to consider the verity of the situation. Migrant travelers are going to cross the border whether you force them through Death Valley or not. An alternate reality was then proposed where we fellow humans respond humanely by at least making water accessible and easy to locate when they are in the midst of their journey. This is just one example of how an artistic gesture can make an impact or instigate conversation on a contentious issue. M: You recently created a land art piece that relied on a lot of community contribution, similar to the work of Collective Magpie in a way. Can you tell me more about that project? Is collaborative art, in your opinion, a way to create positive change in our world? G: Oh yes, the project I am working on in the garden is titled A Space In Between and it has been entirely reliant on collaboration. It has gone through many evolutions but the core of what I

have been doing is designing a sustainable, peaceful space to connect with the environment. At the center of the space, which for me functions as the focal point of the site, there is a “Seat of Contemplation.” This seat was built using Super adobe technology patented by Nader Khalili an Iranian architect who designed this method as a sustainable solution to human shelter. This can be considered the first one, basically one Friday morning until mid-afternoon I had a bunch of volunteers visit the site to help me dig up a bunch of earth to fill up these bags with, which ultimately created the form of the seat. It was important for me to have this day where a bunch of people (some I knew some I didn’t) could come together, learn something new, and contribute to a space that they could feel connected to. That is what collaboration is all about to me. In any context, it’s the collective effort of individuals working towards a cause larger than the sum of its parts. Individuals will put their own internal and external borders aside in order to produce something representative of them. This is what gives me a sense of substance and transcending this physical body in every way possible. Collaboration is one of those outlets for me because you have the opportunity to see outside of yourself and to share in the bliss of your achievements. M: In interviewing your father and grandfather, did you find anything surprising about their perspectives on the border? How much do you think their perspectives, and yours as well, are shaped by generational experience? G: There were a lot of surprising moments during my interviews with both my Papa and my Dad. I was hearing a lot of the stories and information my Papa shared with me during our phone conversation for the first time. I never realized how young he was when crossing the border which I feel contributes a lot to his own estrangement from Mexico. He doesn’t identify with Mexico at all and he has no interest in ever returning. I never knew that he had such adverse feelings to Mexico so this was really surprising. I also find a lot of irony in the situation because I know that most people who meet my Papa probably would assume he had a strong connection to Mexico because of his accent and his appearance. I mean I am his granddaughter after and I sort of assumed this before really inquiring about it. The conversation with my Dad also illuminated a lot of the parallels we share in terms of feeling disconnected from our Mexican identity because of our appearance. We both experienced those awkward moments when friends and strangers questioned the validity of our claims of having Hispanic roots. I think that family members hold a lot of potential for shaping the way we think, understand, and conceptualize the world around us. For many of us, our family members are the first people who provide guidance for us when we are young and by nature we adopt a lot of the habits, biases, and prejudices from them. I have had the privilege to investigate this deeper and to reveal some of the reasons why I interpret and interact with others and my environment and I have found that a lot of that is learned behavior. M: After participating in these interviews, and helping to build a hot air balloon that will glide over the border line, do you feel inspired to take this project further in your own life? How will you continue to explore this topic? G: I think the general platform and process of interviewing people and engaging in meaningful conversation is something I will continue to refine and practice moving forward. When it comes to topics with great opacity, like borders, it’s important to open up dialogue and question how we relate. I am certainly inspired and genuinely surprised by how much borders have affected my life prior to my involvement in deconstructing them and taking a closer look. This project has definitely ripped a seam in my curiosity and has made me wonder what other ideas and concepts both tangible and abstract possess some gravity within the landscape of my life without my awareness. ●

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for two additional interviews conducted by Marina Kleit and to download the full collection of 82 interviews

NOTES

i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


4

INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events often and increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

ER ONE BORD versa

P R EFACE & THAN K YO U

14

We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

4

The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

con

tions

with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

Id en ti ty T h ro u g h A S hi fti n g La nds c a p e

Fi l te r s of Pe rce pt ion Gi a n n a Za mora

Gianna Zamora creates paintings, drawings, sculptures, and installations revolving around ideas related to nature and the body. Advocating for the notion that there is no separation between the two, she is passionate about constructing environments where her viewers can experience this sense of unity.

Border is the physical body; the first barrier that creates both physical and psychological divides.

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Within & Without | Self-Interview

Gianna Joy Zamora, born and raised in San Jose, CA., currently residing in San Diego, CA. In less than one month she will receive her B.A. in Studio Art from the University of California, San Diego.

Q: Border and labels, classification, categorization, division

for a bruised cranium.

A: Lately, I have been thinking a lot about how interchangeable labels and borders are. The process of identifying with a label creates a border between those who also identify with that border and those who do not. The label and identity I claim as a Mexican/American subjects me to specific judgements and particular perspectives from others. The same thing happens when I introduce myself as an artist and explain that I studied and practiced Studio Art at UCSD for the past four years. Q: Perceptions of self

A: Each individual has their own subjective experience. And every other person has their own perception of your subjective experience. Imagine every human walking around wearing their own personalized pair of sunglasses with lenses that provide a distinct filter on their understanding of the world. No lenses are the same. Some produce crazy light refractions while others might make everything appear quite bubbly and round. What I am trying to get at here is that while there may be many of us who share this same label and identity, of “Mexican/ American,” it means something COMPLETELY different to each person who claims it. Q: Notions of home A: So if I continue to follow my logic of borders and labels functioning in relatively identical ways, then I have witnessed firsthand how my Mexican/ American identity has preserved certain cultural traditions. For example, on my father’s side of the family my grandparents both immigrated from Mexico and brought with them the mouth watering peppers, salsas, and recipes from their parents and grandparents. Every family holiday on my father’s side for as long as I can remember has been filled with homemade tortillas, frijoles y arroz, tamales, enchiladas y pan. This tradition of cooking authentic Mexican cuisine will surely live on as my aunt now opened up her own restaurant entirely inspired by my Papa and Tita’s cooking. During Easter my Tita makes cascarones “shell hits”, which are pretty much hollowed out eggs filled with confetti. Once all the eggs are hidden, the Easter egg hunt begins and the goal is to find as many confetti eggs as you can so you have more to smash on people. It’s supposed to mean good luck, but depending on who is smashing one on you it could just mean you are in

On my mother’s side my grandparents are mostly Italian and they both came to California from New York. With them they brought their eccentric creativity (their walls are filled with their own paintings and works from artists who inspire them around the world) and of course my Grandma’s impeccable Italian cooking from eggplant parmesan to homemade bread and sauces. Q: Can constructing a border just be an effort to establish a deeper connection with those who are closest to you? A: Familial ties and cultural connections can speak volumes to the formation of identity. I know that my own exploration and understanding of my parents, grandparents, brothers and extended relatives’ stories have all contributed to the filter through which I perceive the world. It gives me a foundation for understanding my place in this reality. Beyond that I have also seen how my friends, mentors, teachers, and artists who inspire me play a similar role in contributing to the formation of my identity. It gives me a sense of place and community to be able to relate to those who I love Q: You are your actions A: My actions give tangible life to my identity.  How I move through the world, what kind of energy I bring to an environment, how I voice my thoughts and ideas, where I travel, what I create. All of these actions speak more about my identity than the arbitrary collection of atoms and molecules of my genetic makeup. Q: Evolved understanding of self A: I’m noticing a pattern. A constant ebb and flow. Attempting to piece together my identity by time traveling. Going back to where I came from. Asking questions about my past generations, my culture, my childhood. Then responding to my environment. What is immediately in my proximity? Who am I surrounding myself with? How do I spend my time? Blending. Mixing. Exchanging. Blurring the lines of what is inside and outside of me. Within and without. The fluidity of my identity. ●

Meet me in the middle | Participant/Author to Participant/Author Gianna Zamora: Through this class both psychological and physical manifestations of the border have been brought up. Do you feel that the most prominent border in your life right now is rooted in a more physical or psychological space? Marina Kleit: Right now, I feel that the most prominent border in my life is psychological. I do not have to cross international borders on a daily basis. I do have to cross borders in order to make connections with people, experience new things outside of my comfort zone, and to have good conversations with those I may not agree with entirely. I would much rather cross borders, even if it is uncomfortable, than stay in my own little world. G: You bring up the topic of leaving behind certain cultural characteristics in order to assimilate into a new place more easily, for example: accents or traditions. Do you see this as necessary or

problematic? M: I think that assimilation is a very common way to adjust to life in a new place and culture. It is a difficult question to consider, whether it is better for a person to hold tight to their cultural traditions and language, or to be open to the new culture that they are blending with. I can see why some, including my grandparents, felt that it was necessary to blend into American culture as much as they could. However, I think there is such great value in the variety of cultures and languages that we have, especially here in the United States. I can personally say that I would have loved to have been raised speaking both Spanish and English, so that I could connect with so many people here, and feel more connected to my Mexican roots.


5

G: Through my own research and process of interviewing and uncovering my own cultural narrative as it relates back to the U.S. Mexico border I have come to understand my body as a sort of metaphorical border. Some of the qualities or characteristics of my body elicit some sense of truth about who I am as a person or what my ethnicity might be however some of the interpretations people may have at first glance can lead to a completely misguided or partial truth. Have you experienced any of the repercussions of this in your own life? Do you see this as problematic?

not easy, and he had to work at a very young age to support the family. I hope to find a deeper connection with the land where my family comes from, and to see a glimpse of the life my Tata had.

M: People definitely get confused about me, and I get asked quite often what my ethnicity is. And when they find out I am half-Mexican, they are sometimes shocked and judgmental about me not being able to speak Spanish. This is a prevalent reminder in my life that I am disconnected from some of my roots. I think this experience is relatable to almost everyone in one way or another, because it is simply a person's inability to completely embody one stereotypical identity. Not many people do that. I don't think there are any truly "typical" women, minorities, people in general. So therefore, we might all feel a bit strange in our bodies in the context of society as a whole.

M: What I found most interesting about my interviews with my parents was their openness to different viewpoints, and their openness with one another on such contentious topics as the U.S./Mexico border. Though their work made them both very close to border security and immigration issues in their daily lives, on such opposite ends of the spectrum (housing aid and border officer), they were able to maintain a mutual respect for each other, and see value in their partner's work. This openness eventually led to my dad becoming more compassionate toward undocumented immigrants, which I thought was a wonderful testament to the value of simple communication and conversation in stirring things up and changing them. The interviews were beneficial for me on a personal level, because I was able to understand my dad's perspective more fully. I had never heard him express so much of his opinion about his previous job as a CBP officer. And what my mom expressed was exactly what I thought it would be. Her experiences and stories from work have surely influenced me over the years, and are a big reason why I am drawn to do research and work on topics such as this.

G: How do you think we can begin to address this issue? M: This is only problematic if we think there is a problem with who we are, as we are. Instead, we should acknowledge our differences, and honor them, in ourselves and the people around us. G: You mention how you haven't traveled to Mexico yet. Do you have plans to go? Will you be seeking something in particular when you do? If so, where will you go, what do you expect to find? M: Yes, I would love to go to Mexico. I would like to explore many different regions of Mexico. I want to experience the diversity of food, art, and music. I also definitely want to visit Juarez where my Tata (grandpa) grew up. I know very little about his upbringing, except that life was

G: Through the process of interviewing your mother and father did you arrive at any surprising understanding about how they view the U.S./Mexico Border? Did your conversations with them provide any clarity on how you understand yourself in relation to the U.S./Mexico Border?

G: What role do you see fear playing in the tension and opposition surrounding the border? M: I see fear as the ultimate boundary, the ultimate wall at any border. Fear is what keeps people closed off, and fear is what inspires us to militarize. Fear of the "other", of people who have been labeled as "criminal," so different that they are considered "alien," makes it harder to be open to our neighbors and to work together. What would make borders, and the people on the other side of them, seem less scary, is simple communication. Communication and a sharing of our lives, our stories, our foods, and our music. The borders would seem less necessary on a security level, and would simply be lines indicating where different tribes of people dwell. ●

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for two additional interviews conducted by Gianna Zamora and to download the full collection of 82 interviews

DRAW YOUR THOUGHTS

5 i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


6

INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

Border one

P R EFACE & THAN K YO U

The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us.

with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

Id e n ti ty T h ro u g h A S hi fti n g La nds c a p e

Fre ed om

C l i n t E va ng elist a

6

* Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

Religion | Self-Interview

conversations

14

We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

Clint Evangelista is an artist with keen interest in video production. He is interested in listening to others’ stories and discovering what drives them.

Border is anything that divides. Border is anything that divides.

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

A college apartment in San Diego. It is a two-bedroom, spacious dwelling with a modest patio in the back. “It’s a quiet area. You get the occasional partying upstairs, but other than that it’s pretty calm here.” He is a twenty year old student who is near wrapping up his third year. The rest of his family live elsewhere. He is considerably thin. “I don’t have time to work out.” There is a pressing order: life; “being an adult”--jobs, bills, taxes, settling down, having a family. “I’m too young for this. I still feel like I’m thirteen.”He was born in the small city of Hayward, California and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Q: Can you tell me a about a prominent border in your life?

A: I think a prominent border in my life is the cultural border between my parents and my siblings and me. Because they both grew up in the Philippines, they raised my siblings and me with very religious, conservative values. Even though I went to Catholic school from kindergarten to high school, I was surrounded by peers who had more secular and progressive views. At times, growing up in a more secular society has made it difficult for me to talk to my parents. I felt like religion was something that was being forced on me without any choice. I felt like I was following someone else’s interpretation of religion, while I believed that religion is something that should be up to the individual. I tried to convince my parents that going to Mass was not for me, but they quickly shut me down, claiming that I need to do this for God. I’m hopeful that over time they will be more understanding of other views. Q: When you think of an entire parish, how well does each person understand and equally practice a given faith? The boundaries around each individual's faith, including having no faith, are their own. A: I don’t think I can speak for anyone, but I believe that people can participate in a Parish for a variety of reasons--a devotion to faith, a need of an escape from everyday life, a need for belonging to a community. Q: In a sense, even those who reject a given viewpoint are still a part of the landscape of that terrain. What is your rejection?

A: It’s something that I’m still trying to understand. I don’t feel like I can completely reject my identity as a Catholic, but it’s not something I’m totally comfortable with. I still pray on my own. I do believe in God, but I don’t think that practicing Catholicism is how I want to express my faith. I think it’s because I can’t completely reject my Catholic identity. I’ve attended Catholic schools for 13 years of my life. There have been times when I’d consider myself a devout Catholic and times the opposite. Right now, I’m somewhere in between. I remember

hearing in my high school freshman theology class that faith is a lifelong journey. Looking back, it really is. I also think religion can function as a source of strength, and that’s one of the main reasons why I continue to pray. For strength. Q: What is freedom and where do you locate your freedom? A: I think freedom is a mind set. It can happen anywhere. Freedom is being in the moment and only handling the present situation. Essentially, I locate freedom within myself. When I’m overwhelmed by all of my projects and deadlines, freedom is being able to tell myself to take a step back from all the chaos, take a deep breath, and only focus on what I’m working on at the moment. Q: How has the process of dismantling this border with your parents affected your personal views and how you engage with the world? A: Dismantling this border has made me more empathetic. I’ve been able to put myself in my parents’ shoes and understand how religion was an integral part of their lives growing up. But I think more importantly for me, it’s made me more independent. I’ve realized that I can form my opinions and speak my own voice. Q: How is this relevant to the greater picture of cultural divides among whole groups of people or nations? A: I think there’s a need for understanding in order to dismantle divides among groups of people. Cultural divides do play an important role in the growth of differences. Without our divides, there wouldn’t be many cultures. However, I think if we want to resolve conflicts that stem from cultural divides, people need to be understanding of each other's’ backgrounds. I had to understand where my parents are coming from and my parents had to understand where I am coming from. ●

Understanding | Participant/Author to Participant/Author Clint Evangelista: In your self interview, you talked about growing up in the midst of inequality. Did that inequality affect cliques or groups going through that elementary school? Nicole Gonzalez: Yeah, it did, but I didn’t realize it until middle school when certain things started happening to me. This one time I went over to a friend’s house. She was from a middle class family. She had a pool in her backyard, and we were swimming in her pool. She was talking about another girl that she was good friends with. She was saying this friend of hers was rich. I almost said the first thing that came to my mind, but I had had a couple of these things happen to me already. So, I held my tongue. I didn’t say it, but I almost said, “But you’re rich.” In my mind, she was rich because she had a pool. I realized that maybe my assumptions about people weren’t right. Maybe it was better to not say anything. In that moment, I realized that sharing my assumption might have negative consequences and I made the decision that I didn't want to deal with the possible outcomes of that.

C: Where do you locate freedom from these societal borders in your life? N: Knowing that they’re there makes me understand that there’s a push from the other side. For example, the girl who I talked about in my self interview who suddenly decided I shouldn’t be a part of her social group. It would be just as easy for me to push back in instances like these. I

think being aware of a border makes me want to know how a connection can be made across it. There is probably more than one way to do that, and different ways are gonna have different outcomes. Some may develop more understanding. Some may completely close off communication. It requires a lot of tact to make it positive. I think these borders are inescapable, but we can work across them in constructive ways.


7

C: How does the process of dismantling these borders in your life affect how you engage with the world? N: Sometimes I don’t always feel like completely dismantling the border. Sometimes I’m okay with it being there. Sometimes I don’t even try to bridge the border because it’s too much work. So sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. I pick and choose what to engage with. C: Can you give me an example of picking and choosing your battles? N: I don’t try to get involved in verbal arguments or state my opinion on contentious issues, like when you asked me about religion. I know that talking isn’t my strong point. I know that it helps me to talk about things, but I know that it’s not always a good way for me to try to convince somebody. Or to truly display how I feel about something to somebody who doesn’t know how I feel. So instead, I’ll either keep quiet or I’ll find another way to say something about it. A lot of the time I wind up just focusing on the things I need to do to care for myself. I’m realizing that self-care can be radical when you’re disabled or a woman of color. I’m working against a lot when I show myself appreciation and step away from confrontations that aren’t going to be good for me or anybody involved. I’m much more likely to take part in a confrontation in which I don’t have to speak, such as in a direct action on the street. Just the presence of my body can make a difference, even though I’m not necessarily verbally saying anything if I’m in the street and protesting. Through art, through making sweaters, that’s another way to communicate. C: Can you talk about the textiles you create and what the colors/patterns signify? N: I’ve been working with textiles and patterns through a few different areas. First, I’ve been working with Andean iconography, so symbols from ancient Peru. I’ve also been working with emojis and contemporary pop culture symbols and blending it with the ancient. Another part of it is data visualization. I’ve taken 100 years of climate data, color coded it, and laid out the colors in a sweater. The last element, that kind of encompasses everything, is addressing perception and using symbols to do that. One thing that I have is a hat, and the hat has a hand on it. Maybe, instead of calling it a hat, you’ll call it a cap. And then maybe you’ll say, “There’s a hand on this cap.” And then you realize, it’s a hand-y-cap. Then, the person that has it on might be wearing it because they have an invisible disability. So, the combination of all these elements is like the process of understanding a pictograph. The part of it that I want to keep working with is this communication of what the sweater-wearer is trying to say and what it means to try to understand or engage with where it’s coming from.

think I denied being Peruvian for a long time. But it was all around me. My dad would tell me all these stories about his time in the Andes and the Amazon. My parents had tons of books about the Incas and pre-conquest civilizations of modern day Peru. They had textiles all over the place. Whenever you see images of Peru, there’s always textiles, always pictures of women weaving or knitting. I think a way for me to connect with my heritage was through the process of textile construction. Maybe I also didn’t connect with my parents the way I should have. It was a way of not just connecting with a culture that I didn’t fully understand, but it was also a nod to my parents for all the sacrifices they made to come to this country. C: When you talk about borders in your life, how is it relevant to the greater picture of divides between cultures and nations? N: I think it’s hard to really understand where other people are coming from. It’s hard to give another person the benefit of the doubt that they’re talking from experience when they might have gone through certain trauma you haven't had to experience. If you haven’t seen it, it’s easy to ignore or dismiss as fictional. I think it's easier to give the benefit of the doubt when you have experienced some sort of understanding of a differentiation between you and another person because of a cultural divide. It's an example that you can relate to in your life. If you’re so different from this one person and you’ve experienced it, then maybe you can understand that this thing, this trauma, that other cultural groups are talking about, you can at least imagine that it’s real. At an international level, this can be applied to the people at the tops of nations. I think the leaders of nations draw from personal experience so the things that have happened within their family, their upbringing, and their knowledge and understanding about history of the nation affect how they interact with leaders of another nation. C: How do you maintain balance between having skepticism that you don’t know everything with confidence in what you’re saying? N: I think you have to blend your personal experience with an understanding of history. You have to take those two and have an opinion. That will motivate you to do certain things in your life. Having healthy self-skepticism would come in at a point where… say you grew up in a neighborhood where there were lots of drug addicts. You saw that first hand. Then, you grow up and you get a job at a shelter where many people have been impacted by drugs. You may bring prejudice to the shelter because you think you know what people will be like based on the people you grew up with, but it’s good to doubt yourself sometimes. To reflect on what other kinds of situations may bring somebody to this point. Understand that maybe you don’t know everything about everybody that’s going to be there. That can motivate you to do something- to change something. To have a positive impact in a certain way based on your accruing personal experiences and your evolving beliefs, your understanding of history, and your understanding of culture. It’s important to know that you don’t know everything. ●

7

I think part of it is trying to connect with this cultural background that I couldn’t connect with when I was younger. When I was growing up, I had the feeling that I needed to acculturate. I

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for another interview conducted by Clint Evangelista and to download the full collection of 82 interviews

Draw your thoughts

i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


8

INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

B o r d eerrs o n e

P R EFACE & THAN K YO U

14

We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

8

The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

conv

ations

WITH residents of Tijuana-San Diego

Id e n ti ty T h ro u g h A S hi fti n g La nds c a p e

I n te r p re t a t ion

N i col e Gonz a le z Nicole Gonzalez creates functional textiles, dysfunctional garments, tapestry-like pieces, and multimedia collages with symbols and imagery extracted from cross-cultural sources. She owns and operates the knitwear company Inca Colors.

Border is a limitation of perception between or amongst two or more different entities that can only be somewhat bridged through reciprocal communication.

You Through Me and Me Through You | Self-Interview

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Nicole Gonzalez was born and raised in New York State. She is currently finishing her BA in Studio Art at UCSD.

Q: What type of borders exist within yourself?

A: I think the borders within myself have to do with my own self-perception as well as how others perceive me. My identity comes from having grown up in an impoverished neighborhood, having limited access to things, having invisible disabilities, being a woman, being the daughter of immigrants, and being a person of color. All of these things affect one another. These identifiers are often separated into different categories, but really they can be overlapping. Nobody is representative of all disabled people or all women, so it’s difficult to generalize about one element of identity and group everybody that identifies with it into a homogenous group. When generalizations are made about groups of people, it’s often because intersectional identity has been overlooked. Q: What institutions are in place that you feel subject you to constructing a border? A: I think institutions in place that help create these borders have to do with capitalism as well as competition in general. Whenever you have any sort of hierarchical motivations in a society, a border will arise. I think these motivations aren’t inherently human characteristics. I think they are a construction of human character that is impacted by society, how it’s constructed and how we tend to internalize society’s structures within ourselves. When I was growing up on Long Island, there were people from a bunch of different neighborhoods that went to my school. There were some families that lived near the bay that had a lot of money. Then there were families who literally grew up on the other side of the tracks. A few blocks from where I lived people didn’t even have front doors. They just had blankets over where their front door would be. There was a really vast distribution of wealth just in my public school. My parents didn't want me to hang out with other kids in my neighborhood, because they thought they would get me into drugs. They wanted me to be friends with kids that were from other neighborhoods. Those were the only kids I could be friends with. I had a disconnection with my own identity because the neighborhood I grew up in, and the people who lived there weren’t as much a part of my life as they should have been. The thing is my family was from Peru. There were no other families from Latin American countries in my neighborhood. It was mostly Black, some Native American. But my parents only allowed me to be friends with White kids. When I went to school, I was put in this setting where I was encouraged to study with kids that were getting good grades. Around middle school, we got strategically grouped into different classes. Kids that were getting good grades were put into one class. The other kids were put into other classes. I got separated from the kids that were in my neighborhood. School was a place where I could be this one person in relationship to my peers, but I still didn’t quite jive. For example, with my best friend in 4th and 5th grade, her dad was driving me home once. We were going through my neighborhood. He said something like “Oh. We’re in Crack City.” And there was another time in middle school, my friend wasn’t allowed to sleep over my house because her dad didn't think it was safe for her to spend even one night in the neighborhood I spent my whole life in. I mean, I was over their house a lot, and he had known my parents for a long time, but that wasn’t enough. I’ll share another anecdote. I was on the lunch line with one of my friends, and she asked me where I lived. She found out the neighborhood I lived in. After we got our food, we sat down at the lunch table. We had a few other friends at the table and one girl tapped another on the arm and said, “Tag, you’re it.” That girl tagged me and said, “Tag, you’re it.” And I tagged the girl who I told I lived in North Bellport and she said, “Ew. Don’t touch me.” I didn’t understand it at first, but I eventually realized there was this idea that people from outside my neighborhood couldn’t talk to people from my neighborhood. There was this fear of contamination, like we were dirty. I think the school setting didn’t help, but I think it could’ve been similar with any institution where I would be trying to assimilate with vastly different

peers. In girl scouts, I had similar experiences because it was people from my school. If I had been in a girl scout troop with girls that didn’t know me through school, it might have been different. I’m not sure. It’s ambiguous. Q: Do external influences affect the construction of internal borders? Do internal borders affect how you perceive others? A: Borders within yourself affect the way you see other people and they are affected by other people. There’s a common saying that in order to love others, you must first love yourself. Well, I think that In order to understand others, we must understand ourselves, but understanding ourselves isn’t first and foremost. I think it has an inextricable relationship with our perception of others and how we choose to understand them. Q: In what ways are you attempting to transcend these external and internal borders of perception? A: Well, right now I’ve decided that my best bet is to stop talking about it as much. That I only talk about it in places where I feel comfortable, where I feel like somebody is going to be receptive to what I’m talking about. I assess the situation and if I think somebody may not understand what I’m trying to say, I instead try to anticipate their reactions, and address their reactions. That may have to do with the fact that I have multiple sensory disorders. I need to be able to organize my thoughts so that the argument I’m going to be having about the ways I want to be heard is an argument that I can strongly engage in, as opposed to having my abilities limit me and put me at a disadvantage. Another way is through retracting from social media, spending less time in spaces that aren’t going to make a deep impact, and focusing on points of communicating where I’m strong. I don’t post as much on social media as I used to because I don’t want to get into online arguments or try to communicate my thoughts in the limited and short form of status updates. It’s easy to be misinterpreted in these types of spaces, especially somebody like me who tends to fall behind in keeping up with the speed of social media. The final way I’m doing this is through fashion-- making sweaters that communicate what I want to say through symbols. There’s communication in these sweaters that act as a kind of contract, because there’s a riddle or pictograph. You can look at the particular set of symbols in my knitwear and in order to understand the full meaning of the garment, you have to be invested in actually trying to figure it out. The truth of what is being said in these garments is there for you if you’re willing to make the effort. I think that’s when true communication can occurwhen there are at least two parties willing to make an effort at sharing something in a new way. Q: Should we have fluid barriers, or should there be a limit to understanding ourselves and each other? When is rigidity needed? A: I think there should be no limits in us trying to understand each other. Of course, there’s a limit on other things, such as time, like the resources we have to invest in other people. There’s a limit on the number of people we can interact with on a daily basis, the quality of those interactions, and the ability to maintain a healthy amount of self-care while interacting with others. I think rigidity is only needed when setting up parameters for addressing a miscommunication or something that may potentially be miscommunicated… I should put it this way: you need to have some sort of way to balance confidence in your beliefs and what you’re saying, but still have a healthy skepticism that you don’t know everything. That can be about another person or another group or even a way to understand things. There’s always potentially new information we can use so that we can be more receptive to a new understanding of ourselves and of others. ●


9 You To Me Through You and Me To You Through Me | Participant/Author to Participant/Author Nicole Gonzalez: How has your religious devotion changed through your life? Clint Evangelista: Finding my religious devotion started in elementary school because I was enrolled in a Catholic K-8th school. Then I was enrolled in a Catholic high school. Religion has always been with me. I’ve been taking religion classes and sacraments my whole life before I came to college. I guess you could say that I did consider myself a pretty devout Catholic. I did believe in things without question like going to Mass and believing in God. There was a constant message of “this is how it is done.” This is how we show we are Catholic. My devotion shifted in high school because there was a point in my theology textbook that said it was okay to question--to question our faith and question why we do things. That really stuck with me. My theology teacher said that faith is a lifelong journey. I feel like that’s really true now for me more than ever. Maybe in a few years I’ll have that moment...that spark where I think, “Maybe I should go back to church for some reason.” I don’t know. I feel that will eventually happen. I do believe in God, I do believe that whatever’s out there has a weird way of making things happen. I don’t know if it’s just coincidence, but… N: Yeah, I understand what you’re saying. C: I don’t know the right word for it or how to label it, but I feel that someday eventually I’ll come back to the church, but not anytime soon. N: How does religion interact with nationality for you? C: Catholicism is embedded in my Filipino culture. I don’t know much about the history of the Philippines, but I know that Catholicism in the country is a product of Spanish colonialism. It’s been rooted with my culture and family for generations. N: The same with Peru. It was a result of colonialism. Do you think that it was different at all for your parents because they lived in the Philippines for most of their lives? C: I definitely believe that it was a much, much stricter time for my parents growing up in the Philippines compared to today. From the stories that I heard, they were very devout. They would pray every day together. Mass was a big part of their lives. It was important to go together as a family. N: Do you think that’s not just the fact that they lived in the Philippines, but with time periods? Your grandparents were older, so maybe it was a little bit different back then? C: I think it was definitely a more conservative time back then especially because they grew up during martial law in the 70’s. I’m curious to know what life was like during this time. I’m curious to know whether that affected how they practiced their religion. It was probably a more conservative era in contrast to today where it’s much more liberal and secular.

C: I remember asking them when I was a kid, “Why am I Catholic?” They always said because they were raised Catholic, so it was something they were passing on to us. In a sense them pushing their religion on me is just tradition because it’s something that has been carried down through generations in the Philippines and in their families. N: Do you think that they expected resistance at all from you or your sister or was it a complete surprise to them?

C: I feel like it might have been a surprise to them because from how they describe it, they were pretty strict when passing on tradition, especially Catholic traditions in the Philippines. I think that might have been because of (laughs) punishments in the Philippines...

C: … are pretty harsh. There’s the belt, the slipper. (laughs)

C: I guess that’s part of the reason why they’re really strict in how things are passed down, but since the culture is a lot different here, I feel that’s why they’re surprised by this resistance. N: I feel like Filipinos and Peruvians are very similar. Do you think there are factors outside of religion that affect your disconnection with Catholicism? C: There’s so many things I can list. Off the top of my head is how secular our society and culture is. There isn’t a really large emphasis on a religion. On top of that, once I moved away for college, I was able to manage my own time. I didn’t have to go to church and I wasn’t forced to practice my faith all the time. I think my friends, too, were also a factor. In elementary school, almost everybody was Catholic, but in high school, a lot of my friends weren’t practicing Catholics. They were Atheists. They were Hindus. They were Buddhists. They were Agnostics. I think that introduced me to the idea that you don’t have to be Catholic to have a good life. N: How does it promote potential understanding or unity? C: I don’t think religion has to promote unity. There’s always going to be a divide between my mom being a devout Catholic and me just not being as devout. N: On a broader scale, does religion encourage unity more or exclusion? Or does the church encourage more unity or exclusion?

9

N: How does your religious upbringing help shape your understanding of how your parents pushed this religion on you and their motivations for doing that?

N: (laughs)

N: Yeah. (laughs)

C: I feel like it encourages unity even though people can disagree with the church. They’re always welcoming to anyone of any religion but at the same time churches can be exclusionary, especially looking at history and seeing how religion started wars and divided groups of people. I think it’s the optimist in me to think that religion can promote unity. N: Should religious devotion be at all influenced by fear? C: No. I don’t think religious devotion should be influenced at all by fear. Fear creates an atmosphere of hostility and discomfort, and I don’t feel like that’s nurturing to producing a strong faith. Doing things out of fear sounds like you’re in an unhappy environment. I think you should be participating in religion if you feel like you’re genuinely gaining something from it, whether it’s the community or it’s an integral way of expressing your faith. N: You’ve spoken about freedom before. What motivated you to talk about freedom? C: People can find freedom through their religion. For me, freedom is more of a mind set. It could happen anywhere. It’s letting go of things from the past and really just focusing on the present and the current moment. ●

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for another interview conducted by Nicole Gonzalez and to download the full collection of 82 interviews

NOTES

i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


10

INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

Border two

P R EFACE & THAN K YO U We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

15

conversations with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

In Clos e Rel a t io ns h ip

L’existence précède l’essence 1 K e vin L a u

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The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

Kevin Lau is 28 and graduating from UCSD with a degree in Philosophy. Kevin returned to UCSD to complete his undergraduate degree 2 years ago after working full time in Mortgage Financing. Kevin suffered two strokes when he was 24 due to a burst artery in his neck resulting from lifting weights, but is for the most part asymptomatic. Today Kevin is mostly concerned with living the good life and being a good person.

Border is a delimitation between two bodies that can be abstract or physical.

Cogito Ergo Sum2 | Self-Interview

Q: Do you think there is a border between our bodies and our minds? That we are two things a mind or soul, and a body with extension?

A: We like to think about our minds and our bodies as two separate entities. There is this separation between the two, my body on one side and my mind and soul on the other. I never gave it much thought. It just seemed natural to think of them as two different things. Four years ago I suffered two strokes over two days that left me with half of my right side cerebellum dead. From that experience I’ve personally come to the conclusion that there really isn’t a separation between the two. Your mind, your consciousness, your soul, is a physical thing housed in your brain. What I’m trying to say is that there is no divide and we just think there is one. Q: Can you tell me about the experience of the stroke itself that caused you come to this conclusion?

A: My roommate at the time, Ray, asked if I would accompany to Escrow in case he had questions, he was in the process of buying his first house, a condo. As we left I started to stretch my neck and suddenly felt incredibly dizzy and nauseous. When I opened my eyes it felt the world was spinning, as if I were on a roller coaster constantly bouncing violently up and down as well. I couldn’t focus my vision on anything and the nausea was made worse. I closed my eyes and asked him to pull over into the park. The moment he pulled over I opened the door and collapsed onto the ground and began vomiting. Luckily we were not very far from our house. I was able to fumble and get my keys into the door and the moment the door opened I started stripping my clothes while stumbling up the stairs making for my bathroom. Later on my friend Ray would joke that it looked like a murder scene when he got back from his appointment. I hurled myself into my shower and turned it on with cold water washing over me. I initially was laying on my back vomiting again every few minutes. The color spectrum of the fluids coming out of me ran the colors of the rainbow eventually turning into the greenish yellow hue of bile, a white foam, and finally until there was literally nothing left and I would convulse while dry heaving. I found out that lying on left side felt immensely better than my right. By that I mean that if I laid on my right side I would continuously dry heave with the dizziness and nausea increasing whereas laying on my left would lessen these symptoms and would increase the time between the vomiting and dry heaving. As you can imagine I spent most my time on my left side in that tub. Q: What was your thought process like during this period?

A: Well you see I was in great physical shape, was out running the day before, and had been working out at the gym frequently before this. None of this made sense. Maybe, I tried to tell myself, maybe I ate something. That must be it, I must have eaten something bad…but what? Though at the time I assure you my thought process didn’t work this fluid. It happened in fragments almost like a strobe light moving down a checklist. “Feel fine, Not sick, Work out,” nothingness for a few minutes, “Ate something bad.” I could think but usually when I think to myself my thoughts are encoded in language as if I’m having a conversation with myself or as if I’m having a conversation with myself. But like I said my thoughts happened in fragments of ideas. I’m can’t tell you if this is how my brain was working at the time or if it had to do with my perception of time. Q: How did your perception of time change? 1 Existence Precedes Essence,” Jean-Paul Sartre’s words and heart of existential philosophy. We come into this world first and define ourselves by our actions. It’s hard to say what drew me to Sartre, perhaps it was because existentialism is a big fuck you to Kant.

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Kevin walks into his room and immediately undoes his belt buckle walking out of his pants. For a few seconds he wrestles with his shirt fumbling to get it off before finally collapsing into his chair leaning as far back as possible. Without looking Kevin is able to reach around behind his chair to find a bottle of Laphroaig 10 which he immediately uncorks and begins drinking. Clearly a ritual that has been well rehearsed. Kevin is one quarter away from graduating UCSD with a bachelor’s in Philosophy after an 8 year hiatus with 4 years spent on a career in mortgage financing and 1 year of travelling before initiating the re-enrollment process with UCSD. He was born in Los Angeles and raised in the East L.A. area. Today he mostly considers San Diego home. In the back of his mind there is constant nagging that he’s too old to go back to school, lost a mental step, and that he’s just not as smart as he used to be. He gently rubs the back of his neck, the location of a dissected carotid artery that caused him to have a stroke 4 years ago while ruminating on the experience. A: I don’t remember exactly how long but I think it was close to three or four hours that I spent in the tub. I can assure you though that it didn’t feel that long and at the same time it felt much longer. It didn’t feel that long because it felt like I was falling asleep at times but I imagine this was me drifting in and out of consciousness, or maybe neither is true and I was conscious for everything but I just can’t remember it. I don’t know to be honest. But if I try to examine the time objectively it felt like maybe an hour at most, maybe two. It also seemed to last much longer than four hours because the excruciating pain. Q: Did you have a headache? What do you mean by pain, what was hurting? A: Don’t get me wrong nothing really hurt in the traditional sense, maybe anguish would be a better word. I get migraines so I am intimately familiar with headaches but this was no headache. The only thing I might be able to associate with traditional senses of pain was when I was dry heaving. The motion of my stomach and muscles in that area contracting so violently was physically painful. It felt like a sharp stab on the inside of my left sternum every time. But despite that, I wasn’t in any pain but the nausea, the dizziness, the inability to focus my vision was incredibly painful to experience. Imagine getting off a carnival ride that slightly distorted your vision and sense of balance. You don’t feel bad afterwards but you feel ill, now imagine if you intensified that feeling to the point you began contemplating killing yourself to make it stop. Q: So you said it lasted 3-4 hours, what happened afterwards? A: I knew at one point that my vision had stabilized and I could lay on my back without wanting to vomit. The nausea still lingered but it was bearable and much more manageable. I stood up, turned the water back on to one of its hottest settings and proceeded to scrub myself clean. I had what felt like a dull headache, a pain that wasn’t really painful but a numbness in my head. I finished my shower and found my clothes neatly piled on my bed in my room. I discussed with my roommate what happened and he jokingly laughed and said, “Thanks for holding out and not throwing up in my car.” Q: You said you suffered two strokes, can you describe the time in-between and the second stroke? A: I spent the next day resting at home feeling numb. While I felt okay I felt slow and sluggish. My movements just seemed dulled slightly and I couldn’t get the dull pain in the back of my head to go away. Convinced that the whole episode resulted because of something I ate I drove to the local market bought some saltine crackers and decided to munch on those for the day. The next morning, I woke up at 6am, did my morning routine which involved stretching out my neck and doing so immediately caused me to collapse. The same nausea, dizziness, and inability to focus happened again and I crawled back into the tub. However, it started out not as bad as the first time. Seemingly in familiar circumstances I resulted to what I knew would

2 “I Think therefore I Am,” Extrapolated from Rene Descartes 2nd Meditation. A deceiving God can deceive me of everything but my own existence. So I exist, a thinking thing. As a philosopher existence is kind of a big deal, if I can’t get this right then I’ve really messed up.


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work, mostly lying on my left side. Though this time my vomit started off mostly a foamy white. The difference between this episode and my first is that the first one seemed to go away after a while. The second time, what felt like to me to be three to four hours, turned out to be nine. My roommate Ray pounded on the door and asked if I was okay. Since I didn’t have a watch on me this time I asked him what time it was. “3 PM, have you been in there all day?” “Since 6. Ray, I think you need to call me an ambulance.” “Yea, already on it.” The ambulance arrived fast they came much faster than I could gather myself and rinse and dress myself. Instead while floundering in the tub several EMT’s basically broke the door to the bathroom to find me naked, sprawled out in a bathtub covered in my own vomit and sweat. I asked them if they would mind if I could get a second to rinse myself off and find some pants. Q: What happened after the EMT’s dropped you off at the hospital? A: I was eventually ushered into the ICU at Scripps Memorial Hospital after a CT Scan and an MRI. I spent 3 nights in the ICU and another 4 on the 2nd floor observation wing. I did my best to retain my sense of humor and told the nurse at the MRI machine that since my brain was my most attractive feature to make sure she got a picture from the good side. I think she laughed, I don’t remember her response but I hoped she laughed. Everyone seemed far too serious, I imagine it’s because they don’t get too many 24-year-old stroke victims in the prime of their health. I think at times I was proving to myself that I was fine and the way I could best do that was by trying to make light of the situation. At one point a nurse stopped by to check on me as my heart rate dropped to 40 beats per minute suddenly. I told her, “ it was because she made my heart skip a beat.” Q: What about friends and family, did they come to see you? What was that like? A: My mother came down in the middle of the first night. My sister found out first because of social media. She was in Singapore and so she called her friends in LA who drove my mother down to see me. I know it sounds silly but I had wanted to hide this from my mother. I knew she would cry and believe it or not that hurt more than the stroke. The nurses at the ICU wheeled in a separate bed for her and she stayed with me at the hospital. My mother never cried in front of me. She stayed stoic while she was in my room sometimes laughing with me as I did my best to crack jokes to show her I was fine, that this was “nothing to worry about.” However, when she would return to my room from eating at the cafeteria or using the rest room her eyes were always red and watery and I could see the dried streaks running down her cheeks. I told her, one night, that I think that God sold her short, that she deserved a better son than I.

Q: What was the recovery process like, did you notice any impairment or did anything strike you as odd? A: I passed the battery of tests the doctors and nurses gave me. Much of it was to make sure I didn’t lose strength in my extremities and my sense of balance and coordination wasn’t too heavily impacted. At one point they had me walking through the hospital halls while a nurse would gently push me in different angles to see how I would adjust my body to compensate. In that sense I appeared asymptomatic. I am at first glance asymptomatic. However, there are a few key differences. My sense of balance is mostly intact but not completely. Twisting my body at an angle and navigating through a narrow opening for example, or balancing on a single foot is much harder than it used to be. I also noticed I tend to trip much more than I use to climbing up and down stairs, thank god for guardrails. Finally, I’ve noticed that I had to apply a little more concentration and thought on my movements whereas they were much more fluid and automatic. But even with this extra deliberateness my movements are still not as fluid as before. The other one is that my friends who have known me for a long time have remarked that my speech pattern is different. I stutter or talk slower than I use to and often times find myself fumbling for words that I know. However, this is something I can’t feel, it sounds to me exactly the same as before. Perhaps this is too anecdotal but I’ve lost my ability to visualize problems mentally. By that I mean before I use to be able to mentally visualize a problem and give it spatial properties when solving it. I can’t do that anymore. I have to draw it out or see it now because when I try to visualize it I can’t grasp all the variables in my mind anymore. Q: So can you describe in more detail how this experience leads you to the conclusion there is no barrier between mind and body? A: If it were just the physical properties that were affected, my balance and coordination, I might be able to convince myself that whatever divide I imagined existed between myself and my body was still there. But my inability to reason as fast as I use to, my inability to comprehend things as quickly as I use to, and the general loss of some of my cognitive faculties are things we don’t consider as physical properties but they are the result of physical damages. To a certain degree we accept that already and it’s already documented. We have Phineas Gage3 who had a pole blown through his skull and lived with drastic personality changes. It was said a doctor touched his hand into the top of his head and was able to touch his fingers on the bottom side of his chin. This idea of a separation between mind and body isn’t something real. There is no spiritual border between your mind and your body. I assure you your mind has extension; it is physical. Forget your lines on a map those are less real and less knowable than yourself. ●

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Vertigo | Participant/Author to Participant/Author

Michelle sits in front of me on a sunny day at the Price Center4 on the UCSD campus. She is 23 years old with short blonde hair and blueish-green eyes. Within her backpack is a copy of The Witcher: The Tower of the Swallow, a Polish fantasy book by Andrzej Sapkowski. Michelle was born in San Diego at the Naval Medical Center and grew up on Coronado Island5 and now currently lives in Vista, CA. Michelle is thoughtful, well spoken, and a little introverted but has arrived for this interview armed with a litany of puns. Michelle is the daughter of a Naval Officer and has spent a significant portion of her life within the closed communities of military housing. She is about to graduate from UCSD with a degree in Anthropology. Our interview takes the form of a conversation as we break the ice by discussing our mutual love for Sapkowski’s writing, her experiences as an outsider in a self-contained and exclusive neighborhood, to her Hispanic friend Glados, and finally trying to out-pun the other. It’s Sunday, August 14, 2016 so the Price Center is closed but there are a few Chinese students touring the campus with their family. I translate some of the conversation in the background for her. Michelle is Caucasian and myself the child of Chinese immigrants but she laughs as it sounds like the conversation the Chinese students and parents are having is one she had with her parents, and similarly I feel that this is a template of life all of us have acted out. Kevin Lau: Can you tell me a little about your parents?

Michelle Johnson: My dad is a doctor but I didn’t always remember him as one. I remember dad was going to med-school when I was still going to school. He would come home from residency at nine pm at night until I was four years old. That was ongoing. He would get home late, we would not have family dinners. He would get called away in the night a lot and there would be a lot of stress because he was often tired or worn out. Mom had a job as a headhunter for an HR firm. She had to leave that job because my Dad was going to medical school and he it was a full time commitment. And he couldn’t be there all the time when we needed him. He couldn’t be there to cook us dinner and pick us up from school. So Mom made a choice that she was going to stay at home and do all of it. So it was difficult. I used to enjoy introducing my dad as Captain Doctor. I enjoyed the fact that the title was unique to him. I think however, it stood for my own uniqueness as well. It was something that created something of a distance between my sister and I and the other kids. My dad wasn’t frequently deployed nor was he a soldier. He did participate in biannual fitness test that he had to pass in order to remain in the military. As part of his training as a flight surgeon he also would participate in emergency crash drills. K: You lived in Coronado which is both an island community and a large naval facility. Did you experience part of that military?

M: at one point I was told by another kid in my class, who’s father was also an officer, that my Dad wasn’t military enough.I mentioned that I knew he was unique and that we were unique and so I knew were sticking around a lot longer than other people. Another thing about being in the military was that their was a high transfer rate. It was not unusual at all to have kids in class move away or have new kids join the class. My sister once lost an entire group of friends to transfersBut it was sorta offensive in the sense that they were saying my dad wasn’t real anything. What do you mean by that? Does that mean he doesn’t have to work or that he doesn’t have to have the fear of getting deployed? I mean he doesn’t have the same experience but I felt like that should count or it should matter. He’s the one that patches them up and sends them back out, does that count for nothing? K: What did military enough mean to you? You asked “what do you mean by that” referring to what the child meant. What do you think it meant? My limited understanding is mostly from 2nd hand knowledge from close friends who were enlisted men. Mostly marines who were “boots on the ground.”

M: Military enough for me meant being in the US military. There are a variety of branches and a number of jobs. Not just soldiers, but also JAG 4, accountants, doctors, and a number of people that all contribute to that organization and keeping it running. I wanted her to explain exactly what she meant partly because I didn’t know exactly what she meant. I knew my dad’s experience was not that of a typical enlisted soldier. Strangely enough her father was also an officer, although her father’s role was is what is typically thought of as he works on a destroyer on deployment. However, overall I think she meant that my father’s experience as a doctor wasn’t legitimate and that by extension neither was mine. It was being excluded from a culture Phineas Gage was a construction foreman in the 1800’s. An accident involving blasting powder sent an iron rod through his skull destroying the majority of his left temporal lobe. As you can imagine there is much documentation supporting some shifts in his personality.

3

Name for the student center at the University of California San Diego. We had carefully positioned ourselves beneath some shade but away from the branches that the pigeons liked to congregate at.

4

and a world that I always felt had a significant impact on my life. . K: It seems there’s a socioeconomic difference being implied, you used the term “vertical border,” in your own interview in contrast with horizontal ones. Despite occupying the same space as each other there was something of a class ceiling that seemed to create a separation or divide. Do you mind talking about what you meant a little bit? M: To me there are horizontal borders and vertical borders. For example, the other kids and I had come to Coronado from different places, geographically speaking. Resulting from that we had differing perspectives of life, and sometimes even different languages. However, neither difference made us “superior” to the other. However, there was an economic divide that was a vertical difference or inequality. Vertical difference is where one has access to resources that another does not. I think the tension in this case was that my mother had more economic resources. Also however, because the economic difference had manifested horizontally as a cultural difference. There was a different way of seeing being that was tied up in inequality. K: Were there any other instances in which you picked up on this vertical border while on Coronado? M: I suppose I picked up on my mother’s discomfort. She wasn’t disdainful but because they came from different life paths there’s sort of a tension of difference.” K: You called yourself a Coronado Cay in your interview earlier, I’m not familiar with the term Coronado Cay, can you tell me what that is or what that means? I’m vaguely familiar with them as a Homeowner’s Association on Coronado Island. M: The Coronado Cays is another neighborhood on the island. It’s down the strand past the city proper and the military housing. It’s actually the last town before Imperial Beach. Regardless of that proximity to Imperial Beach, vertically it was on the same level as Coronado. The same of demographic of mostly upper middle class WASPs7. We have several marinas within the Cays itself for everyone’s yachts and sailboats. It also had the feel of a tourist area. A good number of houses were only occupied for part of the year. They were vacation homes. There actually is still an economic divide depending on which neighborhood you live in the Cays. Buccaneer and Calypso were some of the nicest neighborhoods and at the other end of the spectrum were neighborhoods like Port Royale or Mardi Gras. Still we were not entirely on the same level as those from the village. I again was pretty young so it was only something I was aware of in the background. For me houses were houses. Although, there was one thing I counted as a significant difference between the Cays and the housing. Nearly every house in the military neighborhood was only one story. For some reason, I believed having a staircase was essential to having a really good house. A literal vertical separation or a border. Kids are weird. Military housing was a cluster of one story houses located on the Strand. You know it’s funny, that like the Cays, a significant expectation was one of impermanency. A different type of vacation. The roads had names like Palau, Okinawa, and Leyte. Names that conveyed a sense of foreignness and distance like the names Port Royale and Trinidad. Although, again, with an entirely different valence...continues

5

Coronado is in actuality a tied island and connected to the mainland by a tombolo called Silver Strand that links Coronado to Imperial Beach.

Judge Advocate General: Officer corp within the military that handles legal issues. My cousin is a JAG officer and confirms that it’s nothing like the TV show.

6

7

White Anglo Saxon Protestant.

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for the remainder of this interview and another conducted by Kevin Lau and to download the full collection of 82 interviews i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


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INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

P REFACE & THAN K YO U

15

We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

er two Bord e v rsa con

WITH residents of Tijuana-San Diego

12

The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

tions

In Close Relationship

C o m ing To

M i chelle J ohnson

Michelle Johnson is a twenty-three year old girl who lives in Vista, California., where her dad is stationed at Camp Pendleton. She is finishing up her last year at UCSD. She is graduating with a degree in Anthropology with a focus in Archeology. She has a personal story with Tijuana as she spent the majority of her former years living in Coronado, a town less than twenty miles from the border. However, the issue of Tijuana was a distant issue for much of her life. Coming into focus slowly over the years.

Borders can be physical and can be seen. However the most powerful borders are immaterial. Differences that are linguistics, cultural, political, economic, or psychological. Understanding these differences is the most effective way to overcome them, but it can be elusive. Keeping us ignorant of the other and our underlying connections and even commonality.

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

N av i g at i n g Di s ta n c e | S e l f -I n t e r v i e w

The drive home is a long one from UC San Diego in La Jolla. On average it’s an hour down the five and more with traffic. On the way are landmarks that delineate the boundaries between various towns. The racetracks at Del Mar, the strawberry fields near Carlsbad, and all the way to inland to the foothills that mark Vista, California. This is where her parents are living while her father is stationed at Camp Pendleton, and where she is staying for the summer as she finishes up college. Vista, like many other towns in Southern California, is a multicultural place. Vista especially has a high population. Driving down main street, many stores can be seen to have signs and names in Spanish. Offices for immigration affairs are also dotted through the town. It’s a town where the issues of border are made more overt than most. At least more than down in Coronado, a upper class tourist town where she grew up. This matches the further consciousness and awareness of borders and boundaries that she has become aware of moving through life. Something that was furthered by her major in anthropology in college even if it was concentrated in archaeology. All this she keeps in mind as she finally gets up through the winding roads to home and sits down at her computer to start the interview.

Q: Tell me what it was like growing up near the border. What was that like in Coronado, which is so close to Tijuana?

A: We moved to Coronado, California from Baltimore, Maryland as the result of a military transfer. Coronado has a reputation in the area as a town full of rich and exclusive WASPs. A number of those people do live there, but the situation is more complicated than that. There is also a strong presence of military on the island. The three naval bases take up more than half the island. A Latino presence also overlaps from Imperial Beach and workers from over the border. There was an existing tension between the local residents of Coronado and those that came from over the border who worked in their homes and their gardens. The military, full of republicans, agreed with the locals on principle. However, as many were only temporary to the area there was a level of personal detachment from the issue. It was a more distant issue. Personally, I never saw the border growing up. I can remember my father pointing it out to me through my bedroom window in Coronado. From the window, it was just the city on the next hill. Geographically speaking, it was closer than Los Angeles or San Francisco. However, it felt as distant as if it were on the other side of the world and much harder to find.

parents were frequently deployed. Military kids even had a therapy group club at school where they could talk about these issues. Another thing about being in the military was that their was a high transfer rate. It was not unusual at all to have kids in class move away or have new kids join the class. My sister once lost an entire group of friends to transfers. I think this somewhat loosened borders between kids because, despite the fact that there could be economic and cultural differences, kids of all backgrounds would hang out together and it was never something of a big deal. Although civilian kids formed more tight-knit groups as they could count on not having to be split apart. Q: What was your personal experience with this divide?

A: What I remember most were the classes on Spanish. They went all the way from kindergarten up until fifth grade. Generally about once a month, although that was inconsistent over the years, we went off to a separate classroom to practice Spanish. There we were school in the very basics. This included colors, numbers, and expressions such as “How are you?” or “What’s your name.” We never really went beyond the basics. To reinforce our education we would play games and sing songs. We colored things and drew. For quite some time I remembered how to count all the way to a hundred. I mostly remember the classes as being a fun break from normal school.

A: I used to enjoy introducing my dad as Captain Doctor Johnson. I enjoyed the fact that the title was unique to him. I think however, it stood for my own uniqueness as well. It was something that created something of a distance between my sister and I and the other kids. My Dad wasn’t frequently deployed nor was he a soldier. He did participate in biannual fitness test that he had to pass in order to remain in the military. As part of his training as a flight surgeon he also would participate in emergency crash drills. However, at one point I was told by another kid that my Dad wasn’t military enough. We also didn’t live in housing like most of the military kids, but rather in the Coronado Cays. The Coronado Cays was full of civilians and admittedly more of an affluent area. Still my dad got up at 5 am every morning and went off to work in the same polyester brown uniform. We didn’t transfer as often as other people would. In fact, we stayed in Coronado for quite some time. However, there was always the expectation that we might move. Dad having growing up in a military family that moved around often had a natural sense of restlessness. A constant expectation of having to be somewhere else. He talked about moving states or moving to a different country. We never really had the expectation of settling down. Perhaps this is what made me so interested and open to experiences other cultures and other differences. In addition to the feeling of never belonging to one group or another. It’s possibly why my sister, when her best friend from elementary school moved away, was open to switching schools and how she met Glados.

Q: What was your experience as a military person in Coronado?

Q: Who is Glados ?

A: My experience with the world of the military was mainly through my experience with Silver Strand Elementary. Silver Strand was not a military school per se, but it was in the middle of a large neighborhood of military housing and that had a good deal of influence. There was an emphasis on physical fitness, on patriotism, and order. I can remember having to organize in neat single file lines to march (and there’s no more appropriate phrase for it) from the lunch room across the school to the playground. The burn in my throat whenever we had to run the mile. Standing around the flagpole and singing “God Bless America.” There was something of a divide between the civilians and those with parents in the military. Within the military kids it was those who lived in military housing and those who did not. These were largely economic barriers. Many of the enlisted dependent kids would be considered at lower or lower middle class. A few were on food stamps at home and worked in the Cafeteria to pay for their lunch. Although, to a degree it could also be a cultural distance. Military kids had a different perspective on life. They lived under family tension as their

A: Glados was someone my sister Elyse met when she went to a private Catholic school, Sacred Heart in Coronado. The school had a large Latino population, especially those who came from over the border every morning. However, Glados’s grandparents had migrated legally in their early twenties. Glados, like many third generation kids was not fluent in Spanish. It’s something possibly that brought my sister, Elyse and Glados together while they were at Sacred Heart. Glados was left out for not speaking being able to speak Spanish and Elyse was also left outside the group for being the only blonde. This sense of otherness was something the three of us had in common. Glados and her family had an unexpected (for me) perspective on the issue of the border. Glados’s family, having immigrated legally, had a certain amount of tension or hostility towards those who immigrated illegally. Glados herself preferred to identify with her French heritage in middle school and even learned to speak it. She affirmed our previous perceptions that Tijuana was dangerous. She recommended that you always carry two differently hidden bribes in your car in case you get stopped a second time. Glados’s

Q: You also mentioned being exposed to aspects of Mexican culture in elementary school. So what level of exposure did you get?


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family didn’t really ever go to Tijuana in spite of its proximity. That’s why being friends with Glados didn’t truly alter my perspective on the situation at the time. Q: Regardless, were there any aspects of Latino culture that you got a more personal perspective on? A: Glados, as I said, made an attempt to distance herself from her heritage, but she was still very much involved with it through her family. All of them, including her family, lived in Imperial Beach. A town that was very close to the border. I’ve recently looked up that it is in fact about five miles Northwest of downtown Tijuana. My experience with it being close was only my mother freaking out whenever accidently got on the exit to go over the border. Also, it was in the cultural makeup of the area. It had a predominantly Latino population. It wasn’t unusual to hear accented English or Spanish. Their would also be signs in stores with Spanish translations that I used to practice what I picked up in class. It was also at a studio in Imperial Beach where we took dance lessons when Glados invited us to be in her Quinceañera court. I got the impression that it was something between a Bat Mitzvah and a sweet sixteen. A large celebration of getting older and marking the entrance as an adult in the catholic church. It was something Glados’s parents had been saving up for since she was born. Glados also had, as I discovered, a large population of extended family in the area who all came together to throw the party. Someone paid for dresses from David’s Bridal for all of us in the court, Glados’s grandparents rented out a space at the Hyatt, and one of her uncle’s hired a mariachi band for good measure. For me it was another positive experience of getting to know and be apart of a different way of life. However later I would learn that difference wasn’t always horizontal. Q: What do you mean by horizontal difference and what other kinds of difference are there? A: Horizontal differences are simply differences that result from mere isolation and divergence of circumstances. It’s how different languages and different perspectives on being human are made. These are different from each other but equal in value. The other kind of difference is what I call vertical difference or inequality. This is unequal access to resources. It can often be the case here where one has because another does not. Overall however it is an enforced limitation on someone’s ability to express their way of life or their desires. Glados is incredibly smart and talented and always has been. All the way back to when Elyse met her in middle school, Glados was the top writer in the grade and was a straight A student. She continued that at trend at her high school in San Diego. When it came time for college she had the grades even if her family didn’t have the money. She couldn’t go to UCSD as she’d always wanted. However, a college in New York called Hamilton had a program to help out Latino students and so Glados went to New York. Unfortunately, Glados’s Dad worked in housing construction and the 2008 housing crisis had a devastating effect on his business. I’m not aware of the specifics of what happened, but the result was that Glados had to leave school. It struck me that someone so capable had to miss out on what they’d spent all those years working towards. Something else was the way she seemed to blame her ethnicity for her circumstances. It was something I never could never quite understand. I didn’t want to ask because there was that gulf of things I didn’t understand that I didn’t want to intrude upon. I really didn’t gain an accurate perspective on the situation until I took anthropology in college. Q: How did being an anthropology major color your perspective?

Beach, was not affluent. It was a community that was lower to lower middle class. It was also predominantly Latino in population as previously mentioned. This I simply took as a given fact of life as a kid. It was simply the way things were. I didn’t know or see all the broader national and international patterns of race, politics, and economics. Glados’s grandparents didn’t have the opportunity to go to college or likely the same job opportunities. This transferred onto her parents, neither of whom had the opportunity to attend college. One reason why they still lived in Imperial Beach and why Glados’s father worked a blue collar job in construction. I can see where Glados looked around and saw a set way of life. A cultural based around race and socioeconomic class. She maybe too saw it as a fact of life, but worked hard and thought she could do better. That she could reach the American Dream if she worked hard enough. She does well all through to high school. Then she gets all the way to New York and Hamilton and does well. Then it all falls through and she goes back home and doesn’t know when she can leave or if she can. Then she looks at herself and the people around her and sees it as a fact of life. Q: Do you believe if people were aware of these perspective’s that the issue of the border and immigration would not be met with such hostility? A: Yes, because understanding someone who you viewed as other than yourself is basically an act in and of itself of removing borders. That’s why personal narratives such as Glados’s and those that I read in anthropology were the most impactful on my convictions. It can be hard, however, to reach these personal narratives when they lay behind barriers of geography, language, and socioeconomic cultures. However, fortunately I believe that the opportunity for personal narratives to cross these boundaries is increasing. Already technology easily can link people to others across almost other borders and boundaries. We are becoming an increasingly global and connected culture. In many cultures this has created a backlash. Walls and borders are being reinforced and are an increasing place of tension worldwide. However, none of them could be considered impermeable, physically or otherwise. I think it is more possible now than ever before to establish a global empathy and understanding. In this world nothing is truly other as we learn to see our shared humanity. Laughing at grumpy cat is a universal experience. However, kids being those the most well versed in technology are going to be the most exposed to this effect. They have had much less time to build up and insulate themselves from the perceived other. However, it is not only a passive experience. It is perfectly possible to lock yourself in an even larger echo chamber than would have existed before. Modern technology merely gives one the immense potential to become a globally aware citizen. Q: You mentioned that the view you had when you were little was more negative and that was derived from you parents. Do you still have differing views? If so how do you navigate the situation? A: My parents views have remained little changed from my early years. They are still more in favor of a strong border. Actually, the recent political climate has polarized them more in that direction. They are, as many military people are, republicans. The current presidential nominee’s point of view is something that as republicans they are trying to reconcile with the rest off the party platform. I think they are wary to question this one part of the platform because it could cast doubt on the rest of it. It is easier, especially, at their age to stay and have faith with the world that they know. This is one reason why mom and dad are not entirely receptive to the perspective I’ve picked up in anthropology. It seems like they either don’t believe the extent and impact of the border issue or they don’t want to acknowledge it. It’s something you can get used to looking past. Every once in awhile we talk about it, but can’t come to an agreement. My viewpoints and attitudes have drawn me closer towards Tijuana and the issues at the border. In some sense however, I’ve left my parents back on the other hill behind me. ●

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A: I began to understand the situation on a broader perspective. The thought I had first it was just that it was residual hostility from being excluded as a non-Spanish speaker. Or maybe a personal grief with her father that also extended outward. However, what I took from anthropology made me look at the situation in a broader sense. Where she lived, Imperial

Conscious Awareness | Participant/Author to Participant/Author

Two chairs scrape the ground as they’re drawn back from the table. It’s a bright Sunday morning in mid-August outside at a plaza in the center of the UCSD campus. I sit down across from my classmate Kevin Lau. Kevin Lau is, like me, a long time resident of Southern California and finishing up his Philosophy degree at UCSD. However, Kevin Lau’s story diverges from that of the typical college student. Four years ago Kevin Lau was twenty-four and was working towards the American Dream. He had a steady job in finance, and was working towards the white picket fence and 2.5 kids. This ended when he became suddenly and violently ill. He became unable to think coherently, process time, and who he had been was lost. After being picked up naked from his bathroom floor by paramedics, he arrived at the hospital to be told he’d had two strokes at twenty-four, in one day. Following a crisis of mind and body, Kevin abruptly left his job and his old life behind. He’d resolved to be more open and to cross boundaries he’d erected in his own life. He traveled, visited family in Taiwan, and applied for college, all for the first time. His quest for self-exploration and redefinition has finally led to him sitting down across from me ready to talk.

Michelle Johnson: So starting the interview, Michelle Johnson is interviewing Kevin Lau. All right so how often before the stroke that you had did you think or worry about your body before that? Was there much of a distance between the body and mind?

Kevin Lau: Yeah, I mean there’s the innate sensation of, well you know my brain and my body are separate right. Like you perceive the world through the brain and but you interact with it through your body. I don’t know how much thought other people give it but you just assume yeah they’re two different things. You know that might have something to do with a religious background as well. I went to church a lot as a kid. And that kind of, whether you realize it or not, the whole separation is there and you’re just the soul in this human shell. Yeah, I’m mean you could say I was a dualist prior. I was firmly with the dualist camp. M: Did you have that realization during the stroke that you are limited through your body? Did it ever occur to you that you were sort of, you could die in your body and that could be it? K: Yeah, but that’s something you always. I mean once I stopped going to church and at some point I realized like hey man there is no God or you know I’m not religious or this is all we have and the moment I die that’s it. Who knows what happens. Maybe my consciousness disappears in the middle of the stroke. I didn’t think I was going to die, but man I was like this is. I couldn’t really form really complicated thoughts. M: I imagine epiphanies would be hard in that moment.

K: Whenever I think to myself, I do it in a way that’s like having a conversation with yourself. Say you’re shopping at the local market and as you get in you think, “I need to get a whole chicken, potatoes, brussels sprouts, and some basic herbs and seasoning, let’s head right because that’s where the brussels sprouts and potatoes are then cut to the meat section for a whole chicken.” Maybe you didn’t think those exact words but you thought in words and sentences. Well I wasn’t really able to do that. Instead what went through my mind was fragmented sentences, at best just a word or two with an accompanying image. It’s as if you were seeing everything with a strobe light flicking on and off only giving you a snapshot of a thought. So the same situation above would have seemed like, “Chicken...potatoes...sprouts...” but instead I'm flopping around like a fish in a bathtub thinking “good...worse...better.” I would have an image of what I was seeing to go with the thought but it never seemed continuous. M: So, did you ever think that after that, that everything was sort of biologically determined? Like there was no spirit? K: Yes, yes uh. If, if there was a mind separate from the body. If there was a border between the two. Not you know the whole Descartes thing, pineal gland lubrication, bullshit. But uh, I almost feel you would retain some of that, that even with physical damages you would have uh the essence of it would be you would be there somehow or whatever. However, the faculties of mind are clearly gone. At best I have inklings of what they used to be like, and I’m not even sure you can trust those.

K: (laughs) Yeah, it was more a matter of...Yeah, like I said it was really more like fragmented thinking. I almost thought in images. If that makes any sense. Cause you know when you think you, when you talk to yourself it’s encoded language. It definitely wouldn’t have been sentences. It definitely would just be words and pictures. At the most the matter of just what feels the most painful to me than others.

M: Did you feel helpless? Cause I can imagine that’s really frustrating to sort of feel trapped.

M: Explain what you mean by encoded language and what it means to think in images?

K: Well, let’s go a step further and say not only do I not know what I don’t know. I don’t know if what I do know is reliable and I can’t really explore what I don’t know. Like I don’t know how to even explore the unknown. Right so it’s just this opaqueness...continues

K: You know the saying you don’t know what you don’t know? M: Yeah.

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for the remainder of this interview and to download the full collection of 82 interviews i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


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INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

Border Two

P REFACE & THAN K YO U We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

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The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

Conversations with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

In Clos e R el a t io ns h ip

Expectations and Globalization

Shawn (Yuxuan) Zhang

Shawn (Yuxuan) Zhang is 24 years old, and he is graduating from UCSD this summer. As a Management Science major and Accounting minor, Shawn hopes to contribute to financing and accounting careers.

Border is where the known meets the unknown. But also a place where learning and misunderstanding can take place for the unknown to become known.

Looking Back | Self-Interview

Q: Do you think borders are always going to exist?

A: In my understanding, borders will always exists. Human society is made up by people, and it is necessary for people to interact with each other. These interactions create borders between people. Also, people are sensitive and emotional creatures that can have very different living experience. It is these personal emotions, sensitivities, and experiences that shape personal borders into different directions and forms. For example, policeman may have a more sensitive borders that is filled with sense of justice than other people. Their border is easily crossed by any suspicious activities. As a result, different people have different personal borders, and these borders will exist as long as human and human society exist. Q: Is there a limit to how much we can expand our expectations?

A: I think personal boundaries are very narrowed and specific, so I don’t believe that they can be expand much. As I mentioned above, interactions between people create borders, then personal emotions, preference, and experiences shape their borders. These borders are created to measure people’s limitations and tolerances. Because people’s experiences are limited, their borders are limited as well. Q: What expectations did you have about horror movie before you watched it? A: Even though I had never watched a horror movie before, I always felt uncomfortable when watching gross images. For instance, when I saw an image with a bloody body, corpses with missing parts, or sick zombies, these images would get stuck in my head for days. Then I would feel awful, and my personal border had been crossed because these images were beyond my limitations of tolerance. With this as my experience of sick picture, I definitely hated horror movies because I expected the horror movies were consisted by millions of these gross pictures that made me sick. Also, I didn’t believe in ghost and god.; I believed that everything in this world could be explained by science, and I had a border based on my belief. Then I heard horror movies had many ghost and supernatural contents, and these are completely fake and unexplainable. As a result, my expectation about horror movies are negative. Q: If you dislike horror movie that much based on your expectations above, why did you still choose to watch it? Did you have any reactions when watching the horror movie-”The Forest”? A: If I was alone in a theater, I would never choose a horror movie; however, I was with my best friends, and I didn’t want to let my friends down, or made them to look down on me, so I agreed to watch “The Forest.” It was my first time watching a scary movie in my life, and I had to say that the experience was not joyful at all—as I mentioned above, I did have some expectations about horror movie before I watched The Forest, and all of my expectations came true. The mixture of screaming, the blood, the sick scene of a separated human body, and scary elements fiercely shocked my sense of sound, vision, and more importantly, my emotions. During the movie, I closed my eyes several times when the scene got nasty because I strongly felt that my border was violated. Also, the plot and the ending was totally confusing, so after the movie, I told myself, “It’s my first horror movie, and it would be my last.” Q: Why did you want to study in U.S. A: When I was still in high school back in China, I heard an American-Chinese high school exchange program by chance. This exchange program allowed students in Chinese to study in an American high school for one year. I didn’t know why I decided to attend the exchange program without hesitate at that moment. After the experience of horror film, I realized that instead of those creepy expectations, I had many exciting expectations about America based on what I saw in TV and book. These thrilling expectations motivated me to explore what the

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Shawn, born in Zhengzhou, China and raised in there. He came to U.S. since he was sixteen. After graduating from high school, he went to UCSD for undergraduate studies. He major in Management Science and minor in Accounting. Currently, he is graduating from UCSD and looking for a career in business.

truth was about America. Then I was exchanged to a high school in Florida. The life there was totally new and totally different with my life back in China, and I had to admit that I enjoyed my new life in America. After my exchange program, I begun to think about my life, which environment fitted me the best. Through carefully consideration, I decided to attend an American university to continue my study in the U.S. because I felt that I could learn more here that would benefit my future career. Q: What immediate changes do you believe you have made to adjust to live in another country? Do you feel as if you’re growing apart from your Chinese heritage or it’s still a center of your character? A: The experience of living in the U.S. was very similar to the experience of watching a horror film. To begin with, I had to speak English all the time. English was my second language, and I had only learned English for 3 years back in China. I was afraid of encountering people because I knew my spoken English was bad. It took me several month to get used to the English speaking environment. After that period, I got a chance to embrace the new culture here. I had to say that there are tremendous differences between Chinese and American culture. Also, the lifestyle was much different. Americans enjoyed a slower and more relaxed lifestyle while Chinese lifestyle was more tense and fast. I knew I’m in America, not China, so I made myself to adjust the life here. For example, I started to greet people I encounter in daily life; I begun to speak out my thoughts more directly. (In China, even if I wanted something, I usually said “No, I didn’t want it.” first to show respect). Generally, I do think I’m growing apart from my Chinese heritage a little bit. More precisely, I feel I’m in the middle of my Chinese heritage and an American one. I have adopted many American cultures in my life that changed my thoughts and behaviors, but I still have some Chinese traditions remaining. For instance, I live in America, and act as people here; however, I still celebrate tradition Chinese festivals with my Chinese friends here, like Spring Festival, Mid-Moon Festival, etc. Q: What about the difference in lifestyles has made the communication between you and your friends from China difficult? Obviously of the day to day, you all have different lives, but is there anything (e.g. world news, pop culture) that still connects you to your friends in China? A: Time difference is a big problem. There are 15 hours difference between China and California—When I woke up, it was already midnight in China, and when I was about to go to bed, my friends usually just woke up. So it was hard to find a proper time to actually talk to my friends back in China. New relationships was another factor. Both I and my friends had made new friends and started new social groups, so we would interact more with our new friends that we could easily see in our daily life. This made me connect with my old friends less because I couldn’t see them in my new life, and my new life was totally different with the life I had with them back in China. What’s more, the information we absorbed varied largely. Even though globalization had come closer than ever, and the internet was so convenient that we could share information from all around the world, the world news we accessed were still different. Social media always serve for political favors, and we were in different countries, so the same event, I might get news that were in favor of American government; while my friends would see it in a different version. As a result, there would be some divergence when I talked with my friends because the information we had was inequivalent. The only thing that kept me to connect with my old friends was our friendship I guess. The fear of losing good friends encouraged me to keep connect with them. We had been so good, so I didn’t want to lose my friends even though my daily life had been far apart from theirs. I still believed that one day when I go back to China, we could be good friends again. Q: Do you think personal borders are easier crossed by people who are close to you? A: In my opinion, people usually have high expectations of their closed ones. People expect their best friends, parents, and lovers to know them well enough. They expect their relatives to


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understand their habits, hobbies, preferences, etc. Also, they build their boundaries based on their expectations. As a result, whenever people have a fight or argument with someone they really care, they may feel angry, sad, and anxious because people usually don’t expect the fight will happen. They have trust in the people they care, and they are close to the people they care; thus once there is a fight, people always feel their line is broke. Personally speaking, breaking boundary makes me feel that I’m betrayed. To take my first horror movie experience as an example, I hated horror movie, but my friends still insisted to watch one. I felt super anxious and angry because I think they should have known my lines and respect it. Thus, I do think that people feel more sensitive about their personal border with closed ones, and this border’s depth is depended on the understanding from our closed ones.

English. Poor English skill lowered my self-confidence. As a result, just like I didn’t want to watch horror film, I refused to seek for help when I needed. However, my parents just didn’t understand. Then I kept a very tense relationship with them for several month until my summer vacation—I could go back to China and talk to them face in face. After I went back home, at first I still didn’t want to talk with them because I felt my boundary was heavily crossed due to their distrust. Then there was one night, I was very stressed, and I wanted to talk with my parents about my study problems. So I asked my father to drunk a little with me, and I started to talk about the problem. I told them my difficulties in studies thoroughly and respectfully, and they eventually understood. I rebuilt my trust after this, and I did feel closer with my parents after the conflict.

Q: By crossing the border of different experiences, did this help bring you and your parents closer? Did you and your parents tear down this border through communication? You said you diffused the situation through communication. I’m curious as to the details of that conversation mostly because it sounds like the ideal situation happened.

Q: In general, how do you value borders between people? Do you think they are good or bad?

A: As I mentioned before, I had been to America for one year before my undergraduate study. Then my parents believe that I should have been good with my English, and there shouldn’t be any language problems during my study. While the truth was, my English skill was good for daily communications, but when it came to professional studies, there were many professional terms that were hard to understand. My English wasn’t good enough to support my college studies. Also, I was afraid of going to office hours or seeking for TA’s help because of my bad

A: The experience of horror movie has given me many inspirations about relationships between people. I believe people always have certain expectations about different people and things. These expectations exists because people think it is meaningful. If the expectation is negative, people refuse to go through with it, and thus they build their fence against it. Also, people can show their respect to others by respecting boundaries, and they can know better about others through their distinguished borders as well. Eventually, I think it’s very hard to determine whether personal borders are good or bad. It may vary from people to people, and how people think and value about their borders. ●

Inspiration | Participant/Author to Participant/Author My name is Shawn. I meet Dan in front of Geisel library Sunday afternoon. Then we walk into the library together and find a study room. Both I and Dan are seniors studying Economics, and we talk a little bit about school work before I start my interview. Dan came from a Northwestern China town, while I came from a Southern Chinese city. Even though we are both from China, our thoughts and expectations are quite different. I’m curious how Dan consider border issues. It’s very interesting that we share different opinions in many aspects.

Shawn Zhang: Hi, Dan. So after spending time with you, I get the impression that borders are influenced by people’s experience and their decisions, which is similar with my understanding of border. Could you talk a little more about the decision-making that influences people’s boundaries?

more story we read, the more argument we have. Fortunately, because we communicate with each other every day, these argument about the Whodunnit didn’t hurt our relationship. So if you want to cross this border, you need to take action every day because there are always biased experience and decisions added new every day.

Dan Qiao: People not only experience life differently, they also make different decisions. I mean even the same person may have different decisions towards one thing. For example, I don’t like share a table with a stranger, so if there is a small table with 2 or 4 seats, I used to have my backpack on one of the seats, and it’s like a sign that tells people the table is not available. However, some times when there is a shortage of tables, people ask me if anyone use the seats. I used to say someone is sitting there. But one time, when I eat in a restaurant, and I said yes to a man who asked me if he can share “my” table. Maybe it’s because the man looked so polite, and I would feel guilty if I lied to him. I felt really regret after I said yes because I really felt the table was “mine”. But due to the guy was really quiet, this feeling of being violated became weaker and weaker as the time went by, and I finally accepted this stranger by starting talking to him because I just felt I needed to do something to break the awkward atmosphere. So, sometimes I think if everything can be started over by a time machine again and again, I could make very different decision in same situation.

S: Based on your answers, I think you mention mostly about borders between your friends and family. How about borders with strangers?

S: So how do you think these decisions influence personal borders?

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D: A decisions may lead you to different situations. There could be a lot of reasons that people might make different decisions than they used to. For example, I don’t like share table with strangers, but I do if a person asks my permission with polite, or I just have a good emotion. Then I would be in a situation that makes me try to accept the stranger because of my decision, and my borders would be completely different than it used to. So sometime when I regret a decision just after speaking it out, I probably just take what will come next. S: Okay, personally speaking, I believe that borders are formed by people’s expectations. Is there a connection you can think that relate expectation and decision together?

D: The relation could be like that people’s expectation can influence their decision making. It’s like a cost and fact relationship. If people have a high expectation towards something, their decisions will follow their expectations. For example, I didn’t want to talk to my parents because I believed they will not understand me anyway, so why should I even start the talk. So with the bad expectation, I refuse to talk to them for a long time, and it make the gap between us larger.

S: Yeah, I agree with you that. I also find many interesting points about your perspective of borders, you mentioned that people’s border can be affected by different biases. Could you explain to me about the bias part? D: In your definition, borders are influenced by expectations. Bias, or subjective experience actually have strong relationship with expectations I believe, and in fact, I believe expectations are included in bias. I mean people’s experiences are always subjective, which mean theses experiences are all biased. Therefore, If you have expectation on something, then you must have some subjective bias on the thing. That bias will have similar effects as expectations that influence people’s experience and decisions. And then as I said in your last question, these decisions will drive people to change their borders. S: Do you think bias is a good thing or bad thing? D: It’s hard to say if it’s completely good or bad. It depends. Bias is an important reason for why people have arguments, fights, or wars. From this view, bias is a bad thing. However, in different view, if there is no bias, then it’s really hard to make difference. If everyone have same expectation and make same decisions towards one thing, they might just lose their personal identities, and I believe they are not truly nature individuals. Also I believe the difference between human and robot is we have bias, and that’s an important reason for why we have ability to create not just imitate. There is no robot can be an artist because they experience the world without bias. S: So you believe that bias plays such an important role in making borders. Also, I notice that in your self-interview, you mention that borders exist forever, and it’s hard to overcome. Is it because of people’s bias? However, in my understanding, borders can change over time. How do you regard this question? D: Talking about difficulty and easy, it’s comparative. Relatively, there is always a border. It’s hard to eliminate borders because as time goes by, when you experience more, you will make more decisions. Thus you will have more biased experience and decisions, which is quite different with other people. This bias is getting more and deeper as time goes by. For example, my friends and I liked to read serial “All Whodunnit” in high school, usually we read same one and discussed together, but we never agreed each other before we saw the ending. In fact, the

D: These borders will be even harder to eliminate because there are more different experience. When you are in a family, you experience similarly with your family and friends. And more importantly, you people have more opportunities to communicate with their friends and families rather than strangers. S: Okay. So you mentioned about visible and invisible borders. Also, you mentioned about the culture mixture between Kazakh and Han. As a Chinese, I don’t know the culture of Kazakh very well, and I actually think there should be a border. Could you explain to me about that? D: There are no visible walls, fences, or laws to differ Hans and Kazakhs in the city, but yes, there are something invisible and unobvious that separate people in some sense. Actually, in the city where I live, the culture is mixed together. Truly there are many differences in cultures, traditions, festivals, but when the two groups of people live together for long enough, they can just get used to each other. Then people just accept the differences, and they respect these uncommon ideas. There are boundaries regarding the cultures, but as I said, the boundaries are invisible. Like holiday, Kazakh may also celebrate Han’s festivals, such as Chinese New Years, but they treat it more like a holiday rather than a day that have cultural meanings, so in Chinese New Year, Han people will have the new year’s eve dinner or visits from family and friends. S: Based on the culture mixture you talked above, how do you think of the Kazakh family’s case? The kids who go to school have a deep line between them and their family, but they are blood bonded. They are family after all. So why do you think relatives could have such a big line? D: As I said, they don’t have same experience. These differences cause big bias that stack day by day. The mind of kids who went to school could be different with other kids and their parents. They consider more about their school work and friends they made in school; while other kids just deal with sheep and farm work. Then the kids who have more education might start to believe their brother who had been dropped off from school are ignorant because they have the same opinion with their parents: education is important. However, in the two brothers view (who deal with sheep and farm work), they might just believe deeply that no one could understand them, and they feel more isolated in the family. So even though they are bonded by blood, this relationship can’t eliminate boundaries that created by difference experience. S: You also mentioned your own experience. You said you didn’t talk to your parents for one year. I couldn’t get that because I think parents are the one who care us the most, so I believe that when we face any difficulties, the first ones we should talk to are our parents. Then why did you fail to communicate with your parents? D: I think it’s a universal problem that many people have been studying on. People just realize that they are hard to communicate with their parents. For me, I guess the failure is due to my thinking. When I was young, I only listen to what my parents said, and I didn’t really have my own thoughts. After I went to school, I experienced many things, and I thought more about myself. I realized that my thoughts vary largely with my parents’, this different made me to separate from them and not listen to them anymore. I started to make my own decisions instead of just follow my parents. S: Overall, I think how you regard border as gaps between people which seems to have negative effects. So you have any suggestions to eliminate these kind of gaps? D: I think the best way to bridge barriers is to set up a understanding by communications. I know it could be hard to find a mid point or compromise by just few talking, but as long as both side of a border have willing to talk, and they still continually trying to listen others’ idea, then the gap between them will be smaller as the time goes by. For my own experience, I took about two years to completely recover my relationship with my parents. It’s hard to start the progress, but the more we talk, the more we know each other what we want, and the easier to come over the barriers. I mean before we have such progress to setting up understanding and trust, if there are something I disagree with my parents, the only thing in my mind is angry. To take the Kazakh and Han’s example, these two group of people have been living in the city, Khorgos, for long time. The exchanges between two ethnic helped them understand and accept the difference between these two group of people, and in some sense, the distance between them are actually eliminated. S: Alright, thank you very much! ●

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for another interview conducted by Shawn Zhang and to download the full collection of 82 interviews i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


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INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

P R EFACE & THAN K YO U We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

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Border two

* Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

In Clos e R el a t io ns h ip

The Extension of Differences

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The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us.

conversations

D a n Q iao

Dan Qiao, born and raised in China, and came to America for education 5 years ago. Now studying in UCSD major in Economics. He is interested in traveling to have new experiences. He also like experiencing other’s story from movies or books.

Border is devices of control and stability that are constructed through social, economic, and political institutions to divide one group(s) from others. Whether they be abstract or physical, borders serve to separate ideas and people, but at times allow a bridging together of people, culture, goods, etc.

E x p e r i e n c e & D e c i s i o n | S e l f -I n t e r v i e w

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Dan Qiao, born and raised in China, ZhengZhou, and came to America 5 years ago. Now study in UCSD majored in Economics.

Q: Do you think it is easier to bridge the gap borders create when the differences are informed on a personal micro level rather than macro level such as between countries and countries?

parents could be resolved with if one side merely wanted to be closer to the other? Or do you think that this border erected by the family members is permanent?

A: Yes, I believe it is easier to bridge the gap when the differences are from personal environment, at least easier than bridging the border between two countries or culture. A border is an extension of differences. The gap between countries, cultures, or languages are larger than personal gap that created by different personal experience. Usually, a gap between my friends and I could just solved during a dinner. However, countries, cultures, languages, and religions which involves a group of people, usually a huge group of people. It means that there are much more differences and biases between the national, cultural, or linguistic border. For example, people can’t find a way to bridge Arabian and Jew in centuries, and even today Israel still have tense relationships with its neighbors due to they have different religions. In other words, it is easier to have a frank and sincere communication between two people rather than two groups of people.

A: It is not ongoing because I reconciled with my parents after the long travel. As I said, I traveled to Xinjiang after I had a big fight with my parents. I lived with a local family who is my parents’ childhood friends and planned to go to a snow mountain. I was so angry and sad, and believed I was the most helpless boy, until I witnessed a division between brothers and sisters within the family whom I was staying with. There was 5 children in this Kazakhs family. And because they were considered minorities in China, there is no limitation of births. After few days of living with them, I noticed that these 5 children were separated into two groups. One was with two brothers who dropped out of school and took care sheep with their grandfather, and the other was with a brother and two sisters who went to schools or had jobs. The two brothers who dropped out of school usually spent their time with sheep and nature, and there was an invisible barrier wrapped them, like a bubble. They lived in a their own bubbles, and they seemed more relaxed and comfortable when left alone then when they were with the rest of the family. The conversations between the two brothers and their parents were just like the conversations I had with my parents. It was cold, if there is a words could explain, I think that’s the Answer. One night, the their father helped me to explore the most of the story of the two brothers who lived in bubble when he got little drunk. He was talking about his feeling and painless to me, and I was shocked, not for how sad he was, but for how my story was similar to theirs.

Q: With all the similarities, what other barriers and differences do you believe build this border from you having a closer relationship to this family and people like them? A: There are so many barriers and differences, such as different understanding on life experience, that could create an invisible wall between people, no matter how close they are, and how much similarities they have. I believe the very first barriers or differences that create a wall between people, whether how close they are, is they experience life differently. The most universal example is the invisible wall between family members. I believe most of young people have such kind of memories: they got into difficulties with their parents, brothers, or sisters, and I think it is not anyone’s fault because young people start to experience and think their life as an individual. They either experience or respond differently. I have lived with another family for about a week when I had a big fight with my parents and decided to travel to a place that far away from them. My parents agreed to my decision and they sent me to one of their friends who lived in Xinjiang about thousands miles from my home. There were many reasons for the fight, but the hardest part was that they were unable to understand me. That’s it. It is really funny when I look back at this memory. I had built an invisible wall between my parents and I who were closer to me. Why? Because I grew up and think differently than my parents, and I didn’t find a way to bridge the difference. People are diverse when they are born, and people are more diverse everyday People are differed by experience and decision every day, and these differences will “stack” every day. I don’t know how these difference stack together, could be addition or multiplication, but I believe they usually stack much faster than similarities due to they experience life unlikely. As the result, children one day finally find out that their parents can’t 100% understand them. Therefore, many differences and barriers could be the reason for people to separate from other family members or best friends, but they all come from the same place. Q: It appears that this is a border born from the decisions we make but would you say that this decision is ongoing? What I mean to ask is that while there are clear some divide between the children and parents, couldn’t this border or difference be easily overcome without much alteration to choices one make in life? Do you think this separation between the children and

I hated school and wanted to leave, and I did. I left school for one year and during that time, a huge wall was built between my parents and I. We stop talking to each other, and this silence became the wall. At first, my parents tried to talk to me, as the Kazakh father did with his sons. However, the more my parents tried to talk to me, the more I resisted talking to them because I believe at the time that they could not understand my feelings. The silence stayed in my family for 1 year, and it stayed in the Kazakh family for 5 years. I can’t imagine how high the wall had been built even now. So, I realized that if people from one side don’t want to talk, the problem can not be resolved. I reconciled with my parents because I did want to talk to them after I saw what I did to my parents from after living with the Kazakh family. It’s easier to bridge the gap between people who are close to each other, such as family members, due to the opportunities to have communications in a family or any close relationship are much more than in other situations. Q: Did witnessing Kazakh family the main reason why you decided to your parents again? A: Yes, I saw many things as an outsider, and I thought more about how to solve the issue between my parents and I during this time than ever before because I realized that what happened on them would happened on my family, and the barrier will not be solved by itself. More importantly, I realized that the more time I wait, it was harder for my family to solve it. The Kazakh family suffered the silence for 5 years, and the conversation between them was really frozen. I felt so sad for them, and I can’t help them, but I knew I can help my parents and myself. ●


17 Bridge & Communication | Participant/Author to Participant/Author My name is Dan Qiao, a UCSD senior student who is working on a study project about borders. Now I’m meeting my project partner, Shawn, in UCSD library study room. Shawn and me are both from China, we were both raised in our home country until we came to America for university education several years ago. We are both interested in borders between people who are very closed to each other, such as the relationship barrier in a family or a group of close friends.

Dan Qiao: Ok, Shawn, in your definition about borders, you define the boundaries between people are created by different experience and expectation, and in my own definition, I think these boundaries are created by different experience and decision, so what is the difference between the two explanations in your opinion? What is the difference between decision and expectation? Shawn Zhang: What is the different? Um…I think the similar part we have is about experience, so both talked about the gaps between people and we both think they are influenced by their own experience, but in my understanding, personal boundaries are focus more on the expectation part because I believe that all people have different expectation towards current people and things that happened around them. Therefore, when people’s expectations are broken, they will feel like they have been offended, and their boundaries will be crossed. As such, expectations can actually influence people’s mind and even their decisions. D: So what is the similarity between decisions and expectations? S: You mentioned that gaps between people are influenced by people’s decisions, and you also mentioned that different people may have different decisions. I totally agreed with you about that because I think expectations and decisions are pretty similar because people have expectation towards current things, and they take actions. They may consider these expectations when they make decisions. For example, to take myself as my own experience, I had really bad expectation about watching horror movies, so this kind of bad expectations makes me choose not to watch horror movies, so I think expectations and decisions can be connected together. D: You mentioned that you don’t like horror movies, but you have to watch it, I mean you did watch a horror movie with your friends. Did you told your friends about your feeling after you watched the horror movie? What is their response?

S: Yes, because I don’t want to let my friends down.

D: When your friends crossed your line, do you believe the “wall” between people is necessary? And what does it brings people? S: Actually, I think these invisible walls between people are always exists, and as you mentioned me in your previous statement that these obstacles cannot be eliminated because different people have different experience and expectation towards current things. I think so, barriers will exist forever. However, what I think differently than you is borders can be changed because your experience and your expectations can be changed. For example, I changed my behavior after I came to the U.S. because I was influenced by the American culture and traditions. So I think my expectations of people was actually changed after I came to U.S. For example, In China When people ask me if I want something, I usually say no, even I want that thing. In my culture, saying no is a kind of respect because I can show that I don’t want to bother them. After I came here, I realized that if I want something I should just say “yes”. It just like a change of my expectations, and it also influenced my boundaries. D: Do you believe the distance between people sometime could be a relief or protection between people? S: I think so, and it is varied from how people deal with it. For example, from my own experience, when I came to the U.S., I really had a hard time of studying because my English was not so good, so I was kind of fear to talk to people or seek help from my professors and TAs. I knew that I need to talk to them, but I was just afraid. So when I talked to my parents, my parents didn’t understand, and they thought I didn’t study hard, and I was just wasting time with playing. At that time, I felt my border was crossed, and I expected them to understand me, I was kind of mad. I disconnected with my parents, and had a bad relationship with them for a long time, but when I actually went back to home in China in the summer. I talked about it with them. Such as what difficulty I have. Then they eventually understand my problem, and changed their minds. And after that my relationship with my parents became even better.

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S: That is a very interesting question. Actually, I didn’t talk much with my friends about my feelings after I watched the horror movie because even after the horror movie ended, I still felt very sick about when I thought about the bloody things and strange sounds in the movies. I really didn’t felt very good. But after the movie, my friends were actually excited, and they talked about the bloody things and strange sounds a lot and I didn’t really joined the conversation. I was just thinking that my boundary was broken because I didn’t want to watch the horror movies, but I had to because I didn’t want to let my friends down, even if I didn’t talked about the movie. D: so you choose to be silent about it?

them because I really don’t want to lose them, I felt like even the distance between our body and mind caused many problem due to the different experience. It’s like the horror movie. I don’t like the movie, but I still tried it because I don’t let my friends disappointed.

D: Did that hurt you? I mean you took their decision over yours, and did something you actually didn’t want to.

S: It kind of did.. It kind of disappointed me, but we all have different experiences. Even if I don’t like this particular kind of experience, I have to say that experience about horror movie introduced me to a new world, but I can’t say the experience was good. It inspired me and made me think about more things that related to horror movies. For example, I didn’t think about things I don’t like, but after watching the horror movie, I felt that might because I felt my line was crossed. D: you mentioned that you have a strong willingness to keep the relationship between you and your friends in China after you came to the U.S. Is there any moment that you felt what you’re trying is useless?

S: There were definitely some moment I felt my trying was very useless. As I mentioned in my self-interview, there are many problems, like the time differences, and also the different information and experience we observed in daily life. For example, there was an argument about a actual geographic borderline between countries because we observed different information. The information is inequivalent, so we argued about many that geographic borders, and we didn’t have a happy ending of the argument. So sometimes, I felt very upset because of that, but we used to be good friends, and eventually I want to be still connected with

D: So, do you think that these gaps sometime is good things, and easily overcome? S: Even though the gaps can separate people, it still can be a good things. Especially after you bridged them, such as the gap between me and my parents. I mean our relationship became even better after I overcame and crossed the barrier. D: What is the difficulty for you to cross the barrier between you and your parents after the fight? S: I didn’t want to talk to my parents for a long time, and due to the actual geographic distances. They are in China, and I’m in America. And that made our relationship very tense. Also I think eventually we both just want to deal with that problem, so I think we just have a face to face communication in the summer. D: So, do you believe that the willing of communication from two side is important if you want to close the gap? I mean if you still don’t want to talk to your parents, as I did when I was 15 years old, then the border will not change forever, and even worse. S: Yes, I totally understand your feeling about “I don’t want to talk” because people usually have high expectations about their parents, especially young people. I just didn’t want to talk to my parents at the time because I was mad after they failed my high expectation. I was really want their understanding about my difficulty when I first time study in another country. Then when my expectation didn’t match the reality, the trust between me and my parents collapsed, so I was just so mad. The “cold war” lasted for a long time until I went back to China. I knew that we are a family, and they are my parents, and I don’t want to keep a tense relationship with them because it makes both my parents and me upset. I felt so bad with the canyon between us. Therefore, I actually just decided to talk to them about my problem and difficulty when I learn in the U.S., and seek for their understanding. Then they actually understand me, not so hard, so our relation was able to rebuild after conversations, and that’s a pretty good I think. ●

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for another interview conducted by Dan Qiao and to download the full collection of 82 interviews

Draw Your Thoughts

i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


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INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

Border Two

P R EFACE & THAN K YO U We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

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The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us.

conversations

with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

In Clos e Rel a t io ns h ip

Embracing the Unknown D e vi n She rid a n

Devin Sheridan is learning what it means to be a San Diegan. She recently took a year to travel around Europe, and now she places value in defining who she is in the place she lives. She hopes to travel to as many new places as possible all around the world and watch that identity change and develop.

* Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

More Than Words | Self-Interview

Q: What was your specific study abroad program like?

A: It was a European Studies program at Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany. There was a fall and a spring semester, so altogether it went from August 2015 to April 2016. My program consisted of about 150 students from various schools all over the United States. We were given the choice to stay in a studio apartment in an apartment complex off campus or in a homestay, where you live with a German family. I chose the studio apartment which provided a level of seclusion, but I was not completely alone because about 80 other students in the program were in other apartments in the same building. We did not have classes with German students, and our classes were taught in English. Class sizes were around 10 to 20 students, and class topics ranged from German language classes to Film, Music to European Business Cultures. Q: What does studying abroad mean to you?

A: Before I knew what I wanted to study in college, I knew that I wanted to study abroad. Studying abroad was my opportunity to go to another country in a relatively controlled environment. A lot of the logistics were taken care of: housing, a purpose (in this case: school), a set of people going through a similar experience who I would be able to make friends with. When else in my life would I get this opportunity? It was now or never in my mind. I knew that going to a different country and meeting new people who come from different cultures and speak different languages would be invaluable. This is the education that I think is the most important, the type that is done outside the classroom as opposed to inside. This was education by experience, rather than education in the sense of regurgitating information that is being thrown at you. I have realized over the years of taking classes at a public university, that this education based on recounting information is the only kind that has merit. It feels as though the university does not find education from real world experiences useful. Or perhaps it is too hard to quantify. How can we give people a grade based on their interpretation of life events they have been faced with and learned to overcome? Q: What is an example of a life event you were faced with abroad? A: Anything having to do with the language barrier was a very dramatic experience at least in the beginning. The first time I had to communicate with a German person was my cab ride from the airport to my school on the first day I arrived in Germany. I was already nervous going into the taxi because I had not spoken in German in about three months, which is a pretty substantial amount of time, during which a lot of my language skills deteriorated. So I prepared for this first conversation as much as I could, which meant rehearsing my one line over and over again. One sentence; just one simple sentence. All I had to say was “Ich wurde gern nach Lankwitz fahren” (I would like to go to Lankwitz). I was met with confusion. Oh no. I was not prepared for this. “Lankwitz?” I kept repeating, hoping something would click in the taxi driver’s mind. That did not happen. He responded in what might as well have been gibberish, trying to figure out where it was I wanted to go. I had not heard someone speak German in months, let alone speak directly to me, awaiting an immediate response. Somehow in the midst of everything I was able to isolate a word: Nummer. This means number, and I gathered that he wanted a specific address. I fumbled through my paperwork, found the school’s address, and pointed at it. He typed it into his GPS and we were off. I was able to enjoy the rest of the drive in silence.

Border is a person’s expectation towards people and issues one encounters in daily life.

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Devin Sheridan was born in San Diego, raised in Temecula, CA, and currently resides in San Diego. She is about to start her fourth year at the University of California, San Diego. This past year she studied abroad in Berlin, Germany. In this interview, she reflects upon that experience and what she learned from her encounter with a language barrier.

Q: So in the end, the more useful form of communication was pointing at the paper, rather than using words. What were other ways you learned to communicate without using words? A: Physical movements make up most of nonverbal communication. And facial expressions. If I looked confused, referenced a map in some way, and said the name of the place I wanted to go, that was enough for a person to understand that I was lost. Often, someone would give me the directions I needed, and all I had to do was speak one word of German. I could also communicate in more emotionally complex situations. There was a day that I volunteered with children at a refugee center. I had to scold them when they were doing something dangerous like throwing blunt, heavy blocks across a crowded room. I had to condense what I wanted to say into one clear sentence. “Nein, das ist gefährlich!” (No, that is dangerous!) Along with saying that, I would pull the child aside to say it to them specifically and have a serious facial expression. That got the point across even to a kid, who maybe did not even know what gefährlich (dangerous) meant. But he knew what Nein (No) meant, and that very basic knowledge of German mixed with my demeanor was enough to get the point across. And eventually the kids stopped throwing these blocks across the room. Q: How did your language skills evolve? A: Towards the end of my time in Europe, I was in Paris with my best friend who was visiting me from California. She told me that our roommate in our hostel only spoke German and suggested I try talking to her. I had a moment of doubt, but some part of me was ready for this type of interaction. I did not need to speak to this woman, but I saw this as an opportunity to practice German, and I took it. I asked: “Sprechen Sie Deutsch?” (Do you speak German?). And in this situation, that was all it took. That one simple sentence was enough for the German woman to feel comfortable talking to me. She started talking about Germany and her daughter who was about my age. She asked what I was doing in Germany and what I was studying. I did not need to know an excessive amount of German, and I only had to talk about myself. The most difficult part was building up the courage to initiate the conversation in the first place. Personally, my biggest obstacle was being comfortable putting myself out there. I knew I would make mistakes, and that made me very anxious. I am a perfectionist, so making mistakes always equated to failure in my mind. But over the years and especially while I was in Berlin dealing with a language barrier, I have realized that mistakes can be good because it means you are learning and progressing. It is unrealistic to think that I can speak perfectly at this stage in my German. There is pronunciation; there is grammar; there is vocabulary. Inevitably, something will fall short or go wrong, but I had to learn to just keep talking, keep pushing through the mistakes. And this process became a lot easier after I spoke to this woman in Paris. So being comfortable with the fact that I was going to mess up and still being willing to enter into a conversation with someone was a big milestone for me. Q: Was there ever a benefit to the language barrier? A: It was a nice excuse for not talking to people. I am an introvert at heart, so social situations can often be really stressful, either because I feel bombarded by people, or because I feel excluded and isolated. It is quite a delicate balance of feeling comfortable but not overwhelmed. Being in another country, the language barrier became a crutch. If I was having a rough day, I had a pseudo-legitimate reason to not talk to anybody. And I used it even when


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I wasn’t having a rough day. But sometimes I was just really into the song I was listening to or I just flat out did not want to talk to anybody. All I had to say was: “Tut mir leid. Ich spreche kein Deutsch.” (Sorry I don’t speak German), and that was as social as I needed to be. Sometimes, I actually did not understand what the other person was saying, and I did not have the mental capacity to try and communicate. But other times, it was just a way out. Q: What about the German language have you incorporated into your life? A: German people and the German language are both incredibly direct. There is no beating around the bush. This is something that I subconsciously started doing as well, being more direct. In German I encountered, I found that people say exactly what they mean, which I found quite refreshing. It was something about German that was new to me, and I wish English emphasized this more. Now that I am speaking in English again, I find that people are taken off guard by how blunt I seem. It is evidently a foreign concept to say exactly what you mean. To me it seems contradictory, but my being direct has added confusion to conversations I have had since being back. I can see it especially well through simple questions. If I ask my friend “Why did you buy that?” my friends assumes that I do not approve of the purchase. If I ask my mom “When are you coming home?” she thinks that I need to see her and that she needs to come home as soon as possible. Subsequently, the responses they give do not even answer my original question. My friend will say something along the lines of “what don’t you like about it?” or my mom will respond with something like “what’s wrong?” Not only does it not answer my original question, but now we are both confused because we are talking about different things. It is much less likely for something like this to occur in German. Q: So it seems that in learning the similarities and differences between German and English, you have gained an understanding of linguistics and communication more generally. What would you say is the biggest takeaway from this?

A: I have found how important it is to really understand the message another person is trying to get across. Not the words they use to say it, but the intent behind it. This can be applied to how I communicated in Berlin, using more than just words to discover meaning. And this can be applied even when there is no language barrier. In English, where meaning is not as obvious, we have to take into account context and social norms to decipher the meaning of what someone says. I have learned that when I fail to look beyond the face value of what someone says to me, I end up oversimplifying the complex dynamics of communication. By approaching language in this more mindful way, I find that it has helped me communicate effectively on a deeper level. Q: What have you personally gained the most from this experience? A: Before studying abroad there was a barrier in place that separated what I could do and what I could not do. But after being forced to learn a new language and a new culture, I realized that it was not actually as daunting as it seemed in my head. This barrier only existed in my mind and was made stronger by my belief that it was a permanent separation. But it turns out this barrier can be deconstructed and redefined to mean not a separation but an opportunity to learn something new. I learned about not just a new language and culture, but also about myself. I became very aware of how I operate in situations where I feel foreign, and my strengths and weaknesses in that space. When I was in Europe, I had to really put myself out there if there was any hope of getting anything done. I was pretty incompetent, so I had to ask for guidance a lot, especially at the beginning. This was difficult for me, being this vulnerable. It ties back into me being a perfectionist and expecting too much of myself. Being in Berlin made me realize that just because I did not know everything did not mean that I was a failure. It was a test. How much could I figure out myself, and when did I need to ask for help? I was able to push through moments of pure and utter confusion, and I realized how much I could do on my own. But more importantly, I was able to recognize when I needed help, and I learned how to ask for it. It was both humbling and freeing to realize that I didn’t know everything and that was okay. By the end of it all, I felt like I could do anything. ●

Where I Belong | Participant/Author to Participant/Author

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Gabriel, born and raised in Riverside, California, and now lives in San Diego to wrap up the final class of his undergraduate career at UC San Diego. This conversation took place over a weekend in Geisel Library at UCSD, and this interview discusses the challenges he has faced with his identity as a Mexican American and lack of experience with his family’s culture.

Devin Sheridan: I want to start off by talking about your family. For me, there was never any outside cultures that penetrated my household until my mom got remarried when I was a teenager. My step-dad has both German and Mexican roots, and is very proud of it, even though he doesn’t celebrate any German or Mexican traditions and customs. This past year, I studied abroad in Germany, and now me and step-dad have this connection through our exposure to, knowledge of, and appreciation for German culture. How do you feel your environment in your home shaped your perspective on Mexican culture?

Gabriel Maldonado: My grandparents being Mexican, speak primarily Spanish with each other, but I never picked up anything and they didn’t teach me. Throughout the years, we never partook in any Mexican celebrations or historical dates, like Cinco de Mayo or Posada which is a Christmas tradition. As for my dad’s side of the family, they are even more removed from their culture, but they do take pride in being Mexican/Chicano. So I am only familiar with just celebrating, New Years, Fourth of July, Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving. But no one in my family emphasized Mexican culture at all. I feel like for most of my youth my Mexican culture has just been unknown to me so that’s why I’ve just had this urge to know more, learn more, and experience more. D: I can definitely relate to that desire to branch out and be exposed to more than what was in your home environment. Tell me about your friends growing up and the influence they had on you.

G: Some of my best friends in elementary, middle, and high school, they’ve just been the few white guys I had been around even though I come from a primarily Latino neighborhood community. The next biggest demographic would probably be White, followed by Black, but the majority is Mexican. Ever since elementary school, best friend was Steven, he was white. Dylan, Airn, Thomas, Patrick, just all White guys. They never had an interest or a concern for Mexican culture, but they didn’t have a concern for anything else, like Arabic or Black culture. So it was something that never really concerned us. So we just shared a status as U.S. citizens. That was our common ground. They lived with White families where discrimination and jokes based on stereotypes were a normal thing. Sometimes these ideas and feelings were shared amongst our group. D: You mentioned that you grew up in “a primarily Latino neighborhood”. Do you find it weird that you gravitated towards White people and those were the guys who became your best friends? G: I guess I felt like I related more with the White guys versus bonding with my Mexican friends at school. We liked the same music and events at a time when I knew little about Mexico or culture. There were no cultural barriers whatsoever with my friends. D: When did you first started being exposed to Mexican culture more? G: It’s been a gradual process. The culture and knowledge has always been present with my grandparents, but I never took it on. My grandparents approach in raising me involved a lot of freedom, they were not strict at all like some of my friends’ Mexican elders. Like attending church for example, they didn’t force me to go when I was small, it was an option. Then as I got older I took the steps on my own to get into church and had this cultural awakening phase. That freedom of choice, I believe allowed me to be exposed to things when the time was right or when I was ready. I truly began being exposed and accepting of Mexican culture when I joined a Latino fraternity, Phi Iota Alpha, at UC San Diego.

D: UC San Diego is such a big school, it is definitely important to find a group that can ground you in some way and make you feel like you belong. Otherwise you are just one more student in a sea

of 30,000 undergraduates. Why did you end up joining Phi Iota Alpha?

G: Unlike grade school, I didn’t fit in with any predominantly White fraternities in college. There was no common ground about where we came from, struggles we face or goals we have for ourselves. I’m generally an easygoing, quiet person and I just didn’t click with some of the chattier and at times egotistical guys in other orgs. It just felt natural with the Phiota (nickname for Phi Iota Alpha members) guys I got to know during rush week and social events. They didn’t try to outspend any groups with rush events, and we were able to discuss what we’ve been through in life over dinners and “kick backs.” Two of my apartment mates now, Salcedo and Ivan, were the first two guys I met and they just have a “chill” way about them. During rush week’s social events, I was able to talk about family and school with them and one conversation I remember while eating wings with Salcedo was him talking about a family member who worked in the fields and other hard labor for cheap wages, but he did it to support his family. Reminded me of my family and the demanding work they have to go through sometimes six days a week to make a living. I eventually became interested enough in the purpose of their fraternity to join. Phi Iota Alpha is a predominantly Latino fraternity, but there are members who are of different demographics in different chapters at other colleges in the U.S. The fraternity emphasizes culture, success in education and the professional arena, service to our communities and people, and it’s all based on the idea of Panamericanism. Panamericanism originated from Latin American revolutionaries and heroes during Europe’s colonial period, and it is the concept of having Latino people work together as one group, despite cultural differences, to overcome challenges the whole group faces. D: You talked about going to Mexico for the first time recently. I also left the U.S. for the first time recently. When I lived in Germany this past year, I felt like everyday, for the eight months I was there, I was always learning something new and adapting. So now that you have been to Mexico, you’ve gotten a taste of what it’s like. How would you behave going back a second time? G: All my life my family has preached that Mexico is a dangerous place, don’t take your truck down there, and watch out for shady looking people. The news media hasn’t helped shedding a negative spotlight on Mexico and it’s people when it focuses on stories of drugs, gangs, and crimes. Recently when I tell my parents that I’m going to TJ for the day, they always get a tad bit concerned. I have been going to TJ with my friends this past weekend and the weekend before. Now I am kinda familiar with where things are, locations, what to expect. Going to Mexico is no longer a scary thing for me. Now I just hope for the best but prepare for the worst when I visit. In my opinion, it’s not a chaotic world, it’s just different. I do want to go to Mexico city, historical sites, and even to Coahuila, MX, where some of my family is. But I don’t think I’m ready to do all that alone or right now. I still have to learn Spanish to be able to navigate and I would need friends or family to go with. D: In your opinion and based on your experience, what differences have you noticed on each side of the border? G: I feel like being on this side of the border, Mexican culture is very influenced by American ideals and culture itself. With style, how to dress, music. The best example I can think of as a cultural difference between Mexicans on this side and south of the border is Spanglish. In California, the mixing of Spanish and English words in the same sentences, I still don’t get it. I don’t know why people choose to substitute some words with Spanish and English when I just choose one language. But it’s just something people do. As for Mexico, I have only encountered Spanish. There’s no mixing, no English. It’s just straight Spanish, and it’s fast Spanish too. So there is no real dumbed down version, it’s just raw Spanish...continues

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for the remainder of this interview and to download the full collection of 82 interviews

NOTES

i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


20

INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

er two Bord versa

P R EFACE & THAN K YO U We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

15

20

The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

con

tions

with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

In Clos e R el a t io ns h ip

“American” Grown with Mexican Roots

Ga br i el Ma ld onad o

Gabriel Maldonado will be a new graduate from UCSD and hopes to contribute to making positive changes in the lives he interacts with by utilizing his experiences, knowledge, and status as a millennial Mexican-American male from Riverside, CA. Better understanding his own family and ancestral history and culture will allow him to have his own unique approach to problem-solving, growing as a person, and life.

Border is the differences caused by diverse life experience and decisions.

Identity Interrogation | Self-Interview

Q: The topic of this “interview” is borders. Begin with what immediately comes to mind when thinking about the concept, their causes and their purposes.

A: As a political science major, I’m interested in geopolitical conflicts, especially when it comes to borders, territorial disputes, and regard for human rights violations. Examples include former and present borders, such as the containment of communism, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and immigration from “third world” countries. It’s interesting to me how those with power separate people and how the consequences are dealt with or completely ignored. Q: Now think about the personal effects that borders (physical, cultural, social, etc.) have had on your character development.

A: Since I was little, my own cultural identity border has been a disconnection with my Mexican heritage and at one point I even resented Mexican culture even though my family is Mexican. This cultural separation has been a part of me as I’ve grown up until high school when I felt that I was missing a part of my own identity as I learned about other cultures of the world in college classes. My first exposure to “new and different” culture was in anthropology, sociology, world religions, and other humanities classes I took for community college while in high school. I’ve undergone a change where I was closed minded about other groups of people and now I am accepting of all ethnicities and enjoy learning about different cultures. Q: There are plenty of interpretations as to what borders are and what they do, but can you describe the term with one word or a single phrase? What symbolic thing or place would you show a foreigner to represent your experience with borders? A: The main substitutes I can think of for the term border include separation of identities, disconnection of people, and cultural barriers. These terms demonstrate my feelings that borders serve to separate people instead of bridging them together. As for introducing a foreigner/stranger to my experience with my own “cultural identity crisis,” the best thing I can think of is showing them around Old Town in San Diego. This is because southern California was once the Mexican government’s land, until the Mexican-American War ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that relinquished California and other southwestern states to the United States. Old Town has historical significance for both Mexican and American history because of how long it’s been around. The place does have Mexican roots with festivities, businesses, and restaurants. Old Town and the rest of San Diego has seen many different powers, from Native American control, to Spaniard conquistadors, Mexican settlers, to becoming U.S. territory. Now there are “American” influences with its visitors and customers. Old Town has a touristy feel and people from all cultures enjoy what the mixed community has to offer. If one were to sit down and eat at any establishment here, you will see Old Town visitors that range from young to older, of different ethnicities, and possible from out of town/state/country. I draw this connection between Old Town and myself because although I have Mexican roots, I’ve adopted and accepted being “American” over celebrating Mexican history and culture for all my younger years. Now I realize that American and Mexican aren’t opposites, they do come together and blend to create my identity. Q: What has been the cause of the construction of this “Personal Barrier” and what do you believe has been a productive solution and approach to the problem?

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Gabriel Maldonado was born and raised in Riverside, CA. After attending UC Merced for one year, he transferred to UCSD to return home to southern California and to seek new opportunities as a political science major who is currently finishing up his last undergraduate career. Only after two years as a student at UCSD since the fall of 2014, Gabriel has made more progress than ever in his new life goal of reaching out to his family, new friends, and organizations in order to fill a cultural void that he has avoided throughout his youth.

A: Although I was raised by Mexican grandparents, they didn’t emphasis Mexican tradition or culture. I guess they just wanted me to be very “Americanized” in the sense that they wanted me to learn English, be a member of society in southern California. I’m not sure how things are different than San Antonio, TX regarding discrimination or acceptance, but from what they’ve said there is far more diversity in Riverside. As they raised me over the years, they didn’t want me to face any possible obstacles as a result of being Mexican, for example being made fun of due to an accent.. This resulted in my own language barrier with Spanish because I’m still trying to learn. Also some of my first and best friends have been White so that doesn’t help me get into Mexican traditions. I started to think like some of them who were raised by parents in a household where “racist” feelings are normal to have. Eventually, I just saw no importance in Mexican culture in my life, but I was dead wrong. The best tools in overcome my barrier to my Mexican heritage has been education, exposure, and experience. These three things help me seek more and learn more about Mexican culture, and how it varies on both sides of the border. Q: A large portion of people in the U.S. have no regards for and/or are not taught to appreciate other cultures. What do you think it would take to effectively spread and convey this message to people who are racist and prejudiced towards Mexicans, Latino immigrants, or other “foreigners?” A: This is such a heavy topic, but this issue of overcoming racism and discrimination educating people about being informed of other cultural groups, not fearing them. Racism has deep history in the formation of this country, but change comes from people fighting for equality for all through learning, experiencing, and feeling. Changes to education to emphasis more understanding and acceptance is critical in making it “normal” to accept and learn about all cultures, religions, and societies. As for treatment of Mexicans, people of Mexican heritage, and Latinos in general, negative portrayals are to blame for stereotypes and opinions towards Latinos. Discrimination has worked its way into media (print, film, music, television, etc.) and certain forms of information and entertainment play on the emotions of anger and fear, then people can only be influence by those sources. Throughout film and television, Mexican males are depicted as lazy violent drunks, and females are given repeated roles where they are highly sexualized or have short tempers, as a housemaid for example. Not all Mexicans are involved with drugs, cartels, prostitutes, or violence. Not all Muslims are terrorists or reject American ideals. There needs to be more of a focus on the good that comes from unity, in society and government, but this may be nearly impossible to do. People are stronger together, not divided through the tools that separate us, such as political institutions, media, education, and borders. Q: What does it mean to you to be an “American?” What does it mean to be “Mexican?” in your opinion? Are they different things? A: Growing up, the two cultures seemed very distant and I preferred to identify as “American” over embracing my Mexican heritage. Now I realize that I can easily identify as Mexican-American not only because of my ancestors, but because I want to learn and grow as an individual who is exposed to life in the U.S. and Mexican traditions and practices in regards to music, entertainment, food and family structure.


21

Q: Do you feel regret or feel guilty for not embracing your Mexican identity sooner in life? A: No, I do not feel guilty for not embracing your Mexican identity sooner, it has been part of my development and story. I do feel guilty for having negative feelings and opinions towards Spanish, Mexicans, and traditions. The time and manner by which I came to learn about my heritage has been beneficial to my growth and has allowed me to be newcomer to the experience because I’m able to evaluate and analyze my experiences, instead of being normalized to it from birth. Q: What ways do you show that you are someone who Mexican? A: During my first years in college, I got involved with a group from back home named the Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Coalition to get involved and help undocumented individuals within our communities. The group is active in protesting unfair treatment of migrants at detention centers and reach out to undocumented individuals to inform them of resources and their rights. During my first quarter at UCSD, I joined the fraternity Phi Iota Alpha. I am far from the stereotypical “frat boy,” so I was surprised that I joined. This group was a surprise to me though. I was shocked by the demographics of UCSD because I’m used to being around predominantly Latino majority at school and even Merced was fairly evenly distributed. I felt at home and welcomed by my fellow Latinos in this organization because they came from similar communities, and we shared a vision to help each other and other Latinos in and out of UCSD. We’ve been able to volunteer at several events, host fund raisers, work with other Latino Greek organizations, and other ways of outreach for Latinos. It is also with this group that I first traveled to Mexico, something I always dreaded but wanted to experience. They definitely made the experience easier than expected because they’re regular visitors and speak Spanish fluently. I’ve picked up some Spanish from them, some cooking skills, and familiarity with Spanish music. Thinking about it now they have been the only Latinos that I hang out with a lot as we all go through undergrad together. Just this year I joined in some activities hosted by MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/Chicano de Aztlan) on campus. MEChA, a predominantly Latino based org, has been an experience where I learned about certain traditions, celebrations, and became aware of issues faced by other Latinos, such as the fear some students have towards ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement). I’ve been able to participate in volunteering, hosting workshops, protesting, and bonding with other Latino students that I’ve never met before. Back in high school, I would have never thought I would be active in this way, but now I feel that although I am not undocumented or face the serious challenges most Latinos do in the US, their struggle is also my struggle. The fact that I know some people whose family hides from border patrol and ICE, or that others have close ties to family on the other side of the border allows me to empathize with them through their challenges.

[derogatory slang terms to refer to someone who is Hispanic] that didn’t like his own kind” by my hometown buddies. I’ve made it clear that I was ignorant and acting stupid, in my opinion. I just wasn’t in touch with my own cultural identity and heritage. They respect that. Sure jokes still go back and forth about race and stereotypes, such as jokes about accents or occupations of Mexicans, but nobody in my circle of friends hates any group of people based off discriminatory or racist ideas. Q: Aside from the disconnect how did it feel being in Mexico? What were the specific things you were anxious about? A: It was like entering another world, my English proficiency was useless and I didn’t have any sense of direction. All I knew was where north was and where my friends were. I usually have an idea of my surroundings and what can happen, but I just hoped for the best while expecting the worse, like running into the wrong crowd of people. The night went smoothly though, my friends and I just went to hang out at a club called “Cats” for a friend’s birthday, so we met up with other UCSD students from our Latino circle of associations. My friends who are usual Mexico visitors said that all you do to get in was walk in with a CA driver license, but it wasn’t that simple. Some other first time travelers and myself got held up because of how Mexican customs have changed to become stricter. We were held in a screening room where they scanned our info, questioned us, and requested that we do not come back without passports. Then coming back wasn’t too stressful, even though I was without a passport. I was just questioned by the border patrol officer if I was a US citizen, reason for my visit, and if I was bringing anything back from Mexico.When I wasn’t worried about taking care of my drunk friends, I was anxious at times about getting mixed up with cartel members, worrying about food poisoning, getting mugged, or not being allowed back in the US due to not having a passport. Q: Where to go from here? What is next? A: I think this is a continuous and lifelong process of catching up for me, but now I hold onto both my Mexican and American heritage and values. I have informed my hometown friends about the changes I’ve gone through and they’re interested by my transformation. As for being involved, I hope to continue my work and participation within the community where Latinos are present. Going into law enforcement, I hope to be able to use my experience and knowledge as a Mexican-American graduate from a working class family in a predominantly low-income community to be able to contribute to protecting and serving all people equally and fairly. Although many people appreciate law enforcement there are also people who do have negative feelings towards police officer, especially following police shootings and massive deportation raids, but I intend on living out a career of helping people instead of having them fear me and my coworkers. After some exposure with the way of thinking that some people involved with law enforcement have, I believe I can bring an open mind to situations and not judge others’ opinions as false or irrelevant. After years of service, I hope to be able to get back into local politics and possibly run for office where I am able to bring my experience, knowledge, and perspective as a Mexican-American to contribute to positive change for all, especially when regarding problems faced by Latinos in the US. ●

21

Q: Has getting closer to your Mexican identity distanced you from your non-Latino friends. Was it ever a source of any conflict or misunderstanding? A: No not at all, it surprises them that I have changed. I was considered the “beaner or wetback

Cultural Endeavors | Participant/Author to Participant/Author

This interview took place on an August afternoon with Devin Sheridan in UCSD’s Geisel Library and covers the topic of her experiences with borders, facing language barriers, and learning about living in Germany as a first time traveler studying abroad. Devin returned to San Diego after living in the hot inland city of Temecula to be student at the prestigious University of California, San Diego. She will be a fourth year student who is an economics and math major. She tells of her life changing year-long experience from studying abroad in Germany and being fascinated with being a member of German society as a foreigner.

Gabriel Maldonado: You mentioned in your personal story about studying abroad that when you were young you were shy, but in recent years you’ve made changes to be more social. From your childhood, what has contributed to your shy nature until you got older?

Devin Sheridan: I think my shyness as child came from a lack of confidence and not being sure of myself. I did gymnastics when I was younger and I excelled in it, so it helped my confidence. But there were moments where I would not perform my best and it affected my confidence. It helped me go through waves of outgoing and shy. When I quit gymnastics, I felt empowered for the first time. I changed the course of my life overnight. I could do anything. I had put myself in this box of being a gymnast. This box was created by me, and therefore could be deconstructed by me as well. That helped me break out of my shyness and comfort zone. Coming to college, I decided this was gonna be the new me, be a go getter, and be super social. Nobody knows who I am, so there would not be any preconceptions, I could completely change who I was and become who I wanted to be. When I was younger I would wonder if some people would like or accept me, but coming to college that wasn’t important to me anymore. It was because coming to such a big school, there would always be more people to meet, who would accept me.

G: Your “studying abroad in Germany” story of overcoming cultural differences utilizes the approach of making the uncomfortable things comfortable, but what else has changed your mind and attitude? D: I went to Germany to study abroad this past school year. In Germany, I was forced to be very social. I would have to interact with people everyday for basic things like buying laundry tokens from my landlord and asking for directions when I was lost, which happened a lot when those first couple weeks. I went through a process of trying to do what I could on my own and realizing when and how to rely on other people. Throughout this process, talking to people didn’t give me anxiety like it did as a kid. I came to terms with the fact that I was gonna be uncomfortable putting myself out there so much. But after confronting this multiple times a day, it got easier and began to feel natural interacting with people all the time, I just had to make it through the hard part of initially breaking that barrier of being an introvert. G: Of all the countries in the world, why did you choose Germany for studying abroad? Was that first on your “places to travel to” list? D: It definitely wasn’t. I knew when I quit gymnastics that I wanted to study abroad. I decided

this before I even knew what I wanted to major in. I didn’t choose a place for my major, my goal was to go to as many different places and be exposed to different people and cultures. I wanted to go to Europe because it’s cheap and normal to travel to different countries. I picked a country that was pretty central versus a country on the outskirts of Europe. Then I had to find a language taught at UCSD. Belgium was also my second choice, but then it came down to the program. The German program I found was taught in English and was a year long, which were two things that were important to me. I wasn’t hell bent on going to Germany, it just happened, and I’m happy with the way things turned out. G: Do you have any German ancestors?

D: Surprisingly, no. I have Polish, Irish, and Scottish. I had never thought about my heritage or ancestry before I went to Europe, but when I was there I became very curious. I met other American students who spoke about their experiences being second or third generation immigrants, and in those moments when that was the topic of conversation, I had nothing to say because I did not know my ancestry. But I wanted to know. So I texted my parents to see how long ago we came to America. On my mom’s side it dated way back to the 1800s. For my dad, it was much more recent. Both of his grandfathers immigrated here, from Poland on his mom’s side and from Ireland on his dad’s side. It is interesting how the Polish and Irish influence stopped with my generation. My dad can recall eating Polish food growing up, and having that cultural influence from his mother, but that knowledge and passion did not get instilled in me. That’s as far back as I can date my blood. My step-dad is German, but that didn’t affect where I wanted to go. My step-dad has this romantic view of his German culture and is fascinated by it. There was nothing personally connecting me with Germany, in terms of my blood, but it felt natural once I got there. G: How did you feel when you traveled to fifteen different European countries within your year studying abroad? D: I did feel lost every time but I wondered why did I feel lost? I just had to establish a sense of belonging. So having a home was step one. This meant checking into my hostel or airbnb. Step two was having company, so checking up with my friends, making sure they got there safe. Step three was having a goal, knowing what we wanted to do or see, having a plan. Once I had that, I felt comfortable being in that country. I was able to be a better foreigner with friends, and not as incompetent like when I first got to Europe...continues

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for the remainder of this interview and to download the full collection of 82 interviews

NOTES

i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


22

INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

three border ers

P R EFACE & THAN K YO U We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

36

conv

id e isd rs eennttss o of th re f w biy a S n a D n i a e u g j o Ti

22

The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

ation s

N a t u re ve r su s Nu rt u re J P Fa lst ad

JP Falstad is an architecture student whose first love will always be philosophy and language. An avid reader, writer and film goer, JP is twenty-eight years old, and raised in Las Vegas.

Border is a psychological self-created or self-imposed barrier erected to curb our true behavior because of fear of social backlash.

o u r b o r de r e d s e lv e s | S e l f -I n t e r v i e w

Q: The ideas of self-created and self-imposed borders are really important to you. Can you define what those mean?

A: For me, these are two separate (though not mutually exclusive) ideas. Self-created borders are the internal borders we allow to develop in order to keep external ideas that might be unfamiliar or we perceive to be unsavory, taboo, etc. at bay. They’re barriers to expanded knowledge and exposure to ideas that challenge our own. Self-imposed borders are barriers we create that keep our own non-traditional, taboo or otherwise socially deviant behaviors internalized. It’s a suppression of natural inclinations because of fear or backlash or ostracization by your community. I think both self-created and self-imposed borders are fueled by fear. Fear of the unknown or fear of harsh social judgement and alienation. Q: What’s an example of a self-imposed or self-created border you’re still struggling with?

A: I think self-created borders are harder to identify because they’re almost unconscious, whereas self-imposed borders are more deliberate. They’re fueled by your desire to create a border around an idea, desire or behavior you fear won’t be accepted by other people. There’s quite a few self-imposed borders that I’m trying to tear down, but they’re works in progress. I’ll share one that is related to my intense anxiety and disinterest at being the center of attention on a purely aesthetic level and the anxiety associated with it. I’ve always struggled with wearing clothes and cutting my hair and wearing makeup in a way that is socially acceptable for someone of my age and gender – while trying to find a balance that would call as little attention to myself as possible. I don’t want to look too enticing, too sloppy, too man-ish, too young – like I’m trying too hard, or not hard enough. I always did these polar opposite swings – for a while I would go tom-boy, and once that started getting me too much attention (because society is critical of girls who dress like boys) I would go into this hyper-sexualized phase – which inevitably got me a lot of the wrong sort of attention (though the people around me thought it was way more appropriate and encouraged it). I could never get the right balance of not-trying, and trying too hard. There didn’t seem to be a neutral ground. I hated having long hair, but the one time I cut it short, people diverted their gazes and made me even more uncomfortable about it. It wasn’t appropriate. Comments like you’re so pretty, you should try harder or you won’t get a boyfriend looking like that were so nauseatingly common. As though a relationship should be my end goal. I recently had a lot of time to reflect on myself and my happiness and what and why I was doing the things I was doing. I constantly felt tense, guarded – the walls of these self-imposed borders were closing in. I realized that I was living my life in this little box constructed of other people’s opinions and that it was making me intensely unhappy. So I resolved to start taking apart these barriers I had created for myself that, initially, were constructed to protect me from judgement, but ended up doing me more damage than good. Definitely a work in progress. Q: What’s an example of a self-imposed border you’d say you’ve overcome? A: There’s one relatively recent situation where I’ve finally just said fuck it I don’t care anymore and deconstructed an internal behavioral border. It involves bras – and you might laugh, but it’s actually something I take seriously. I hate bras so, so damn much and maybe especially the social conventions that dictate women have to wear them. They’re stupidly expensive, designed to wear down after half a year, uncomfortable and bad for your health –

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

JP Falstad is a student at Woodbury University and is currently exploring the idea of border and border-making as a personal, psychological and behavioral concept.

-and yet!- Women are expected to wear them constantly, even in the comfort of their own homes. I recently spent six months in Sweden and got used to the thick layering of sweaters and thermal underwear which allowed me to go braless everywhere. It felt like this weird indulgence. Like I was allowing myself something that I would ordinarily be denied. June came around and my family came to visit and I was wearing only one layer of clothing – this grey cotton sweater without even thinking about it – and my Mum glanced at me in my bralessness and that motherly lip pursing and diverted gaze to express her disagreement happened. My shoulders immediately rounded in, trying to hide it. My sisters laughed and commented on my outfit later (never mind I was covered feet to throat, the fact I wasn’t wearing a bra was apparently note-worthy) and they mentioned how uncomfortable it obviously made our Mum. They made jokes and poked fun at my expense and I laughed and shrugged my shoulders and tried to stand my ground and pretend like it didn’t bother me. First time I tried to leave my home here in San Diego without a bra, my roommate (who has quite liberal opinions on most every other topic she and I have discussed) looked at me and said, ‘you’re going out like that?’ A well-meaning talk ensued in which I was told that aesthetics matter and that I should try to be more presentable. My bralessness would make other people uncomfortable. For me, that’s at the crux of this idea of self-imposed borders: they require you to create barriers between your natural behavior and what is deemed socially acceptable. It infuriates me. That I have to make a choice between my own comfort and health and the social discomfort of others. That I am indoctrinated to expect shaming for something that’s really no one else’s business. I don’t want to have to create these internal borders that suppress my natural inclinations because of fear of social alienation. It’s not even about bras, it’s about how other people think they have a right to curb your behavior so that it conforms to social norms. Q: You talk about taboo or socially deviant behavior and how you’d like to be able to express yourself freely. Is there a limit to that? Are social taboos there for a reason? A: I think there are very few instances in which individual freedom is trumped by society. I’m a believer in the idea of cultural relativism – to an extent. In the ideal world, there would be no need for physical borders – people could move around and live in whatever society they thought best represented their own interests and beliefs. There’s a difference between the borders we create for ourselves and the borders that are created for us, but what they have in common is that as long as your actions and beliefs don’t harm anyone else in any way – they should be allowable. The sorts of borders we create in these instances – for ourselves and others to operate in – that are necessary, are the sort that prevent or condemn people from acting in a way that harms someone else. I’m all for that. There’s an old argument about cultural relativism that uses a Native Central American society as an example. In this society, it was customary to perform sacrifices to the gods – in the form of young, prepubescent girls. It had been a custom in their culture for centuries – it was an accepted practice and in fact, the girls who were chosen for the sacrifice were supposedly on board with the ritual – it was a great honor to be chosen for sacrifice. By our modern standards (and by the standards of many cultures and societies throughout the ages) this act is viewed as reprehensible and morally wrong. But, obviously, that’s not how they viewed it. So are there behaviors that are acceptable in certain societies as long as the participants in that society deem it appropriate? Should we, as outsiders to their way of life impose our values and moral borders on these people? Yeah, in a few extreme cases I think we have to curb the behavior of individuals for the sake of everyone else.


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Q: You’ve discussed overcoming self-imposed borders. How do you think self-created borders can be overcome? A: I think it’s actually more a question of how can we prevent self-created borders from forming. I think a lot of it is the personal responsibility of the individual to constantly reach for experiences and situations that challenge their ideas. It’s a mind set that involves the notion that you can never truly know anything. Another part of it is education. The way we educate people needs to change from a one-way transmission of information, to a dialogue that encourages discussion of alternate views. Q: You imply that the current educational system needs to change. Were there areas of your own education that you found lacking in terms of social and philosophical border-making? A: Quite a few, actually. Gender – for one. There’s a common misconception, despite evidence to the contrary, that many things people regard as concrete and immutable, don’t actually operate on a binary system. You’re either x or y, y or x. But there’s been plenty of studies that discredit this system. The way we try to label people and define the way they see themselves, really bothers me. I would have loved to have had gender and sexuality courses as a child. Exposure to the spectrum of ideas out there and to non-traditional concepts. Q: What has led you to the conclusion that these ideas operate on a spectrum? A: My exposure to different sorts of people – people who didn’t fit into tidy boxes. Exposure to ideas that were different from the ones that I had grown up with and that I was taught at school. Largely by reading and absorbing as much information as I possibly could. Actively trying to keep my borders open, in a sense. And also because I’ve never really fallen into one category or another, and that has been a huge source of frustration for me. I grew up in Las Vegas – this highly sexualized place, and I had an immensely hard time relating to a lot of people because there was such a narrow view of how gender and sexuality operated. I had a lot of time for self-reflection when I was traveling in Iceland several months ago. I was camping – completely alone – literally nothing but nature around me. I was reading this book I had picked up in Scandinavia somewhere. It was full of these essays people have written – accounts of their experience accepting their own gender and sexuality and there was this entry that really hit me in the gut – hard. I had to put the book down. I started sweating, I felt sick. I rarely have physical reactions to things like this. It is usually pretty extreme circumstances when it happens – when people I know die, there’s a sort of shock and numbed calm that comes over me – no tears, not right away. But with this, it was like a sickness almost. Like I was burning up – my body was trying to get rid of something. I was nauseous, sweating, shaking.

It sounds odd, but it was like psychologically this thing hit me so hard – and my body was trying to figure out how to deal with it. It was like my view of myself – this really closely guarded and crafted idea of who I was and the explanations I gave for my behavior – the rationalizations I gave myself – for why I’ve always felt so angry, why I’ve felt so misunderstood. My temper as a child never really went away – I had just learned to keep it buried because I didn’t understand the root cause of my alienation, my loneliness, my lack of ability to fit in, my inability to genuinely show interest in the things that interested my peers– having to fake that interest and play along and mimic the people around me so that I felt accepted. My adaptability, my agility in dealing with change and unpredictability is largely a survival technique I had to cultivate from a young age growing up in a hostile environment, and it’s taken me a long time to understand that it’s also part of this thing I do in social settings in order to not be an outsider. This two-and-a-half page entry I read by some anonymous person out there in the world made me feel more connected, more whole, more understood than I had in my entire life. Just knowing that there was someone out there who understood and genuinely experienced the same sort of gender and sexuality issues that I had, made me feel so much better. But it also made me so sad, so desperately angry and full of regret about all the relationships (romantic and not) I’ve had with people – how angry and misunderstood I felt, how unobservant I thought people were because they didn’t know me – when really, how could they? If I couldn’t articulate my own emotions, desires and behaviors – how the hell were they supposed to? I’ve hurt people because they couldn’t (or I thought, wouldn’t) emotionally or physically give me what I needed, so I put them at arm’s length. How could I explain to them my annoyance and frustration at having them treat me like they would any other woman – when I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t okay with that? Why did I hate it? How else would I have them treat me? I didn’t want to be regarded as a man either – so where did that leave me? I’m not transgender. I don’t hate my body. How do I explain I just don’t want a gender at all? How do I explain that, yes I want companionship, but no, I don’t want a romantic or sexual relationship? I had done research online before – but the clinical bullet point studies and definitions of different sexuality and gender identities didn’t tell half the story. It wasn’t until someone put their experiences to paper and were brutally honest about themselves and were able to put the words to it that I finally understood myself a little bit better. And a big part of my relief is being able to point to something and say hey – here’s a resource that can explain what I’m feeling. These are the sorts of things I want, and this is why.

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It’s not about labeling myself. It’s about knowing that there’s other people out there like me and that there’s information I can share with people close to me so they can understand a bit better. ●

fear (of) the unknown | Participant/Author to Participant/Author

Audrey Borger, born and raised in Orange County (California), is twenty-four years old and currently resides in City Heights (San Diego) with her husband. This conversation took place on Tuesday, September 27th, 2016 at Café Moto in Barrio Logan, blocks away from Woodbury University School of Architecture where she is working on her master’s degree. The topic of conversation revolves around her experience living in Orange County – and how she began to challenge some of the views and values of the people she loves and has a deep regard for. It’s a discussion about learned prejudices and negotiating relationships. She believes all the people she grew up around have good hearts – but some have opinions she strongly disagrees with. It’s about challenging views, picking battles and trying to overcome fears and welcome different perspectives and experiences. JP Falstad: You talk about your experience growing up in Orange County behind the ‘Orange Curtain’ and how their view of the outside world came to make you uncomfortable. Can you elaborate on some of those views?

Audrey Borger: I want to start off with a disclaimer - these people that I’m about to bash in a way – they’re good people, I know their hearts. But because they have not gone out of their little bubble they just can’t see the world from any other point of view, and that’s the part that drives me absolutely crazy. And it’s not a problem unique to Orange County, but it’s compounded by the fact that they’re so affluent and so self-dependent and there’s just inflated egos and it’s really hard to reach someone who thinks they’re really self-reliant and intelligent and successful. They’re really hard to reach. Racism is pretty prevalent, it’s very rare to see a neighborhood that’s not homogeneous with white Christian people. Those are the people I went to school with. Those are the people I went to church with. Those are my family – that’s my family friends and it’s ironic because we all come from these different places and my dad is seventy-five percent Mexican and yet he – where he grew up (in San Juan Capistrano) has a huge Hispanic population and so my dad, who is himself Mexican and whose grandparents will be like, ‘oh the ghetto,’ talking about a Mexican neighborhood, and you’re like – you know that’s you right? We have a family friend, it’s a little sad to admit I know these people, but he was complaining that commercials nowadays are showing black people and he was like, ‘you see all these black people everywhere - I can’t believe it, like every other commercial is filled with black people and it’s just the worst things ever.’ And it’s sad. It’s weird because growing up, you don’t really question it, you’re just like, oh this is a thing like when I was in high school, my friend who I’ve known since first grade, her mom is very racist - especially against our first African American president. Her birthday party consisted of an Obama impersonator so it was this room full of white people who were just laughing at this Obama impersonator who was just making racist jokes every minute. Just no respect for someone that is leading our country. Because they’re your friends and your family, you don’t really like question it, but as soon as you’re outside of that context, you’re like, holy crap! You guys are racist! What are you saying? It’s just completely shocking. J: From your experience, is it easier to challenge opinions that have been influenced or gained during your formal education or through your social environment? A: My education specifically was small, private Christian schools, literally from preschool through college, basically until now. So my high school was filled with Republicans who have a very dead set idea about what is right and what is wrong and how we’re supposed to approach things. One specific example of me thinking about how oh, that education was really biased was my history teacher had us do this reading about Margaret Sanger (the founder of Planned Parenthood) who was being compared to the Nazis and their eugenics – and Planned Parenthood is obviously not trying to get rid of certain characteristics or mental issues – I remember reading that and being like, yeah, okay I can see the comparison (in high school) and now I’m like oh my gosh. When I needed advice and needed to be educated about sex and stuff I went to Planned Parenthood and they helped – they offered a lot of help for me in my personal life. That was a whoa moment, that was really biased. What’s easier to challenge? I don’t know - because it was such a small community, teachers felt like family friends, too. So I didn’t really question anyone – they were all trustworthy. J: Can you recall any situation where someone challenged an opinion of yours, and you stood your ground and disagreed? A: Oh yeah. I was always a really shy kid and my parents were always my friends and so up

until about seventeen or eighteen, I just never really questioned them. My dad throws around a lot of bullshit all the time about everything and I would kind of question him a little bit and it was always a little bit joking. Now it’s gotten to the point where I’m legitimately angry at the bullshit he throws around. My grandmother put it in a funny way - she was like ‘after Audrey turned 18 she finally found her voice.’ I was always the quiet kid hanging out and, I don’t know there was this awakening and it was like, oh my gosh - what you guys are saying is kind of terrible and I can’t just sit here and take it anymore. There was one argument where we were all in the car together - and the car is the worst place to have an argument - because you can’t escape – we were driving down a country road, so there really was no escape. And they were talking about scholarships and how scholarships should only go to natural born citizens. So if you’re an international athlete and you earned a sports scholarship, you should not get it, because you weren’t born in the U.S. And my argument was – what? Everything should be based on merit. Since when are we basing things off where people were born, the circumstances that they’re born into? I know people - a lot of people that were international students that I was really good friends with - they were a lot better at stuff than I was – I’m not going to deny them an award and an opportunity just because I was born here and they weren’t. That’s kind of terrible and so I questioned my parents. I don’t even know where this question came from - but they go on these racist rants all the time. It was the first time where I was like what?! And my dad (laughs) got so angry and he was like ‘this is dumbest thing you’ve said in your entire life’ he was angry that I was questioning him and bringing up examples of people we know and friends I’ve had over the years and just being like, ‘you think that that person shouldn’t get a scholarship just because they’re from Korea and not here - that seems terrible to me.’ That was the first time and it was very memorable, because my dad, specifically, got really mad. My grandma was in the car and she gets really upset about confrontation and she was like – ‘just drop it, you guys, just drop it’ and I was like, ‘no - I’m not letting this go - no. I’m tired of being quiet and I’m going to keep arguing because I don’t believe in this at all.’ J: How did your experiences of leaving Orange County and living outside of the ‘Orange Curtain’ compare to your experience of leaving the U.S. and travelling to Spain in terms of challenging your views and/or values? A: I left OC to basically go to a smaller bubble but with the same people - so I went to Point Loma Nazarene for my undergrad and – by the way it wasn’t my choice, it was my parent’s choice because I didn’t stand up for myself, I just kinda went and dealt with it. The vast majority of the students at that school are from OC so it was like going into the same environment - it was beautiful homes all around you and the ocean and beautiful people all around you who just have so much money to just throw around. So it was like going from one homogeneous situation to the next. The ideas that I was exposed to, there were a lot of professors that definitely challenged things - my peers, not so much, it was more from the education itself that was challenging so not the social situation at all. But leaving for Spain that was different - it wasn’t a mental thing it was like, I have to deal with the reality of being around people who are very different from me and that don’t speak the same language - and besides Mexico where pretty much people speak English because you’re a tourist and they want to serve you as best as they can. So it was the first situation where I wasn’t hearing English everywhere and it was so stressful...continues

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for the remainder of this interview and another conducted by JP Falstad and to download the full collection of 82 interviews

NOTES i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


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INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

three border ers

P R EFACE & THAN K YO U

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We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

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The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

ation s

with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

Fe a r of t he U nknown A u dre y B org e r

Audrey Borger raised in Southern California, yet never being fully aware of her neighbors, she is finally starting to learn the history and reality of her surroundings. She survived being the only student as an undergraduate female in engineering and is now studying architecture at Woodbury University in San Diego.

Border is anything which divides, whether physical or figurative, real or perceived.

Tackling Fear | Self-Interview Q: Where did you grow up?

conv

A: My entire childhood was spent living in Orange County, California. As of, the Real Housewives of Orange County, The Hills, Arrested Development and other TV shows that glorify or mock the micro-culture behind the border of the “Orange Curtain”. Q: What was your experience like, the first time you stepped outside your comfort zone?

A: I have traveled internationally with my family before, but since I was a child and my parents were taking care of all logistics I would not say that I was outside of my comfort zone. The first time that I truly felt adventurous was when my husband and I traveled to Spain in June, 2015. Even though we were traveling together I spent most of our first week there on my own or with a group of women that I had just met. The reason why we were separated into groups of men and women was because we were in an immigrant community of mostly Muslims in Terrassa, Spain and in their culture the men and women have very different roles. The men went on outdoor adventures to bond while I helped teach an English course and assisted some women in their small business making jewelry. For such a short trip, it was difficult to feel connected to the immigrant community because there was such a large language barrier. They came into Spain barely speaking any Spanish while I also came to Spain having very limited experience with the language. I did, however, observe and learn a lot from the Americans that live in that community full-time. Q: What did you learn from the Americans living there? A: The people that we were staying with had lived in Terrassa for about two years, but there were people in that group who had been a part of that community for ten years. I realized that to truly understand others it requires time and full commitment. The people who had been there for two years had developed good relationships with people who were in need, but they still didn’t fully understand the politics and history. Those who had lived there for ten years were able to see the full picture and anticipate the needs of those that were hurting the most. As someone who was there for only a week it made me realize that to truly live outside of my comfort zone I needed to make major changes in my life. I believe that any sort of travel is great, but lasting change happens when you apply these experiences and new values to your everyday life. Q: What did you learn about yourself while there? A: I did not expect to have as hard of a time adjusting as I did. Honestly, I was disappointed in myself because after almost a week I had a meltdown over the differences being too much for me. In Spain, there are no insect screens on the windows so mosquitoes attacked my husband and I the first night, it was too hot to sleep, but we couldn’t open our windows because of the mosquitoes, breakfast was almost entirely sugary pastries which make me sick in the morning, turkey sandwiches were nowhere to be found, I kept hitting my head on the water heater in the tiny bathroom, and I missed hearing English. They were such petty problems, yet after a week when compounded together they seemed like huge hurdles to overcome. To make me feel better, my husband walked to the nearest grocery store to find me turkey only to remember that turkey is a uniquely American animal. I felt so stupid for assuming that everyone values what we value, instead of remembering my history and realizing that these differences exist. Despite my moments of weakness, I did manage to explore Terrassa on my own. Terrassa has a very old section of town and a newer section of town which is where the immigrant community has settled. We were staying in the newer section and the walk to the old part of town took about 15 minutes. Having finished my responsibilities for that day and

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Born in Fallbrook, CA, raised in Orange County, CA and currently residing in San Diego, CA. Audrey is 24. This conversation took place at her home in San Diego, CA. all of the other women having other plans, I decided to go into town on my own. There were moments when I felt lost, but I learned to be ok with not being entirely comfortable and familiar with everything. Q: Were any assumptions about the culture in Spain confirmed or proven false? A: My husband and I chose not to tell our family about where we were staying in Spain because Terrassa is a known breeding ground for ISIS recruits. Here in the US, ISIS is the ultimate scary figure. Because of news coverage we immediately associate ISIS with men dressed head-to-toe in black and coming at us to cut our heads off. I was extremely surprised to find out that in Terrassa, ISIS recruits are likened to bad salesmen. They are the people that constantly badger you about joining their cause, but nobody really takes them seriously. Q: How did these experiences abroad affect your life in the U.S.? A: When my husband and I came back our daily lives largely remained unchanged, but my attitude was very different. News stories about refugees being denied entrance into Europe or the U.S. broke my heart because I had met with and spoken to people who had left their homes and everything they knew to start new lives. Those who I had met in Spain were no longer in war ravaged countries, but they came into a new country being looked down on, rejected, and denied jobs. Instead of being a statistic, for me, these people had names, stories, and goals. In addition to seeing global news differently, I started to see my local news differently. I realized that the old adage “if you work hard and dream big, then amazing things will happen to you” was mostly false because we deny many people the opportunity to improve their lives. I began to see that those who already have tend to have an easier time accumulating more because they are seen by the system as being trustworthy and responsible. As someone who has a lot for not working very hard for it I began to have a hard time justifying that difference. Q: Did this change of heart result in any real changes? A: Until recently, these changes were mostly just in my opinions. For the most part I continued on as an affluent, White, educated woman who spent time with other White, educated, and affluent people. Recently, however, my husband and I moved to a neighborhood that is very different from where we are used to. Every neighborhood that we have lived in before is near a university and mostly consists of White, educated, upper-middle class people. Where we live today is known as San Diego’s most culturally and ethnically diverse neighborhood because of its large immigrant population. People from all over the world settle in City Heights. Q: How has this move affected your daily life? A: To be honest, I still mostly do what I did before. I go to the same coffee shops, same chain grocery stores, and same restaurants, but after a few weeks of living amongst people that don’t look like me, have the same education, or speak the same language I am getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. The first few weeks my husband and I drove further to be able to shop at Trader Joe’s and Vons instead of shopping at the Hispanic market which is walking distance from our house. It wasn’t until recently that we decided to explore some of our local markets and restaurants. However, some of our best experiences so far have been with our immediate neighbors. When we had a problem with our water system our neighbor turned off our water for us. When we were in the front yard planting flowers our neighbor from across the street struck up a conversation with us despite our slight language barrier. A few people have even come to our front doors to introduce themselves and welcome us to the neighborhood. There is a liveliness and sense of community that I have rarely experienced in other places.


25 Q: How did your family feel about your move? A: For the most part, the reactions that have come from our family and friends have not been positive. While walking down our street my brother called it “the ghetto”, my grandmother told us to “get a security system right away” and our friend asked if we hear gunshots at night. Countless other small, derogatory comments have been made, not out of intention, but out of ignorance. I know the hearts of these people and I know that they do not intend to be hurtful or prejudiced, but that’s what they are being. I think that these pre-conceived notions are built out of fear of the unknown. ●

Overcoming Fear | Participant/Author to Participant/Author JP Falstad, born in California, raised in Las Vegas, NV, currently residing in San Diego, CA. JP is 28. This conversation took place at Moto Cafe, on September 27th, 2016 over coffee.

Audrey Borger: I want to know about your parents. How do they in their work, household roles, and attitudes follow or challenge traditional gender roles as they are perceived in the United States?

and through social media allow us to reach our audience and for our audience to find us.

JP Falstad: My family situation is really complicated, but basically I grew up with my biological mother until I was fifteen-years-old and then my best-friend’s family adopted me. I do think that my experiences with my biological mother especially influenced my ideas of gender. My mom was all about appearances and aesthetics so for her there were things that women should do in order to get a husband and create a family. She really heavily relied on appearance to entice people. As a young child I was tall and well-developed and attractive so she put this idea in my head that I should be a model and make her a lot of money. Those ideas of aesthetics and how I could profit from them and how she thought that my feminine qualities, which I had inherited from her, were going to be profitable.

A: Do you know what the male to female ratio is at Woodbury University?

A: Did she have a background in modeling or was she projecting an unfulfilled dream onto you?

J: They do tend to segregate themselves a little bit. I don’t know if it’s because they think there is more common interest there. I’m usually wherever I am, but it does seem like the girls section themselves off from the guys. I noticed that with our current studio class because there are two different professors and we can choose which side to go to. The overwhelming majority of girls went to Mickey’s studio while the rest of the students went to Casey’s. I don’t know why that is – I can speculate – but I don’t know why that happened. It may have to do more with the fact that Mickey is more involved with the arts and interiors while Casey is more about, for instance, window assembly.

J: I think she was projecting her dream onto me, for sure. She had done a couple of small photo shoots for friends. That was her idea of how you gain the system; you’re using this thing that you have to your advantage. For her, specifically, it was all about the male/female dynamic. However, I totally rebelled when she put me into fancy dresses and lace. I rebelled from all of that. A: Did your adopted family have a different approach? What was their dynamic? J: For sure a different dynamic. I felt more cared about with my adopted family because it wasn’t about what I could bring to the family, but rather about support and about doing whatever I wanted to do. There was our mom, Donna and she had a husband, but it wasn’t super traditional in terms of provision. Our mom did the bulk of the work for the family. He was the shopper and the aesthetics person. In a way, it was the inverse of the stereotypical dynamic. A: How do you think your parents’ actions have shaped your ideas regarding gender roles? J: With my adopted family there was less expectation on me to perform in a certain way. When I was young and with my biological mom I was literally performing a role because it was expected of me. While with my mom, Donna, it was more “just do what you want and don’t worry about other peoples’ expectations”. It was less about gender roles and more about being who you want to be and stop worrying about what other people and think about what you need to be. A: Do you think there are any bases for the societal expectations between the genders? J: I don’t think so, in fact, those differences are a part of the social construct. I spent a month in India after I graduated from high school and the relationship dynamics there are very different than they are here. It is very common for the females to slap the guys on their shoulders and their backs of the head to get on them. While when there is conflict between the guys they yell at each other and chest bump. Not to say that that’s the case for everybody, but that was my experience and how it was explained to me by the locals. I don’t think there is any real world logic to our expectations, but I don’t know where those particular ideas came from. Did these things happen and then we documented them and applied them to ourselves or were they portrayed in the media and it influenced the way people react? I read recently about a research project where they wanted to know how movies affect people’s actions. They found that, in terms of grieving, people emulated in real life the type of grieving that was portrayed in the movie. A: Can you think of any positive examples in the media? J: I think the music industry can expose people to a variety of ideas. There is popular culture, which reaches a broad audience and is full of stereotypes, but there are people who try to tell different stories and who have more truth to them. For example, Teagan and Sara are twin sisters from Canada and are both gay and by sharing their stories with the world through their music they have helped people who can relate to them. There are moments where honesty happens in the media, but it’s not prevalent. The communities that we create on the Internet

JP: I never really thought about it in terms of a ratio, but I certainly noticed an absence of females. There have been quite a few female professors who teach lecture series, but they are not a part of the design studios. I have never had a female professor lead a design studio. Having Catherine as the director of the program is nice because she is a leadership position, but she is a rare example. A: In the studio setting, do the females band together or is it mixed?

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A: Do you have any role models that are working to challenge traditional assumptions about gender? J: I’ve had a lot of role models but they didn’t necessarily challenge gender roles or sexuality. There are a couple of YouTube channels, unfortunately I can’t remember their names right now, but they will define things for people. Just putting information out there is really good, but those people don’t necessarily identify as not homosexual, or not heterosexual, or not female or not male. They are just making that information available and for me that is almost more desirable, that you would have people who identify with traditional gender/sexuality roles but they’re trying to educate themselves and other people. Before that, I had to take a gender and sexuality class in community college and it ended up being the best class ever and was really eye-opening and fantastic. It’s a little sad that I had to wait until I was at the college level of my education to be presented with these ideas. I thought “Why wasn’t this stuff available to me when I was five-years old?”. You wouldn’t even have to teach a course specifically for it, just make the information available. A: Have you made any changes in your own life that challenge traditional ideas about gender? J: Yeah, definitely. My haircut was something I had wanted to do for a long time and after a long trip to Sweden when I came back I decided to cut it. In a way, I was justifying the decision to myself by saying it was a practical thing when really I just wanted to have short hair and I don’t care if people have an opinion about it. I don’t want to have a conversation with people about the why and just want them to accept it the way it is. I also decided to stop wearing bras. At one point in my life, I liked the idea of wearing a bra because it meant that I was growing up, but then I wore one and hated it. I’ve sort of experimented at various times with not wearing a bra, but people will zero-in on that instantly. They are staring at my chest and I’m like “yes, I’m not wearing a bra, but let’s not point it out or talk about it”. For me it’s about comfort. Bras restrict blood flow and cause cramps in my side and people have told me that I need a proper fitting, but I don’t buy it. I think they’re designed to strangle the hell out of you. Bras are a relatively recent invention and there are still cultures that don’t wear them. It’s another social construct. When I was in Sweden I just walked out of the house one day without a bra on and I kept curling forward thinking that someone might notice, but I realized that nobody noticed. I started doing it all the time because I was so comfortable; I started to bring my shoulders back more and felt more confident in my body. When I came back to San Diego I was ready to defend my decision of going bra-less. There have been looks out of the corner of people’s eyes and I know that my mom is disappointed, but I’m not giving up on it because it’s really important to me. I don’t like to draw attention to myself and this draws attention, but I have to weigh the pros and cons and I have to be comfortable with my body and I can’t have this thing strangling me constantly. I’m tired of being told that it’s unacceptable to not wear them. I can’t have someone push his or her view on me anymore. ●

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for this remainder and another conducted by Audrey Borger and to download the full collection of 82 interviews

NOTES

i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


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INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

P R EFACE & THAN K YO U We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

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The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

three border ers

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conv

ation s

with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

Border and Borderlands L u i s E spinoza

Luis A. Espinoza born in Santiago Papasquiaro Dgo. Mexico. At age 15 he moved to San Marcos Ca. to attend high school and learn English. In 2010 He graduated from Mission Hills High School from 2010 to 2014. He studies in Palomar College and graduated with an Associated Degree in Architecture and an Associates in Science in Architectural Drafting. He is currently working on obtaining his BArch Degree at Woodbury University in San Diego Ca. His expected graduation year is 2017.

Border is something that prevents people from achieving their goals or their happiness.

The Other Side | Self-Interview

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Luis Espinoza was born and raised in Northern Mexico, moved to the United Stated when he was 16 years old to attend High School. He has been a resident of San Diego city since 2008 and is currently working in obtaining his bachelor’s Degree in Architecture.

Q: How would you define the word “border”?

to the borderlands?

A: A border can be defined as both a beginning and an end. At least that is the way I see borders. Borders are human constructions used to demark where a country ends and the other begins. It is a place where families separate and culture is different in either side of the border, each side has influences from both countries but it is identifiable with none of them. My definition of border is hugely influenced by the location of the city in which I live which is the border between Mexico and the U.S.

A: When I first visited the border my perspective of borders changed completely. Borderlands (cities or places close to the international border) resident’s lives can change in an eye blink. Every day is a different story for them. They are always paying attention to the current prices of the dollar and most them have a huge flexibility of adaptation to change. While goods and capital are encouraged to travel across national borders, people and politics are encouraged to remain on respective sides. Due to globalization, Tijuana must keep up with the necessities of other countries in order to maintain production and earn a salary, Tijuana was for several years the biggest plasma television producer city in the world. most of this TV’s are exported to other countries and most of the times people that make TV’s cannot afford to buy one for themselves.

Q: What do you think is the purpose of borders? A: The purpose of borders is to control the flow of human migration and products between one country to the other. In other words, their goal is to quantify and identify everything that leave or enter the country. Is like a selective filter when they get to choose what do they want in the country. Q: You have a very specific definition of borders, been said that, how was your first experience in the border of San Diego-Tijuana? A: I was born in the northern state of Durango in Mexico. I spent my childhood and part of my teen years there. At the age of fifteen I moved to San Diego. When I first visited this border region I was amazed of the speed of life of the region. People’s lives change in an eye blink and city is always changing but population is used to the speed of life in this region and they hardly notice it. Another interesting fact about Tijuana specifically is the number of deportees that it receives; eventually most them become homeless causing a huge problem to the city, that is something that amazed me because even though this is not a merely Tijuana problem, it is evident that that problem is very big in Tijuana. Q: Since you have experienced living in both countries, how does each side of the border refers to the other? A: People from both sides of the border have stereotyped each other with wrong ideas about culture, economics and practices. As I learned in a past Border studies class, this border is considered a laboratory because it suffers the immediate impact of what happens from decisions made far away either in Washington DC or Mexico City increasing the speed of things. Most of the times these decisions do not have anything to do with this region but immediately affect the more than two million people living in Tijuana plus many others thousands in this side of the border. When I lived in Mexico I remember watching the news and listening to politics give their speeches but their policies never actually had an effect in anybody lifestyles, it was as if they were just speaking about another country. Q: Do you consider that cities close to border have a different culture than the rest of Mexico and/or the U.S.? A: Yes, I believe that being right at the border changes completely the culture of people because those cities are like heterotopias which are not identifiable with either country because they receive direct influence from both. Heterotopias are places such as airports that do not belong to a city specifically but is where people go to travel just like the reflex ion of a mirror, it is real but does not occupy a physical place on earth, is almost an unreal space that in a way it does not have to make sense but exists. Q: What would be one of the most interesting things that you found out when you came to live

Q: Do you believe that sharing a border with another country brings social problems to either city? what are those problems? A: Tijuana as the busiest border in Mexico receives many of the deportees from the U.S., many of them are not even Mexican citizens but still are left just across the border. This practice of the United States Custom Immigration Agency is creating a very deep problem in Tijuana. It is easier and cheaper perhaps to deport criminals that are illegally in the country that convict them and make the United States government pay for it. What for United States is a cheap solution for the border city of Tijuana is an expensive problem. The great majority of these deportees arrive to Tijuana in a homeless situation, without any form of ID or money. They have to ask for money on the streets. Many of them are criminals and return to commit crimes around the city and the use of drugs become a habit among them. I have seen personally this problem around the border where deportees gather to ask for money to people waiting to cross back to the U.S. It is very sad to see this people in a homeless situation. I have spoken with a couple of them and they agree that it is very hard for them to overcome their homeless situation because the government of Tijuana does not have programs to help them find a stable job. Q: What are the most common stereotypes that people associate with crossing the border? A: People among both sides of the border have stereotyped border residents as dangerous which is a complete false idea. It is true that Tijuana has a big population of homeless but it also has very nice and kind people just as any other city. People from San Diego often believe that Tijuanenses are criminals or drug dealers or bad people just because they believe what the news on the TV say. News in America often state that Mexico is a super violent country and that there are many kills every day. Although news are true they often do not realize that those murders number are gathered from the entire country with over 120 million people and not just the city of Tijuana. This is where stereotypes begin and Tijuanenses because of their proximity to the border and frequency of crossing to the U.S. are often associated with being bad persons, drug dealers or violent. Personally I disagree with all the stereotypes associated with people from the other side of the border; in my personal experience, I have meet wonderful people in both sides of the border and I can say that we should not believe everything that the news say because that is how we stereotype people what we don’t even know. Q: How often do you visit the other side of the border and what is the most frustrating thing about it? A: I cross at least twice a month, reasons varies, sometimes my family and I drive down to Mexico to eat authentic Mexican food, sometimes I go to visit friends and family. I will say the most frustrating thing about crossing the border is the long lines to come back to the U.S. I have been in line for as much as 4 hours but this can also be a good thing because you learn to


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organize your time better. It is a good practice to not try to cross early on weekends so you plan your time accordingly in order to maximize you stay on Tijuana and spend the lees amount of time of the border. Even if that is not the case, the line is not as boring as you might think, there is a lot of people and situations that you will never encounter otherwise. For example, people with original and funny ads selling stuff on the border. Q: Do you believe that everyone should visit Tijuana in order to fight ignorance towards the “other side”? A: I would encourage San Diego residents to visit Tijuana at least once in their lifetime. It is not as dangerous as the TV says it is, in fact it is a great city that has a lot to offer. Food is great, people is nice and it’s cheaper than San Diego. In order to fully understand the culture of San Diego, one needs to visit its sister city Tijuana because parts of the culture in this region comes from Tijuana therefore I will say to get out of your comfort zone and visit Mexico. Only if more people visit Mexico we could eventually fight ignorance and stereotypes such as that all people there are drug dealers or criminals. ●

Transborderism | Participant/Author to Participant/Author Marcelle Rico (24) is a Transborder student born and raised in Tijuana Mexico, currently Studies Architecture In San Diego Ca. Her family lives in Tijuana and she crosses the border at least three times a week. Her lifestyle is not very uncommon in this area of the world. This interview explores the lifestyle of a Transborder Student from their own perspective. This interview was conducted at Woodbury University on 09/28/2016.

Luis Espinoza: Describe a normal day crossing the border, are there any tricks? Marcelle Rico: I try to avoid crossing as much as I can, but I do have a social and family life in Tijuana so I cross normally during the weekend. I check for crossing wait times, there are several websites and a Facebook page where you can check how long the wait will be. I check it constantly and give myself enough time to cross and be in San Diego when I need to be. You can also check to see if the lines are shorter in San Ysidro or Otay which are the two border crossings in Tijuana.

jobs too, because there are a lot of factory jobs available and not enough people wanting to do those jobs. Tijuana has always been a city of migrants, it kindly takes them in, it is just a matter of time that people from those countries will realize this. L: How do you think life will be for you if the border suddenly disappeared? M: I think both countries would definitely mix. I think that mix has already started happening. I see people from the U.S. buying houses in Mexico because they can’t afford to buy a house in San Diego. We still see thousands of people trying to cross to the U.S. illegally each year. The only real issue is the border itself. If there was no border, I think it would be more desirable for Americans to come to Mexico. I think there is a lot of demand for things that you can find in Mexico such as cheaper living conditions, jobs, produce, water, etc. I think these things would be taken advantage of and there would be a lot more construction and rehabilitation in Mexico. Kind of what happened in San Miguel Allende which is now a town populated with U.S. citizens and people from all over the world, because Americans brought in tourist businesses that attract visitors.

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L: What are the most common questions that you are asked when people find out that you are a transborder student?

M: When I used to cross the border everyday people asked me why I did it, and why didn’t I just go to school in Tijuana. My mom thought crossing and commuting to school was worth it because of the education I would receive and because of the future that would open up because of it. Many people can’t believe that there are transborder students that cross every day just to come to school or work. They think it is crazy to cross the border just to attend school.

L: Can you tell me stories of times when you felt that you didn’t fit with people from either Mexico or The U.S. due to you transborder culture?

L: Could you describe advantages that you see in one country over the other?

M: The biggest culture change for me was going to high school in the U.S. I had come from a middle school in Tijuana where I knew everyone and I lived down the street from it. Having to commute to school was a change but not knowing anybody and having to speak English was a challenge. People in high school had very divisive cliques. Naturally, I hung out with people that resembled my own culture at first. But I found out that I could relate a lot more to a different group. Mexicans in the U.S. were totally different than in Mexico, they had adopted American culture more than their parent‘s or grandparent’s culture. The group that became my group of friends was mostly White but with some mixed races. They were more like me because of the things they liked to do. After that, I became a little bit separated from my friends in Tijuana. There were a lot of things that they were going through that I could not relate to. Even now, there are things that separate me from them, they think I am a little bit “Americanized” but it doesn’t bother me or affect my friendships on either side of the border. I think I have always been a little bit of a mix of both cultures, because I’ve taken advantage of the fact that I live in the border.

M: I think there are a lot of advantages to each country and they are kind of hard to describe in a general sense. I think people should explore these cultures more. For instance, you feel more free when you are in Mexico, even though there are as much rules as there in the states. There is a general sense of freedom and not too many restrictions towards what you can and can’t do. Architecturally speaking for example, their building policies and regulation allow you to explore more materials and even the type of building. I also think that is crucial, and it is an obvious benefit that comes from living in the border, that you can easily learn another language either Spanish or English respectively. While on the other hand The U.S. is a first world country and there are more well-paying jobs and the education is better. In conclusion both countries have advantages and disadvantages that is why we should encourage people to visit one another.

L: When you hear the word “border” is there any other meaning that you attach to that word other than the actual Mexico-USA physical border?

M: I think it is not so much the border physically that produces an effect on the people from Tijuana. Unless their relatives crossed the border and they can only see each other through the fence when allowed by border patrol, the border is merely a fence that separates two cultures and two different governments. Jobs, goods and people cross the border every day. People from Tijuana see the effect of the border in their lives every single day. The cost of products, their use of the dollar in the city, the fact that they cross the border just to go shopping, the jobs that are being created in Tijuana because of factories leaving the U.S. They are all effects from the border. I think people from San Diego acknowledge the border but do not bother to cross it that much. Maybe the benefits that they receive from being next to Mexico and them being an ally is not as apparent as the other way around, that is why when a president says he wants to build a wall to separate themselves from Mexico, people cheer him on and don’t realize what effect that wall would have in their lives.

M: Border can be a non-physical boundary. It is something that exists only in our minds and our social constructs. I think that by challenging the actual Mexican-American border, I have learned that there are other types of borders that we can challenge in our daily lives. One that is important for me is to constantly challenge what women can do, to defend our rights and constantly remind people that we deserve equal treatment than men. The most common interpretation of this is in the workforce, but there is so much that needs to be changed. In other instances of daily lives, such as women being objectified, reduced to only their appearance and not being given credit or being known for their work. L: Can you talk about the most interesting experience that you have had while crossing the border lately?

M: There is something unique happening at the border at this moment. People from Haiti and different places in Africa are fleeing to Tijuana to seek refuge in the U.S. They are escaping violence in their countries. They have estimated that about 500 people have come to seek refuge since May this year. This is more than anyone has ever seen. You can see the families when you cross the border walking. They are looking for a better life in the U.S, which is not something new, given that people from all over the world have come pursuing the “American Dream” However, Tijuana is the one that is giving them refuge and will probably give them

L: What effect do you think border has on people from Tijuana? How about people from San Diego?

L: What are some recommendations for people that want to visit Tijuana?

M: I think before GPS, I would have recommended to travel with someone who knows Tijuana, because it can be tricky to move around, but now I’ve seen people cross and get to places really easily. So I would just say to check out some lists of restaurants and places that they would want to visit and to definitely come. Going to El Cecut is important and also visiting El Malecon in Playas de Tijuana. The nightlife is also fun. I would just warn people to use their common sense like they would in any other city. Tijuana is not as dangerous as it seems on TV. I would definitely recommend people to come and experience some great restaurants, bars, museums and an overall great culture. ●

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for another interview conducted by Luis Espinoza and to download the full collection of 82 interviews

DRAW YOUR THOUGHTS

i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


28

INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

border three

P R EFACE & THAN K YO U

conversations

36

We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

28

The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

B o rde r Id e nt it ie s M a rcelle R ico

Marcelle Rico is a first generation American, born in San Diego, CA and raised in Tijuana, MX. She has experienced the Mexican-American border from a very early stage in her life. She currently resides in San Diego, where she is studying Architecture at Woodbury University. She is constantly faced with the notion of border and how we form our lives around it. She enjoys living in both Tijuana and San Diego, and has embraced her transnational identity using it to her advantage.

Border is something the intends to divide or separate. A limit or extent which is not necessarily unattainable.

Transnational Identity | Self-Interview

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Marcelle Rico, born in San Diego and raised in Tijuana. She moved to San Diego in her sophomore year of high school, and has been studying in San Diego ever since. She is currently in her 4th year of Architecture.

Q: Who’s decision was it to come to the U.S. and when did it happen?

other culture-wise?

A: My family is actually from Tijuana. It is one of the few families that is originally from TJ. So they had experienced the border from a very early age. My grandmother used to live in Mexicali and she would go to school in the U.S. when the border was almost non-existent. She would take her bike to school and then go back home to Mexico afterwards. My dad actually went to college in San Diego, he went to SDSU and he would cross the border every day. His parents had to pay for the full tuition since he is not an American. My mom decided that learning English in Tijuana was not good enough, and in 2nd grade she enrolled me in a school in San Diego. We would cross the border every day, and from then on, my life would be on either side of the border. She also decided that education and opportunities for people who study in the U.S. were better than for people who studied in Mexico, so it was decided that I should come study in the U.S.

A: There is definitely a crossover of culture between the two cities. In a way, yes, it is very different to be from Mexico than to be from the U.S. Mexican culture is very strong and traditional. But to be Mexican on either side of the border has its differences too. There are people that were born in the U.S. whose parents are Mexican, but have never crossed the border to Mexico. Mexican culture is carried over through generations, but growing up in Mexico is a whole different story. The people that were taught about Mexican culture in the U.S. have no real experiences about what it is like to be Mexican, they only know what their parents or grandparents have told them. To have an understanding of these experiences they have to be in the country and see it for themselves, even if it is just visiting Tijuana. I have known some people like that. They have sort of a mix of cultures, and some of them have a culture that is just plain American, but you can tell that their ethnicity is Mexican.

Q: How was it decided to stay in the U.S. and stop crossing the US/MX border every day?

Q: How does it compare to be from the border city than to be from a different place in Mexico?

A: When I was in my junior year of high school, my family stopped having the Sentri Pass, which is a special type of traveler card that allows you to cross the border faster. The regular wait times were horrible; it would take us up to 3 or 4 hours to cross just to go to school. My grandma and aunt were already living in San Diego, so I stayed with them so that I could continue going to school. Now there is something called Ready Lane , that is separate from Sentri but is still better than the regular lines.

A: It is very different to be from Tijuana than to be from another city (not in the border) in Mexico. The rest of the country views us very differently, because we adopt certain characteristics from the U.S. that the rest of the country does not. For example we use words in English in our Spanish that other people wouldn’t, we watch movies and TV in English instead of the Spanish translation, we cross the border regularly to do our shopping and groceries, and stuff like that. The way of life is definitely different for us. Cities closer to the center of Mexico or to the southernmost edge of Mexico are more traditional. Since Tijuana is a relatively new city, being only a hundred years old, its culture and tradition is not deeply rooted like other cities in Mexico. There are virtually no historic buildings and up until the last decade there was little art and customs that you see in older historic Mexican cities, for example San Miguel Allende, which is where the Mexican Independence started, or Oaxaca which is one of the richest places in Mexican cultural tradition, from folk dance, music, artisan crafts, food, etc.

Q: How often do you cross the US/MX border and for what reason? A: Normally I cross the border 2 times per week, depending on how busy my life gets and how much work I have to do in San Diego. Typically I go to Tijuana for leisure, so if I don’t have a lot of free time to spend, I stay in San Diego for longer amounts of time. Q: Have you overcome the frustration of waiting time to cross the border? A: Probably not, but I have to say that it has become a lot easier. I don’t get frustrated as much as I did before, because I am not crossing every single day. When I do cross, it is because I want to, so I don’t feel bad about having to do it. If I have to go to work or to school that day, I make sure I give myself a lot of time so that I’m not late. I think the frustration would come out of not giving myself enough time to be there on time, and not knowing how much time I would spend waiting in line. Being late to places is something that bothers me very much. It doesn’t happen to me anymore because I plan my crossing times better now. On average it takes me anywhere from 1-3 hours so cross, 3 is the extreme and only happens if there is a holiday. To allow myself enough time to be where I need to be, I plan a 3-hour gap to cross the border. Q: How do people react when they learn that you are from Tijuana? A: It think people from San Diego are very aware of the border and probably know people who cross it regularly. People from different parts of the country (Mexico and the U.S.) and from different parts of the world have a more negative connotation for Tijuana. Because of the drug-related crimes and the illegal immigrants, Tijuana has been viewed very negatively for a long time. I think the opinion of Tijuana is starting to shift, and I am happy to be a part of a generation that is going to improve Tijuana and change the world’s view of it. Q: Since your entire life you have been exposed to both sides of the border, do you consider the borderlands to have a single culture or you believe that each side is very independent from each

Q: Do you believe that San Diegans have the same idea of border being a physical barrier between the U.S. and Mexico such as people from Tijuana do? A: The U.S. has constructed a border to keep people from crossing over. People from Tijuana see the border, but they also see the opportunities that are across from it. People who are from Tijuana use the border to buy American products. People that cross the border illegally, come from other parts of Mexico and are looking for a change of life. People in Tijuana go through the process of getting their passport so that they can enjoy the luxury of crossing to the U.S. People in the U.S. however, do not care to do this. They don’t see it as a luxury because they think they have everything they need in their own country. Only people who want to travel and explore go to Mexico. I think the idea of the border is about to change. With president-elect Donald Trump placing a lot of importance on the border and who crosses it, and the Mexican peso being devalued, I think Mexico is about to realize that they have their own richness in their country and do not need to go elsewhere and buy foreign products. Mexicans have everything they need without the need to go to the U.S. Q: With crossing the border being such a huge part of your life - what do you think of the fact that there’s a lot of people who choose not to do so. There are people who have lived in San Diego their entire lives and haven’t been 20 minutes across the border. What sort of experiences do you think they’re missing out on? A: I think they are definitely missing out on some unique experiences. People in San Diego should take advantage of the fact that it is so easy to go to Mexico, to get out of their comfort zone and explore a city in a different country. Mexico welcomes people with arms open, there


29

is virtually no wait time and no inspection to cross to Mexico. Tijuana can be considered a tourist attraction, for its cuisine, art, amongst other things. It should be a very well-known area for San Diego natives, and people should take advantage of the proximity of the two cities as I do. They are missing out on really great dining experiences, on meeting people that are from the border region, the wine country in Ensenada is beautiful and some of the best wine in the world is made here. Not to mention, going all the way and doing a road trip down the coast of Baja California. They are missing out on an adventure that is eye-opening and very rewarding. Right now it is a great time to go to Tijuana. It has changed drastically over the last years. There is fewer crime, the streets are cleaner and there is a great presence of art and cuisine. From experience, I can say that some of the best restaurants in the country are in Tijuana; some critics have even said one is the best in the world. ●

Physical Barriers/National Identity | Participant/Author to Participant/Author Luis Espinoza was born in Durango, Mexico. He is from a town called Santiago Papasquiaro. When he was 15 years old, he and his family moved to San Diego, California and has lived there ever since. He is in his 5th year of architecture at Woodbury University. This conversation took place at Woodbury University where both Luis and the interviewer go to school.

Marcelle Rico: How would you describe the culture that exists in the border region? Luis Espinoza: That is a very interesting question, I believe that each side of the border has its own culture. Tijuana is extremely different culture to the rest of Mexico, I see their culture as an unusual mixture of Americanized Mexican traditions but at the same time it presents itself as a true part of Mexico. I have been in many cities neighboring with the U.S. and their vibe is completely different to the one Tijuana has. Nogales, San Luis, Agua Prieta, Cd Juarez etc. all those cities are different to Tijuana even though they also share a border with United States. On the other hand, San Diego’s culture is not similar to Tijuana but also neither to the rest of Southern California. There are a lot of people from Tijuana that have moved to San Diego and that is something that will decrease the level of asymmetry among both cities. I would describe the culture of this border region as “unique” cities dependent from each other in several aspects, For example maquiladoras give employment to people on the Mexico side, on the other hand there are many shoppers that cross the border to buy in San Diego. From what I’ve seen I believe that Mexican tourists are the ones that spend the most money in stores about the border. M: Is there anything about Tijuana that stands out to you? L: Yes, in fact there are many things that stand out in Tijuana. Firstly, the unique architectural and engineering techniques adopted among population to build their houses. They have learned to use recycled materials such as tires used as footings and cardboard and wood as walls. Such style is uniquely distinctive that the conceptual artists Marco Ramirez ERRE created “Century 21” a piece on the courtyard of the CECUT museum in order to criticize city policies. The artworks consisted in a full scale house using recycled materials just as the ones on Tijuana’s outskirts. Another thing that stands out from Tijuana is its night life. It is not unusual to see young people at bars and having fun. I will say Tijuana invites to have fun and enjoy the city. Also on the same category of bars and restaurants there is Tijuana’s great food, The Baja-med style is something that is very distinctive from this city.

universities in San Diego to teach at their schools, bringing students up to international level of education. NAFTA is another mutual bilateral benefit not only for the country but for the borderlands. San Diego and Tijuana both import goods without taxes thanks to this agreement. Furthermore, I believe that both cities benefit directly from each other’s tourism. People from San Diego visit Tijuana for weekends and Tijuanenses visit San Diego to shop, therefore there is a mutual benefit for both cities as well. M: Do you think your life improved when you moved to the U.S.? L: Well, it is hard to compare both because the cultures are very different. I will say my life is not necessarily better now in the U.S. but certainly I have more freedom here. It may seem like a juxtaposition to argue that people are more free in one place than other been both democratic republics but actually I feel more freedom in the U.S. than I did back in my home town, let me explain more. Back in 2008 when I moved to the U.S. my home town became very dangerous. It became a very violent city, there where shootings every day and several members of my family were kidnapped. One thing triggered the other and suddenly my family and I found ourselves bunkered in our own homes. One day we found our people following our cars and taking pictures of our house so we finally decided to leave the city and move to a safer one and so we ended up in San Diego. I will say freedom wise and in the sense of security, my life is better here being in the U.S. M: What are some things that you would change about the place you grew up in?

29

M: What about San Diego? What were your first impressions of this country when you moved to San Diego?

L: Definitely the first impressions about this country and San Diego specifically was the perceivable order of the city. By this I mean the city grid, the highways, everything is organized and well planned. At the beginning I found it boring but after a while I began to like it and easily got used to it. Infrastructure in San Diego is also something that keeps fascinating me, for example, freeway bridges and landscape around the road are very pretty. I would say scenic in comparison to cities like Los Angeles or Phoenix.

M: What are some cultural differences between people from San Diego and people from Tijuana? L: I will answer this question based on people that I know. What stands out the most is the pride that Tijuanenses feel for their city, everyone from Tijuana feels extreme pride to be from this city. I also believe that people from Tijuana are very easy going and like challenges, I attribute this to the fact that many of them were raised in a way that crossing the border daily was a normal phenomenon, the huge interaction that they were exposed to through their entire life makes them be friendly and doesn’t give room for shyness. Many of my friends born in Tijuana share those characteristics which makes me believe that that is part of their culture, their level of exposure since childhood is different from any other city in the world and that is what makes Tijuana’s culture special. People from San Diego are also easy going but they do not have such a strong pride for their city as Tijuanenses do. M: How do you think these two cities benefit from being next to each other?

L: There are many benefits because of the closeness of the two cities. Tijuana benefits from San Diego in education and technology. Many schools in Tijuana hire people from

L: Going back to the last question the only thing I will change if I could, is to make the city safer. I don’t know if I will ever move back to my hometown because I consider myself a San Diegan now but I will really like to see my hometown as a safer city. M: What do you think the U.S. can learn from a country like Mexico? L: I believe that the U.S. could learn from Mexico to modify their policies in order to attract foreign investments. There has been a boom in foreign investment in Mexico in the last years which is causing better opportunities for young people especially in the technological sector. This economic boom is triggering investments in infrastructure, not that the United States needs it but it is just my opinion. M: How do you feel about manufacturing jobs moving from the U.S. to Mexico? L: I have mixed feeling about this question. For the most part it affects people who works at these manufacturing companies by leaving them without jobs but it seems that this phenomenon pushes people to find better more stable jobs that at the end becomes a better job opportunity. On the other hand, many of those manufacturing companies that move to Mexico bring jobs which is good, the downside of it is that the majority of these companies pay minimum wage and abuse workers in order to increase profits. This is a very sensitive and controversial topic. In my own personal opinion, I believe that there needs to be enforcement against manufacturing companies that move to Mexico, there needs to be regulation to pay fair salaries and better work opportunities for Mexican workers, otherwise they should stay in the U.S. and obey their laws. M: What do you think about Trump’s campaign to isolate the U.S. from Mexico ? L: From what I’ve seen, Donald Trump does not know anything about economics or politics. His campaign is full of inconsistencies. If he was to isolate Mexico from the U.S. many economic problems will arise. The gas price will increase since the U.S. buys a very high percentage of oil from Mexico among many other goods that are necessary for successful economic progress of both nations. I believe his campaign is inspired on fear for immigrants rather than on research and reason therefore it will be a disaster if he actually was to enforce his campaign promises. ●

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for another interview conducted by Marcelle Rico and to download the full collection of 82 interviews

NOTES

i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


30

INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

three border ers

P REFACE & THAN K YO U

36

We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

30

The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

conv

ation s

with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

B re a k i n g t he C od e A m y K it t isoros

Amy Kittisoros is first generation American who is currently a graduate studying Architecture at Woodbury University San Diego. She studied Political Science and International Relations in her undergraduate studies, and has been interested in the politics of different cultures in America. Amy enjoys working on projects that bring to light how different backgrounds contribute to different experiences and lifestyles, as well as how individuals of different backgrounds interact.

Border is an obstacle to overcome in terms of communication, perspective, culture, socio-economics.

DOTS & DASHES | Self-Interview

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Amy Kittisoros, born and raised in Las Vegas, NV. Currently residing in San Diego, CA. She is 25 years old. This interview was written on a sunny day in a coffee shop in North Park.

Q: Have there been situations where language has created a barrier between you and others?

we just needed a way to communicate with one another.

A: When I was really young, the first language I learned was Thai. I was a bilingual kid, but my brother had some problems differentiating English and Thai. He had a lot of ear infections as a baby, and it really affected his hearing. We were told to solely speak English to him when he started school. I quickly lost Thai, not just being able to speak the language, but also my cultural ties and how I was able to connect to my family. I remember one summer, we were visiting my aunt and uncle’s house in Bangkok and all the adults were sitting in the living room. I don’t remember much about what they were saying - I was dying from the extreme heat, it was so hot that summer and I wasn’t used to the humidity - but I do remember one line from my aunt to my mom. “Why don’t your kids speak Thai? It’s such a shame that they can’t be real Thai people!” Since that visit, I was always aware that our family - my aunts, uncles and cousins - were judging my brother and I because we were not able to connect with them. I can still understand a lot of Thai, but being able to talk to my family is still a great struggle to overcome. There used to be times that I was unable to connect with people because I couldn’t speak English, but now there is another barrier to overcome.

Q: Do you believe that groups separating themselves in a social setting is a social construct that we have ourselves created?

Q: How do you think today’s technology will help people from different countries and cultures communicate with one another? Has it helped you? A: Technology can be a great tool to help people from all backgrounds communicate with one another. With tools like Google Translate or language programs, we are able to slowly learn each other’s language and communicate, even if it is in a very simple manner. Google Translate was very helpful in times of need, but of course, it’s not always the best translation. Technology helps to quickly translate basic phrases of another language to help get around. It’s a gesture of trying, and no one can fault you for trying. After my wedding, I had to send a bunch of thank you cards to my family in Thailand. Google Translate (and my mom) helped me to translate and write these cards in Thai. I remember a phone call with my mom where she told me that my family was so happy to get these cards and that they were so surprised that it was in Thai! They really loved it and it just goes to show that a little bit of effort goes a long way. Q: Is it possible that, based on a person’s perspective and experience, they tend to group themselves where they find comfort? Is what we find comfort in a place that forms differences? A: I think that we as humans are creatures of comfort and habit. I think we look for the easiest path to connection and that so happens to be with what we know best. Since communication and language is the biggest (and sometimes hardest) barrier to cross, we try to do what is simplest. The relationship of language and communication is a close knit one. Language is a tool for communication, and without language, communication can be very difficult. But, in the end, verbal language may not be a useful tool for us, but we are then able to use a physical language to “speak” to one another. I remember when my family moved to a new neighborhood, all the kids would come over to our house and ask if we could play outside. But since I was still young and didn’t know much English, they had to sign for me to come play. For the first few weeks I refused because I didn’t know these kids and I liked playing inside our new home. But one day, I decided to step outside my comfort zone and go outside and play. It was that moment that I realized that we weren’t that different from one another,

A: In a way, separation of groups is a social construct, very much like how boundaries are a social construct. It is not a physical thing that comes between groups of people; it’s a mental idea that we pass onto one another. It is something that we see everyday. At school, we group ourselves into different groups, whether it be based on our year or, what is most common, based on our culture. At school, I have noticed that there is a tendency to stick with people that we know can speak our language or people from the same culture as ourselves. The idea of boundaries is not something that is created by nature, but something that we have created. Languages are also a social construct. Languages were created as a form of communication between people in a region. This social construct is something that has since separated people into groups of their own people. For the longest time, language has been used as a barrier that we must overcome in terms of communication, but with the technology of today, we are able to bridge the gap a little. Q: Have you noticed a language border on a domestic level (like within the U.S.)? Is it something that is faced every day? A: I think that there is, on some level, a language border here within the U.S. I don’t just mean with different cultures here in the U.S. (we are a melting pot, after all), but rather I mean just a simple border between people of different parts of the country. From one coast to another, there are so many different slangs words and catchphrases. One phrase could mean different things depending on where you are. Something as simple as ‘soda’, ‘pop’, and ‘coke’ is a great example. If you’re on a coast (west or east) you’ll most likely learn to say ‘soda’. If you’re someone who grew up in the Midwest, you’d learn to call it ‘pop’. Or, if you grew up in Texas, you would say ‘coke’, for any kind of soda, not just a coke. These differences in what we call a bubbly beverage alludes to how language can cause borders. Q: What are some of the struggles you or someone you know has overcome because of the difficulty of communicating? Do you see communication as a border or as a tool? A: Being a first generation American, I grew up watching the struggles my parents had to encounter due to language. They are both bilingual, but they say that they will never be able to understand English like how my brother and I do. I never quite understood it until I went to college and met people from different countries and saw their struggle to learn English. I now see communication as both a border and a tool. It’s a double-edged sword; it can be good or bad; it can help or it can hurt the situation. Communication can help bridge the gap between two people are able to speak the same language, but communication can also make the situation more difficult if they do not speak the same language. Q: What do you think you could learn from someone who does not speak the same language as you? A: Language doesn’t have to be an obstacle if we don’t want it to be. Communication leads to


31 connections and relationships with people that don’t need to be held back by an imaginary construct like a border. Language is the way we talk to each other and it is a tool for communication. Whether or not we speak the same language, there are still many things we can learn from each other, especially culture. There does not need to be any spoken words exchanged, but at least some level of nonverbal communication needs to happen to fully grasp an idea trying to be conveyed. Q: Over your lifetime, have you experienced a blending of languages from people of different cultures/backgrounds? A: There have been many instances throughout my life that I have witnessed a blending of languages. They all tend to be some mixture of English with Spanish, Korean, Thai, Chinese, French, Dutch, British English, etc... There are many words in each language that there is no direct translation, so using a word in another language is one of the easiest ways to get the point across. This happens with a lot of different languages spoken around the world. I think that it shows that we’re all trying to communicate with one another, to the best of our ability.

The way my mom speaks to me is a great example of a blend of languages. She speaks Thai-lish (also can be called Tinglish). The other day she called me while I was working on this interview and I noticed the use of both languages in our conversation. It’s something that seemed so mundane and ordinary to my life, but is definitely not normal to someone like my brother or my husband. She called and started the phone call with “Look Mah ( ลูกหมา )”, which is a nickname she came up with me when I was ten. The direct translation is child dog. It’s a weird nickname, but it stuck. She continues to ask me about my day in English, “What are you doing? Did you eat yet?” She goes on with her day and randomly says in Thai “Paw ja tum meh bah ( พ่อแม่จะทำให้บ้า )” which translates to “your dad is driving me crazy.” The conversation will continue, like this with sentences in English and sentences in Thai. Sometimes she will go on to say just words in Thai within an English sentence. That usually happens when there is no direct translation from Thai to English. Blending of languages is very common in today’s world. I have friends who speak two languages who have to blend them together when talking to family. It is a great thing to see a mix of languages being used because in the end we all know that we’re trying our best to talk to one another, even when we know that it can be hard or there might not be a great translation to something, we try. ●

LOL, JK, NBD | Participant/Author to Participant/Author Pato Yippie, born and raised in Hong Kong, but has now lived in the United States for 6 years, currently residing in San Diego, CA. He is 23. The following conversation follows a previous conversation that Pato and I have had about borders and barriers in both the physical and social realms. We came to an understanding that everyone has a different idea of border and agree to disagree whether certain things can be barriers to society. I wanted to get a better understanding of why he thought the media and our perceptions through the media creates barriers for societies to overcome. This conversation took place in a meeting room at Woodbury University School of Architecture.

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Amy Kittisoros: With different social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, things like that, what kind of barriers are formed between them and do you think that they form barriers between people?

Pato Yippie: I believe that social media has changed the way that we talk to people. We used to have one to one conversations to maintain relationships between each other. But right now, social media is reconstructing the ways of having conversations. Instead of having one to one conversations, we are having one to all conversations. Conversations become less private and they become more about how you see yourself publicly and it’s more about how you want yourself to be seen. A: Continuing that idea, do you think that the language that people use on social media has an impact on people and how they communicate face to face? If I’m posting stuff online and talking about how great my life is, is that going to affect our face to face conversation later?

ourselves from them because we see that there are so many differences between people. Going back old school, one on one, it will allow for people to be more intimate. A: Do you think that social media does not help to take down barriers?

P: I would say yes, but still, we spend a lot on social media. There is a lot of stuff out there and you can see the internet or social media as a barrier, you can see it as entertainment, it can be a lot of things. And I just feel like we need to reconstruct the way of conversing. A: If you think social media doesn’t help to destroy barriers then what about the media? Do you think that they help to destroy barriers or do you think that they mainly create barriers?

P: Yes, I think that it will affect our daily life conversation… for sure! Especially for me… I don’t live in Hong Kong anymore and but all my friends [back in Hong Kong] are in different stages of life, and some people are a living fancy lifestyle, and there’s such a difference between them and me. I’m a student and I have no money. And they have all the things that they want, but I’m just stuck with McDonald’s.

P: I think that the news is worse than social media, because we don’t know what is happening in other countries or other states. What you know about other states is from the news and the news will not report the whole story or just the bad stories. There are people that you have never met and you learn something about their country and you just assume that they are like the people on the news too. The impact is worse.

A: McDonald’s? [laughs]

A: Why do you think people believe something that the media says even though they know that it could be false? They say it’s one thing and you know that it’s false but you kind of believe it anyways. Do we give them too much of our trust and why?

P: [chuckles] Yes, McDonald’s. It just creates a huge barrier between the two of us. There are just so many differences between our lifestyles and it’s hard to find common ground.

A: Do you think that the way they post things, like their selective posting, that it tends to separate social media from reality? Does that make sense?

P: [hesitantly] Yes…. How people portray themselves on social media is different than in reality. You won’t take a picture of McDonald’s everyday to post it onto Facebook and talk about how you had McDonald’s today. You will want to take a picture of a fancy Japanese restaurant and you will not take a picture of your boring life. I believe if I found my friend, maybe his life looks way different on social media. You can’t assume anything. A: Do you think that there’s a way to lessen that barrier of social media versus reality? P: One to one conversations!

P: I think that you don’t know that it’s not true until you experience it. Like people here in America read or hear about thing happening in Hong Kong or China and think they know the whole story. But in reality it’s not like that. People just trust what they read or hear from the news because that’s the only way they can learn about it because they are not there. A: So are you saying that even though you could read articles and keep up with international news, that you won’t really know unless you’ve been there and witness things yourself? P: I believe so. Or unless you know someone who lives there. It’s totally different. A: How do you think the use of language in media plays a role in society? Do you think that certain trigger words can cause certain reactions within certain groups? Do you think that they use certain keywords to cause barriers and make people react?

A: So you want to go old school.

P: Yeah. I think that you cannot avoid stereotyping on the news. It’s just unavoidable.

P: Yeah man! Old school is way better.

A: If media was to no longer exist, which barrier do you think would go away first and which barrier do you think would be strengthened, like what would become more intense?

A: Well why? Why do you think it’s better? P: It is more original and there are no filters on the conversations. People used to just hang out and have private conversations. You didn’t have to worry about status. When you were a kid, you would have fun with your friends and you wouldn’t care about how much money their families have or how many toys that they have. And when we grow up, we just separate

P: If the media did not exist anymore, the barrier between people would mainly be based within a geographical context, because you would no longer be able to talk to people outside of your community or not from your neighborhood anymore. I think that geographic culture and barriers would be strengthened because people would be more intimate with people in their neighborhood and in their country. ●

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for another interview conducted by Amy Kittisoros and to download the full collection of 82 interviews

Draw Your Thoughts

i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


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INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

three border ers

P REFACE & THAN K YO U

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We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us.

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conv

ation s

with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

Investigating How Media Affects the View of Border

Pa t r i ck Y ip

Patrick Yip, student of Woodbury School of Architecture, born in Hong Kong. He has been living in United State for six years. He was a political science student during his undergraduate education and has been actively involved in devising urban solution in various communities. This interview explores how media affect different people who is from different background.

* Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

W h o b u i l d t h e wa l l ? | S e l f - I n t e r v i e w

Border is created by difference of social structure.

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Patrick Yip, student of Woodbury University, born in Hong Kong. He has been lived in United State for six years. This interview explores how media affect different people who is from different background.

Q: What does border mean to you?

A: To me, border means difference; it can be either a qualitative or quantitative difference. When there is a difference between people, a border is established. While borders can maintain difference, it can also promote difference. Borders can make people feel not comfortable when they cross it and make you feel like you went to the wrong party. I think psychological borders are more difficult borders to overcome than a physical border. In daily life, there is a lot of people you want to talk to and interact with, and those feeling create a border between me and them. Q: As a HongKongese living in San Diego, what is your personal experience with borders here?

A: As a person who is from Hong Kong and has to cross the border between Hong Kong and the United States every year, I personally do not have a strong feeling toward a physical border; I just have to show my document and move through. When I spoke before of a psychological border, I mentioned there is a lot of people I will not interact with, however, I have never felt unwelcome here in the United States, even though I am an Asian and don’t speak English well. I used to hang out with other American outside of the school. There are a lot of differences between me and most of the American college students I interact with daily. However, especially in college, I believe racial differences are not the main border between people. We have different cultures, but we may share the same subculture. I also believe subculture is more important to college students when they make friends. If you play soccer, will you care if your soccer-mate is white, black or Hispanic? Not really. It is not hard to find people who share the same interests as you in college, and if you have the same interests, all the other differences would not matter that much. This is just my observation. We all have differences, but it seems like I have overcome the border between subcultures and have made lots of good friends here. Q: Why do you think that subculture is important in a student environment? Is it just as important in the professional world? A: I believe college is more about providing a sociable environment than in the professional world. During college, we were developing our own interests, making friends, and networking. Students express their interests through establishing or joining interests club, and this is where subculture plays a role in college. Students face a phase when they need to choose who they want to be friends with, and the border between people plays a role when the students go through this phase. On the other hand, in the professional world, socializing does not hold as much importance. Of course we can make friends in the workplace, but your sociability becomes less important compared to a student environment. Q: What is the tool nowadays that acknowledge difference culture? A: Nowadays, if I said I am a Chinese man who live by the ocean, you can not really assume anything about me. People nowadays associated with lots of different cultures, and they usually acknowledge that in different kind of media. Everyday on the news, you see people who live and act different than you around the world. And on social media, you meet people who has similar interest with you. Social Media and Media is a really powerful tool, it is also a double–edged sword, it can either bring people together or promote the difference, and I personally think that the latter is a better description for the media nowadays.

Q: Do you believe that social media and the media are under the same construct umbrella? A: To me, I believe the main difference is social media is constructed between people and people and media is constructed between a higher institution and people. Social media is more about people connecting with people like Facebook, Twitter and the media is about informing other people about the outside world like newspaper and news channel. Q: How does power of the media to construct borders on a personal level? A: In my opinion, nowadays, people depend on social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, to connect to other people. Those social media platforms may seem like it makes it easier to connect people. However, in my opinion, it is promoting differences between people and establishing borders. Before Facebook happened, people relied on one-to-one conversation to connect to other people, either through a phone call or an email. However, Facebook changed the way of people communicate; instead of a one-to-one conversation, it turns into one-to-ten or even hundreds of people conversing. On Facebook, a “conversation”, a status or a picture, becomes more about your public internet image than a personal conversation. The destruction of a personal conversation within social media is separating people. Most of my friends on Facebook, I met during high school. While I have been studying in the United States for six years, most of the friends that I used to hang out with already finished their degrees and have started new pages at their work. Besides the few of them I still talk to personally, I can feel that a border has already been established between us. We have different friends now and are at a different stage of life. Some of them have gotten good jobs and are living the good life. Since I am still a student, some of my friend always post their fancy dinner on Facebook but I am just eating McDonald and doing homework. Without a personal conversation, social media highlights huge differences between us, and it establishes a border that I would not be comfortable enough to break, at least for now. Q: How does power of the media to construct borders in international level? A: Besides social media, there are also newspapers, which I believe promote differences and establishes borders between people globally. I will use people from the Middle East as an example. Since I am living in the United States, I think this year, it seems like more and more “terrorist” attacks happened, but also, there are mass shootings and police brutality. However, when the news uses the word “terrorist”, it only refers to the people from Middle East. Personally, I believe those mass shootings, especially the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting should be considered a terrorist attack. All the news just refer them as Planned Parenthood Shooter. The media is too afraid to label an American as a “terrorist”, and it’s not fair to the people from the Middle East. The news is promoting fear, and in doing so, I believe it is using this inter-racial issue to build up the borders globally between different nations. The media apply the word “terrorist” to Middle Eastern people, which has a negative impact on how the rest of the world thinks about them. A friend who lives in Germany, where thousand of refugees from the Middle East flowed in recently, told me the German people are getting increasingly used to their diversifying multicultural community. They do not mind seeing more and more people with darker skin or women with scarfs. My friend has never witnessed one of these refugees behaving poorly or committing a crime. However, he told me that in the 1990s, Germany was flooded with Russians claiming to be German. During this time, there were gangs mugging people, frequent knife fights, and he even had his car broken into. Media


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play a big role on defining the image of Middle Eastern people. And yes, even a bike damaged, and another bike stolen. From his story, it is clear that there is a huge difference between how the Middle East refugees are portrayed by the media and reality. The word “terrorist” creates fear for people who do not know much about people from the Middle East, and it has built up a huge border between them. Q: Can media blur the line of a border too? A: I believe media can blur the line of a border in a smaller scale. I have mentioned subculture previously, and I feel social media can be a good tool to find your own subculture on the internet. Reddit is one of the biggest social media platforms that includes social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion threads. I believe one of the reasons Reddit is

successful is because it takes advantage of the notion of subculture. Reddit is formed with different subreddits, and if you are interested in one special subreddit, you will subscribe to that subreddit. For example, if I am a soccer lover, I will subscribe to the soccer subreddit and share/discuss everything about soccer in that subreddit. This notion create a comfortable discussion space with the other people who share the same interest with you. Within the subculture/subreddit, the differences between people will be minimized. Q: In your opinion, do you prefer the day you have media or you rather go back to the day before media? How would that affect the border between people. A: I personally would like to go back to the day before media. The border between people will be mainly based on geography. ●

Forgotten Language | Participant/Author to Participant/Author Amy Kittisoros, born in Las Vegas--, raised in Las Vegas--., currently residing in San Diego, CA. She is--- 25. This conversation took place at--- on Woodbury University School Architecture. Patrick Yip: Tell me about yourself Amy Kittisoros: So my parents are from Thailand and they moved here in 1988 and I was born after that. Majority of my family is still in Thailand, pretty much all of my family. So in America, its only my mom and dad and me and my brother, not really connected to my family (laugh) P: So do you know how to speak Thai? A: A little bit, but not as much as I used to when I was younger P: Is your first language Thai?

A: I think that when you’re a kid, language is not a problem to overcome. When you are a kid you don’t need to say bunch of words. We used body language and kind of just figured it out. When you’re a kid, you don’t need to talk as much and when you go outside and play, we just run around and we don’t really have to talk to each other but we can still understand each other. It was something that was so simple. P: Do you think the way of communicating changes as you grow up?

P: Do you think language is just a communication barriers or it is more than a communication barriers? A: I think it’s only a communication barrier because language is a tool of communication. I don’t see it as another barrier of other thing, just communication.

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A: Yes, until I was five… so until I was four I only spoke Thai, and after that, I spoke English and Thai and then after that I only speak English. P: Do you see yourself differently with other kids when you were young?

the basic few gestures, sometimes it can be hard to understand some gestures because it could mean something completely different in different cultures. I think we also need to be aware of that when we try to communicate so we don’t offend people.

P: How does it feel like to speak the most dominant language in the world? Does it help when you traveling around? A: I think it helps because English is kind of everywhere. In other countries, they have to learn English in school too. For example, my cousins in Thailand, they all have to learn English in school. They can all speak English and Thai. That is something you can see everywhere. And it is not something that can help us out as Americans. It makes us lazy. I know a lot of people who are unable to speak a second language, and they have no interest in learning another language. In a way it makes things difficult for us because we are able to be as bilingual and bicultural as other countries. It puts us at a disadvantage. P: Social media has started to create a new language over the years. Do you think that is another barrier to overcome?

A: There are so many different types of languages, like body language, sign language, vocal language, but I think as we get older, our understanding of language changes to a point that we can’t understand each other as well as how we did when we were kids. Kids understand each other without actually talking to each other. It is something really basic but we can’t understand anymore. As adults, we tend to make things more complicated than it actually is and I think that is why language becomes a problem to overcome, even something as simple as body language can become difficult.

A: I think it can create barriers between the younger generations and older generations but it also bring trendy people together. For example, teenagers will know all the acronyms (like LOL) and it might be something that the older generations don’t know it. It creates a barrier between young vs old, but then I think it can also bring people together. I remember there was a time when I was nineteen. My mom had just discovered texting and she keep asking me what LOL meant. I think it brought my mom and I together. But my dad, he doesn’t know about any acronyms, so he will just be like what the hell are you talking about? (laugh)

P: What other barriers do you think you have overcome, besides language?

P: Do you think different country use different online language?

A: Culture definitely plays a role in creating barriers within the context of language. For example, there is a time when I was in kindergarten... or maybe is preschool or pre-k. It is somewhere between preschool and kindergarten. I didn’t speak that much English and during recess I was sitting by myself next to the tree. Some of the kids came over and tried to talk to me but I couldn’t understand what they are saying, so there was a barrier between us because we didn’t understand each other. But we were able to use “sign” language, they waved at me and said to come over and play. But there is also this thing that happens with culture. When people aren’t used to some of the things you do in different cultures, they tend to think that you’re weird for doing whatever you are doing. So when I was kid, I would do something that was normal in Thai culture, like bowing to an older person, and all the kids thought I was really weird for doing so. I think that culture plays a role in separating people from one another because we may not be acquainted with how things works, so we just go straight to a negative train of thought.

A: I think there are some things that are the same and that people understand worldwide like LOL. Those things are really common, but each country has their own language and their own slang terms or different ways of saying the same thing. So it is not like everything is the same.

P: Right now, do you think language is still a barrier between you and other people?

A: I guess it will be a lot easier for people to communicate from different culture. I think one of the big factors causing so many conflicts in the world is because we can not communicate with each other with a correct way. Maybe you say one thing, and you mean it to be something, but in a different culture, they don’t understand because they don’t have a direct translation for that. For example, there can be some words you can not explain in Thai, so people will be like “Thai Thai Thai Thai Thai English Thai Thai Thai”. Speaking the same language will make people communicate more effectively. And it will help people communicate better with each other and there will be less conflict between people. World peace, y’all! ●

A: I think it depends, I don’t think of it is as difficult because now we have tools like Google Translate and we are able to use that to translate different languages. When we travel, language is not much as a barrier as it might have been. There is a device you can always have to communicate to other people but there is also a basic understanding of sign language from other people so for example, when you are trying to eat in other country and you don’t know which direction you are going, you can just do a hand motion of eating and the people will understand and point at a direction. In some way, it is a form of communication. But besides

P: Do you think social media in different culture behave differently? A: I think it is the same. Because I think social media has changed the way people communicate with each other. In general, people try to show off on social media more or they can be a lot meaner than in person. I think people are just general meaner because they don’t have to say it to someone’s face and can just treat each other people like stranger. Anonymity. They are not personally attached to other people, and they don’t care, and it is just separating people. P: How would you see the world if we all speak one language?

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for another interview conducted by Patrick Yip and to download the full collection of 82 interviews

NOTES

i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


34

INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

34

P REFACE & THAN K YO U

36

We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

three border ers conv

ation s

with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

I n to t he B lu e

Christian Linney

Border is a perimeter to the borderer or bored, a point or place where a value and or a decision has been made.

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Into the blue | Self-Interview

A border in my life is somewhat of a philosophical one, I am half American, and half British, I was born and raised in London, England, and I moved to San Diego, California in 2010 to go to university and play ¬field hockey for America. I’ve been training at the Olympic training centre in Chula Vista since I arrived in California. I have represented the USA on the international stage, as well as England when I was sixteen, before I moved to the U.S. I take pride in this very much because I’ve been playing this sport since I was a child and it’s taught me a lot about my faults. So what nationality does my pride align with? When you play for an International team you have to be devoted, dedicated, committed, and loyal to you country. Your teammates and coaches are your family and you want the best for them, this is what drives you. I’ve found a home in San Diego, California, though my roots, my memories of England and what that meant to represent my country, by the pure nature of competition, challenges the emotions I feel when I play for the USA. Control over emotion, at the international level, is paramount its the fuel that pushes you when your body no longer can. You can understand that without control over emotions how divided and to some extend indifferent you might feel. In the long run I don’t see this as a bad thing; It’s a line in the sand that simply exists.

Q: Can a border be both physical and mental? A: There are mental barriers that we can perceive as borders, walls that we create for ourselves in our own mind. The difference between these borders and the physical borders that they find there form in different objects or maybe interactions that happen. Q: What’s the difference between a border and a perimeter? A: They are the same in essence though I think a perimeter is a lighter word then border is. It hasn’t got the connotations or biases that might come with the word border. Perimeter is more of a mathematical term used to describe the outside value of a shape. Q. What can you relate to as a border in your life? A. I’m half American and half British, I was born and raised in London, England and moved with my family to San Diego in 2010. The culture barrier was something that I was aware of at the beginning and faded after the two years of going to university. I often think that a physical border for me is the ocean that separates England and the US the shear separation is a quite large. In California you have to drive every - where and in England you drive as well though just not as far. The living is dense and close compared to California’s open highways. Q: Do you think a border is a static objective notion? A: No, I think a border is a constantly fluctuating conversation between two opposing positions. I think it’s a mediator between contrasting views that holds a status of in and of itself, at times strong and resolute and at others completely transparent and boundless. Q: How does you pride affect your game? A: When you’ve worked hard enough for something over a long period of time your naturally going to passionate about what you do. Taking too much pride in what you do and you might find yourself stuck in the mud somewhere along the way. It’s important to recognize that your pride needs counter measures just like anything. To be humble, content, and grateful for the things you have, to not abuse a status or role. Growing up as an international field hockey player was and I suppose still is a learning experience. I grew up loving the game, and still do,

but in all honesty not for the competition... It’s not exactly known in the states very well, more so in England and Europe. I truly enjoy the game that is all I really need. Q: Why is Pride a border for you? A: Pride can be blinding, it’s not that it stops you from going anywhere you might like to go. It’s taking you away from what it is you’re passionate about. Internally I feel if I can’t overcome what is misleading me then I’ve hit a wall. That’s a border, a point of limitation and to move past this is no easy or simple thing. What I am trying to get at isn’t something physical, which probably makes it harder to explain and most likely even harder to understand. What grounds this for me is my experience playing for the USA and England, to have represented both countries at a relatively young age was really impactful on my life. Because it was my life, I was devoted, and even though I not in competition playing right now, I still am dedicated to the sport. Its what I know. Q: Do you always see you pride in this light? Or only when you’re in competition? A: No, and it’s not necessarily always when I am in competition either. It’s something that I’ve noticed over my international hockey career. It’s always been a glitch to me, a costly distraction that I’ve adjusted to over a long period of time, it’s a perspective I have, that’s all. I don’t think a border can be explained by one person’s perspective as more than that. Q: What constitutes the edge terms in relationships to International borders? A: The roles of edges, entering and exiting act as the edges of a border to me, they are clear definitions you notice when observing architecture for instance. There is this median area that I notice too, its this grey haze that you find yourself in when handing your passport over to a border officer, who’s been instructions aren’t always known to you. Whether it be to not scrutinize based upon race and ethnicity or not. It might just be me not knowing how to do the job; I feel that at these times, border officials are naturally inclined to racial stereotypes, as well as other relational constructs. ●

Fear on the Border | Participant/Author to Participant/Author Christian Linney: How often do you cross the border? Arturo Martinez: I tend to cross the border about four or five times during the year and I cross it because I usually go to Mexico City. I was born in Mexico City and I lived there for 18 years and then I move here to San Diego. I always fly from Tijuana’s airport to Mexico City. Therefore, I always have to cross the border.


35 C: Do you cross with other people? A: I normally tend to cross the border alone, but it makes me feel safer when I cross it with someone else. My father is one of the persons that always tell me that I should not go alone. He always wants me to let him know that I am going to Tijuana so he can keep track of me being in Tijuana. When I was between 18 to 22; I used to have a cellphone under my father’s contract with the cellphone company. Therefore, I remember how every time that I had to go to Tijuana he used to receive a text message from the cellphone company saying that my phone number was actually on the Mexican site. Letting him know that I was in Tijuana for me was ok because I used to feel such as if he would be with me.

C: What do you look to stay away from? What stands out to you as a bad area?

C: How much stricter is it for you? Do you think it is for you to cross because you’re from the south of Mexico?

A: The government can play a good option, like Antanas Mockus in Medellin, the mayor who actually changes the psychology of people in Medellin. I like to see how he used his philosophy with humor to make people see the world differently with more humor and harmony. I would like to have the same government for Tijuana. It will be interesting to see kidnapers, stealers, coyotes, drug dealers acting properly once they can see that life is not about violence, corruption or even about money. Life is about living in harmony, and in peace with everybody in the community

A: Crossing the U.S. border, it has never been a really disappointing experience. However, it can be because I got the citizenship. My personal record is clean and I believe that it has helped me a lot, so that border officers do not ask me too much. To be honest, I always feel that because of my skin colour they might ask me so many things. I am actually surprise with myself because there have been two time that I have cross the border using only by ID. I always see discrimination on TV from official borders to citizens but I have to accept that I have never been discriminated. It is something unbelievable to me but it is true. C: How well do you know Tijuana? A: Well Tijuana is easy to place to know because there are like 6 or 8 main avenues in the city. The layout of the city is easy to understand. There are no so many main roads so you can drive easily from one point to the other. I honestly do not like to drive so far from the border, and I only visit the closest shopping centres that are close to the border. There are so many cheap restaurants and you can enjoy good drinks too for less money. During the first years that I just came here to United States, I used to visit Tijuana on Fridays and go to any movie theatre just to feel such as if I were in Mexico City. Now it has been about 3 or 4 years since I do not visit Tijuana to have fun as I used to. I cross it now only to fly to Mexico.

C: How do you think Tijuana might stop making you feel the fear you feel when you are there?

C: How do you think you could make Tijuana a safer place, as an architect, and as a Mexican citizen? A: As architect building public spaces, spaces with no social discrimination that any people from any culture can access them. Libraries, museums, art spaces for expositions, public parks, are area that can help to educate people and express their ideas. Expressing their ideas and need, it is a good way to understand what Tijuana needs. As a result our government will be challenged to what our community needs. In Tijuana the level of education is to low and it is because the educational program of the school is useless. We need to find more dynamic strategies to educate young people. We need to educate young people and future generations are going to be able to think differently no just on drugs, crossing people, kidnapping, stealing money, or prostitution. We have to build more and more schools to make education accessible. Schools that are just simple boxes but spaces where they can feel themselves as if they were at home. Spaces where they can enjoy while they are learning. It is important to notice that our Mexican government always wants to have all the power and money, and for it the only way to accomplish this is having ignorant people. We really need to increase our education on young and adult people.

35

C: If you were to see a dangerous situation what steps do you think you would take to stay as safe as possible? A: Well, as I already mentioned, I try to go during the day. I also try to go with someone else. In addition to this I want to say that I try to take my cellphone with me all the time. In the past I used to go there and get some drinks on Friday nights, but I do not do it anymore because I do not want to get in trouble for any reason. I do not feel comfortable any more being drunk and walking on the streets during the night. I try to visit it not so often. C: What should you do if you feel like your going to be kidnapped?

A: I want to say that in the poorest communities is where more crime is committed, but we all know that happens everywhere. Poor people need rich people to steal money. I am not saying that rich people do not steal money as well but it is a common situation. Spaces with no pedestrians are a good target and also along the border where people sells and cross drug to Mexico

A: I honestly do not know what I can do. It is hard to imagine this terrible experience that I cannot visualize it. I would feel hopeless if I were on these experiences. I do not think I can do much if two or more men kidnapped me. Probably experiencing this event in real life it is how my ideas can come to my mind to know how to solve it.

C: How do you get past fear to cross the border?

A: Well, my big fear to cross the border is when I cross the border to visit Tijuana. When I visit Tijuana, I tend to be scared because the police do not care about the citizens. They do not care about anybody. There is not security along the border of Tijuana. Homeless or stealers can take your money on the street and the police honestly do not care. When I go to Tijuana, I tend to go on daytime, so I feel safer. I prefer to go with someone else when I have to go to Tijuana. Psychologically, I try to think that everything will be all right and I always tend to be respectful with everybody so I do not get in troubles when I am along the border of Tijuana. I try to see Tijuana as a better border region, but there is too much violence that I just cannot consider it to a safe place for me. ●

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for another interview conducted by Christian Linney and to download the full collection of 82 interviews

NOTES

i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


36

INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

P R EFACE & THAN K YO U

three border ers

36

We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

36

conv

ation s

with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

Disconnection of a Border & My Life

Arturo Martinez

My name is Arturo Martinez and I am 27 years old. I was born in Queretaro, Mexico but I migrated to United States to San Diego, California. Nowadays, I am a current student of Architecture. I am on my 5th year at the University at Woodbury School of Architecture. My relationship with the border of Mexico and United States has always been present in my life and it is not that the border belongs to me. I belong to the border because it was before me. As a student of Architecture my goal in my life is always about making the border. There is always a question on me saying what can I do to enjoy a better border?

Border is a line that is supposed to keep Mexican out of the U.S. Border. It is a strategic tool for governments to keep people segregated and they also help to control the economic power of a nation up. Risky spaces that affects and end up with the life of innocent people because of the high levels of violence.

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Overcoming the fear of the Border | Self-Interview Q: Have you ever experience fear while you visit a border between two different countries?

A: I am a Mexican student at Woodbury University in San Diego, and I actually emigrated from the south of Mexico looking for better opportunities in my life. I’m actually born in Queretaro Mexico. Nowadays, I live close to the border San Diego-Tijuana and the border has always represent fear to me in the Tijuana site. It is hard to talk about the fear that I feel when I visit the border of Tijuana because I am actually from the south of Mexico and I wish everything was different in Mexico in general. There have happened a series of negative events with my family members in the border of Tijuana which have created fear in my personality every time that I visit the border.

Q: Has anybody else of your family been involved in a violent attract in the border of Tijuana?

Q: Can you mention an event in the border of Tijuana that has contribute to create fear in your life?

Q: What do you thinks are some of the factors that contribute to all this violence?

A: The first event that marked my life was the kidnapping of my father in Tijuana. In 2005 my father was kidnapped by four individuals. In the past my father used to visit Tijuana every two weeks because he had to send us money to the south of Mexico. One day He found three individuals in the street and they ask him for food in Tijuana. They said they were immigrants from the south of Mexico and they supposedly were thinking to cross the border illegally. They had no money supposedly and my father decided to buy food for them. They convinced my father to eat with them in a small restaurant which they said it was so cheap and that they had good food as well. My father follow them just by walking to the restaurant. Once they got there, they ordered the drinks and when my father got his drink it was already open. In the restaurant somebody opened the drink and poured some drug on it. My father without noticing, he drunk all the soda. He felt to sleep in the restaurants and those supposedly called immigrants with no money kidnapped my father. They took him in to a suburb far away from downtown Tijuana. My father was unconscious and they stole all his money and his paper to cross the border. My father was enclosed in a bedroom for the whole night, and he was still unconscious and sleepy. He didn’t know where he was, but he could realized that he was kidnapped. The kidnappers were distracted and my father waited for the early morning and he was able to escape and run away. He had to run away for long distances until he got in to a safe place. The kidnappers could not reach him and my father could stay safety after being kidnapped for a whole day and night. My father with no money and legal paper had a big difficulty to cross the border and get back home in the San Diego site. Q: How has this kidnapping changed the way how you live your life? A: Every time I remember my father’s kidnapping, I always think that he could have die or something terrible could have happen to him. Every time that I visit the border I always try to be smart and act properly to do not get in troubles. My father always gets so afraid when we visit Tijuana and he always asked me be careful when I visit Tijuana by myself. I do not want to be part of a kidnapping or any other tragedy in Tijuana, and it is why I always feel fear when I visit the Tijuana border.

A: My father has not been the only one having problems in the Tijuana site, for example one of my uncle was cheated with 50,000 dollars. Somebody stole him all this money. Furthermore, another of my uncles named Mario was also kidnapped and the kidnappers beaten him and stabbed him in his neck. My uncle is still alive but he cannot walk any more. All those negative events has created fear on my personality every time I go to Tijuana. I always want to try to forget, but it is impossible to forget all what my family has suffered.

A: Having fear while I visit the border has made me reflect and try to understand why so many people tend to carry out all this types of crimes in the border. After doing some reading of the Border in San Diego Tijuana and borders in general. I have discovered an important aspect that can be one of the main factors that contribute in the delinquency in Tijuana which is inequality. The level of inequality that exists in the border of Tijuana-San Diego. According to the prominent writer Robert Bach that there is a high level of inequality in the San Diego-Tijuana border and he mentions that in the U.S. site there are more economic opportunities than in the Mexican site. In the Mexican site the wages are very low while in the U.S. are higher. This levels of inequity for example are the main reasons that people instead of working they decide to carry out crimes to get more money. I tend to feel fear in the border, but I have to understand that reason why we might have all this kidnappers is not because they are lazy; however, it might be because our Mexican government is not doing anything to improve the salaries and opportunities in education of the people that live in all those Tijuana’ communities. Finally I really get a lot of fear when I visit the border Tijuana-Mexico because there are a lot of drug dealers who tend to have fights and confrontations on the street. It really makes me get scared because I do not want to be killed in any of those confrontations where we do not have anything to do. According to Clark Alfaro, who teaches at San Diego State University, wrote that the presumed end of the Tijuana drug war and the decline in murder statistics registered more than 2,300 homicides during the peak years of violence between 2008? Drugs are a huge problem in the border of Mexico and it makes an unsecure space in my personal opinion because we do not want to die in all those drug wars. Some of my relatives argue that Tijuana is safe, but I always believe that many people can be under drug influences and they are the ones who we need to stay away from them. It is been almost two years since my uncle Mario was kidnapped in Tijuana and the kidnappers were all under the drug influences. It is almost two years now since my uncle has not been able to work anymore. Q: Can you define the border of Tijuana with a small sentence? A: I want to say that Tijuana border is a beautiful place and it has beautiful people as well. However we still have negative people who can actually hurt ourselves. This probabilities of being hurt in Tijuana are the main reason why I always feel fear when I visit Tijuana. I hope one day everything can change and we can have a better Tijuana. A place which I can visit without fear. ●

Seeing the border through the Ocean | Participant/Author to Participant/Author Arturo Martinez: I Like you interpretation about a border being the ocean, do you consider this border to be a negative barrier? Christian Linney: It depends the way you look at it, yes because it’s an obstacle I can’t cross without a boat or a plane, and the fact that it’s so large it’s a definite indication of how far away I am. Though I also look at it as this natural thing that was there well before I was walking around and there’s not much you can do about it, but enjoy it I suppose. I don’t have this negative


37 connotation towards the ocean by any means, I really enjoy seeing the water every day, though It’s just I can’t move an ocean, I can’t swim across an ocean. I can fly across an ocean, which I do, but it’s a time costly effort. A: When you say mediator between contrasting views that holds a status, are you relating this idea to social differentiation? Is a border a system of discrimination? C: I think a border separated countries not races. I don’t think it discriminates race but it definitely creates friction whenever looking to cross it. I don’t think it directly differentiates social classes though. I think it does imply a segregation of sorts, more in a geological sense than a popular way. Nevertheless a segregation of peoples can lead to violence and public unrest. When I say mediator I only try to suggest a point that acts as a pivot between contrasting views… this aspect is very subjective to the individual who does the pivoting. A: Can you tell me a little about what a transparent border could mean? C: We need borders to be transparent so we can see that what’s on the other side isn’t always greener. What is stopping Tijuana from being just as desirable as San Diego? From a geological sense they should be the same, though I think the over looming border creates a sense of unknown. A: What do you think makes you feel this profound passage when you’re about to cross the border? C: We give this great meaning to this line that we draw in the ground and to cross this line we must have a specific piece of paper. What seems odd to me is that we surround ourselves with borders and begin to pay closer attention on both fronts, on either side of the border. At some point something will have to give and the result will be that the border is a dotted line, permeable from both sides. I don’t know what the profound feeling is that you’re meant to have when crossing the border, to me it’s been a point in the journey of going to and or from somewhere.

A: Why do you feel you are entering into this no-man’s land with constant struggles? C: I say no man’s land because that’s how I feel sometimes when traveling. Going through the terminals in an airport, waiting with the other passengers at the gate, the space and atmosphere of those certain areas are confined circumstances. You’re in one country about to set foot in another though the buffering zones in the airport filters the departures and arrivals of the travelers. That buffering zone is a no-man’s land of sorts because of the mass of diversity in travelers, to produce being sold, to air-line carriers. They feel like single steps when you’re walking across the border at customs in an airport. There is just a thick black line that says border on it in big white letters, you can stride across is with a single step and you think all of those security checks for a single step? The border hasn’t become that single step anymore even though that is the way it’s being portrayed to me. A: Why do you think it’s like a battle when crossing the border? C: It’s a delicate process when crossing a border, there are so many things that could go wrong. When I am going through customs and security I think that it has to be part of the officers and operators jobs to classify and categorize persons and baggage, how else could they keep track of the masses of people being funneled day after day. There has been a fear at the airport that has pushed a code of conduct that only really causes an anxiety and a heightened awareness of what goes on. You stay in your own land but you have to make sure you’re on time and everything runs smoothly otherwise you are going to miss your flight. A: Do you think that one side of the border is unnatural and the other natural? C: The border is the unnatural part of the perception I feel when I cross a border. The natural is going to and from places, the elements of traveling are complexly constructed and requires an attention to detail. The other unnatural, but that’s been a perception of mine when leaving all of the security and long lines is that there are separate sections for arrival and departure. Mostly when you cross the border into another country from flying there you cross when you land in the country, right after you get off the plane. ●

37

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book foranother interview conducted by Arturo Martinez and to download the full collection of 82 interviews

DRAW YOUR THOUGHTS

i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


38

INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

er three bord nversa

P REFACE & THAN K YO U We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

36

38

The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us.

co

tions

with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

Looking for a Better Life E s tef a n y G onz a le z

Estefany Gonzalez is an architectural student at Woodbury University in San Diego. She is in her 3rd year. She is passionate to listening about people’s stories and shared as well her experiences.

* Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

Growing with a border | Self-Interview

Border is the end and the beginning of something.

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Estefany Gonzalez born in Queretaro, Mexico, raised in and currently residing in San Diego, CA. She is 23 years old.

Q: How has the border impacted your life?

A: Well, I think that the border between Mexico and USA has been present in my life for a long time, and therefore, it has had a big impact. First I experienced to have my father immigrating to U.S. My father emigrated to U.S. since he was 17 years old, looking for the American dream; then after he got married with my mom in Mexico, he came back again to U.S. to work in order to cover all the expenses we had and give us a better life. For about 18 years, all the communication that I had with my dad at that time since I remember was via phone, he was coming back home to visit us just during summer and winter vacations. Sometimes, he stayed with us just a weekend or two weeks, very rarely he stayed a complete month, it depended on his work. After a lot of years of living with this style of live, my parents decided to move all and start a live all together here in U.S. Q: How long have you known about the border? A: I do not remember exactly, but I can say that since I remember my dad had to cross the border in order to work and give his family a better life. Fortunately, my dad had legal documentation and did not have any problems to cross the border and I always knew that, but I also knew that a lot of family crossed illegally and had to risk their lives. Q: What was the border for you when you were a kid?

A: In Mexico when somebody emigrates to USA people says “se fue para el otro lado” which means “he went to the other side”. In my mind, I imagined a big wall that divided Mexico with US. At that time when I was about 5 or 6 years, I did not know the word “border” but I knew the impact that caused to my family. The border for me at that time was a wall that separated me from my dad. I was already adapted to not have my dad with me, but it was always very hard to say bye. Q: Until now, do you have different perspectives of the border since you were a kid? A: Yes, because when I was a child, I just knew that my dad and some family members crossed the border having a lot of risks but at the age of 5 you do not have idea what type of risks they have. For example, they had to cross the border crossing at really high temperatures, risking their lives in intense deserts. I just knew what I heard from adults and then I translated that with my imagination. For example, having an idea of a big wall. But now, I already experience what is to be in the other side of the “wall”, I understand more the consequences that this division causes, especially to emigrant people like me.

without education that comes to this country just to receive benefits without offering anything to this country. I believe that we live in an epoch where the stereotypes need to end because we can find good and bad people everywhere and in every country. Q: Have you experienced any kind of discrimination in this country? A: Yes, somehow I have felt discrimination with some people’s comments talking about Mexican people. For example, the generalization of thinking that all Mexicans are criminals. Recently, all those racist comments from the presidential candidate Donald Trump about immigrants, especially Mexicans. He says that all Mexicans that come the U.S. are criminals, drug dealers, and rapists. The problem is that a lot of people follow this person with all those ideas based on stereotypes and racism. Also when I arrived to this country 5 years ago, I did not know English and when my family and I went to parties or social meetings a lot of people did not want to talk us because our language or they look at us like we are inferior to them. Q: Discrimination is the cause of a lot of suffering in the U.S., how does that make you feel? A: I think that any documentation nor any nationality makes someone more or less than others. Therefore, there is no reason to discriminate someone. Also I think that emigrants that come to this country do not just receive good opportunities, they also give a lot of benefits to USA. Q: How has the border helped you to benefit? A: I have received a lot of opportunities, first of all I have scholarships that have been helping to cover my studies expenses, also the quality of life in here, talking about security and order. I think that these are some of the reasons why a lot of people bring or establish their family here. Q: What have you been doing in order to adapt to the good and bad consequences that the border causes? A: I just want to do the right things in here respecting everybody’s life because even with a lot of negative thoughts about emigrant people from some people, I want to earn the respect for me and my family with our actions not with stereotypes. I have been doing everything legally in this country and I obey the rules stated by the laws; therefore, if I do my part, that is what I expect from the others.

Q: What do you think now about the border?

Q: Do you think that doing the right thing, some people will change their thoughts?

A: I think that the border has been a cause of discrimination, death, but also has caused great opportunities of employment, education, refuge and much more great benefits that make people to come even knowing about all the risks they can experience crossing illegally or legally. For example, the stereotypes that people have about Mexicans have created discrimination to us because a lot of people think that all Mexicans are inferior people

A: I do not know if everybody will change their minds but at least I want that people see that not all emigrants are the same. There are good and bad Mexicans, the same as there are good and bad Americans. During the time I have been in USA I have found American people that do not like emigrant people, but also I have known great American people that do not care where you from in order to treat you good or bad. ●


39 Seeing the border through the Ocean | Participant/Author to Participant/Author Maria Poblete born in Guam and raised there. She is currently residing in San Diego, Ca. She is 26 years old. This conversation took place at Woodbury University Library on September 26, 2016.

Estefany Gonzalez: What is a border for you? Maria Poblete: Border for me is like an abstract element, it is not really like a physical form. To me it’s like the differences in people or it’s like their culture that differs from one another or it’s their lifestyle. To me that’s kind a border is. E: How have borders impacted your life? M: The border… it has impacted my life as amm.. kind of like a changing point since I moved here from Guam. The differences here have made me change to whom I am today before I used to be more reserved and just come to myself to try to be kind of like more open to changes and to interacting with other people. E: What have you been doing in order to adapt to a new culture? M: Amm... It’s more like how you interact with other people and then how you kind of like just taking the changes to yourself. Amm… I guess it is all kind of part of how a person is if you adapt to the situation that you put in like you can be in another area, and it’s just adapt yourself it’s part of, I guess to a process.

M: From the top of my head, It will probably be how people travel from one point to another. Like in Guam we don’t have that much public transportation and so you basically need to have a car or your own ways to be able to go from one area to another, here you have more possibilities so you can get from point A to point B either you can take the bus or walk there, since it’s kind of safer here compared to where I am, Guam we don’t really have sidewalks and it’s dangerous since you are being so close to the moving vehicles, so I think that is one of the differences. E: Do you think that the border has had a positive impact in your lifestyle? M: Yeah. From how I am today it has changed me in a good way like fast like how I said before I was more reserve and now I am more open and I’m getting more out there than just staying... staying by myself or being more isolated. E: Do you still see the border as a barrier in your lifestyle?

E: Why do you think that borders divide cultures?

M: Aamm.. Yeah, because even if I’m so accumulated with the changes there is always a barrier between people’s lifestyles. It is just the way we are; we can have something similar like small little aspects but everybody’s lifestyles differs from one another.

M: I think the border hasn’t necessarily divide a culture. It’s just how the cultures are different from one another and because of that it creates a border within itself.

E: Do you think that it is important to have a balance in order to be able to interact with others cultures, especially in this country where we can find people from all parts of the world?

E: Being from another country, what have you done in order to not see an abstract border as an obstacle?

M: It would be nice to have a balance with other cultures but as it is right now there is always going to be one dominant culture compared to another. It is just the way it is because… I don’t know…. It just depending on politics, government, and every other thing that comes into play, there is always be some differences and that undercount as a balance; but a balance will be nice.

39

M: I’ve never.. I used to see as a barrier between two people but now it is like something ordinary because there is always going to be an abstract border like separating you from another person; either by language, culture or ethnicity, it’s just the way it is because every body is different from one another, we have like different personalities and so it’s just something that you used to or just commit to that.

E: What are some differences in culture that you have had to adopt in your life style since you move to California?

E: Do you think that borders are necessary?

M: It is not really necessary, but it’s just.. it ‘s something that you’ve got to get accustomed to because everybody is different today. There’s always a sense of a border whether it’s a physical wall or just an abstract idea. ●

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book foranother interview conducted by Estefany Gonzalez and to download the full collection of 82 interviews

DRAW YOUR THOUGHTS

i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


40

INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

three border ers

P REFACE & THAN K YO U

36

We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

40

The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

conv

ation s

with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

T he U n s e e n B a rrie r M a r i a Poble te

Maria was born and raised in Guam. She moved to California when she was 16 attending high school at Long Beach. She currently resides at San Diego and attending Woodbury University. She is an architecture student that enjoys working with graphic designs. Her interests are on sketching and other art related subjects.

Border is an abstract idea in which it can be the situation where two cultures collide.

Growing with a border | Self-Interview

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Maria was born and raised in Guam then moved to California around her sophomore year in high school. She is currently residing in San Diego, CA. She is an Undergraduate Woodbury Architecture Student.

Q: What do you constitute as a border to be, a physical form or an abstract idea?

A: In my perspective a border can be both physical and abstract; it just depends on the situation in which you have to face that particular term. Here in San Diego, the border is usually seen as the separation of Mexico and the United States in the form of a wall. This wall has been set as an obstacle for one side and a protective measure for the other. This physical form has been a topic talked about politically and amongst others within the general area as a heated debate. One side such as Mexico the border is seen as an obstacle stopping the residents from achieving the life they want or holding them back from reaching their dreams. As for the United States, they see it as a protective measure to keep the drug smuggling away and to stop illegal immigration. However, this is just the physical form. In a way a border can be seen as an abstract just by its representation. A border can be something not seen but felt or experienced. An example of that would be simple conversations between two or more people about a certain particular topic. One person may have limited knowledge on the topic while say two others may have a life time experience with it. The conversation between these people would differ due to the amount of knowledge they have creating a sense of a barrier for both sides. Q: For yourself, what do you see border to be? A: After thinking it thoroughly, I’m leaning towards the abstract side of the term just from my personal experience. Coming from a small island, I grew up in a culture that differs greatly from around here. My lifestyle consisted of school, friends, and family all of which done within a set of guidelines drilled inside of my way of thinking since I was a kid. Moving here, to California, was a big shock just based on that. I met students who had a bigger horizon to deal with, such as less strict rules and more opportunities to grow within the modeled adulthood. The rules set to them by their parents/guardians made my way of living seem sheltered and secluded. And when I talk about strict rules, I mean it by the people I’m allowed to hang out with. My parents are traditional folks and prefer me to hang out with a group of females rather than males. In order for me to even hang out with my male friends there has to be a female along with us. Another is the places I’m allowed to go to. The island is pretty small since anyone can drive around the island within two hours. However, for me I’m only allowed to go to certain places where large groups of people are present no matter the circumstances. Even when growing up grades were considered more important than being on a team (sports team or group club) or hanging out with friends. Here, however, it is seen in high standards to mix both in a way to achieve high marks in both academics and popularity. Due to this, it took me a while to be accepted by others since I closed myself up from all this differences. It was hard to find a common ground to stand on with the differences. It created a buffer in which it was difficult to break free of my own way of living to accommodate there’s. Q: Would you place lifestyle as part of culture that creates this division in some people? A: Yes, because culture is a pretty broad subject that consists of a lot of things. Culture is an accumulation of lifestyle, arts, beliefs, and many more. Lifestyle plays a part in one’s culture as a way of living. What’s interesting about it is that it can contain rules, ideas, knowledge, and one’s wellbeing. The term itself contains subcategories, making it essential in the building of a culture. Everyone’s lifestyle differs from each other, some might even have similarities but not all of them would be 100% carbon copy. One area, let’s say a town can celebrate the same holiday as its neighboring town but their methods dealing with it can be different. This goes with countries, every country celebrates the holidays in their own way

such as Christmas. However, the way they interpret it and see it is not the same with each other even if it’s the same holiday. In my personal experience with the move between Guam and California, the culture differences took a toll on me during the first year. It was difficult to set myself within the same group as the people I encountered. Even my relatives here differ greatly from the way I was taught. It shows that you can have the same ethnic background but your location and the resources available to you can change your view. I stayed with my cousin’s for a couple of years and my lifestyle differed from their own. They have the tradition of going out during the weekends and engaging in miscellaneous activities. While for me a typical weekend back at Guam is just staying at home engaging in some house chores and school work. The only time we ever go out is if there was a special occasion or if my friends wanted to celebrate someone’s birthday. Because Guam is pretty small, there aren’t that many places to go to. And the places such as restaurants and beaches have been already visited frequently. It’s really hard to discover new places in an island that takes about just 2 hours to go around it once. Q: Defining lifestyle, would you see it as a main contributing factor in culture? A: I believe so; in my earlier answer lifestyle is built by multiple factors that make it a whole. The other factors that build a culture are basically specific to the point while lifestyle can be broader. Without it in the mix culture wouldn’t be as a strong concept or be a whole. A lifestyle can be a set of guidelines that an individual follows to interact with society or a way for them to feel as if they are functioning like a civil person. It’s also built upon a person’s habit. This habit is usually how they deal with everyday situations such as work, school, and home. Another factor is their attitude, when encountering situations or how they perceive life to be. These are just a couple of the factors that contribute to the term. Q: Does your lifestyle now still create this sense of barrier with other people you encounter? A: It does because I grew up with a strict upbringing as a Filipina. Even up till now it’s difficult to break away from that idea of how I should act. The typical guidelines I grew up with are the standard that grades come first before hanging out with friends, no hanging out alone with the opposite sex, and a bedtime hour. There are always strange habits driven to me of never taking a shower if I had a fever or to duck my head down when walking in between people talking. These are just things that my parents instructed me to do that I’m sure can be considered strange to others. Q: Having been a resident at California for years now, do you feel yourself accumulating to the way of living here? A: I believe one can’t truly be changed by their surroundings especially when the change occurs in an older age. However, there was a moment that when I returned to Guam that I felt the change. What I was usually accustomed to seeing at the island became strange to me such as the interaction between strangers to the way people drive. It was the smallest things that I started to see that the move had change by the smallest degree. However, even with that I still had a sense of understanding of the culture present at the island and the one from the mainland, California. It’s just part of our nature to get a sense of your surrounding prior to your stay. And depending on the person it may take a month to even a year to fully get a grasp of how they should live within the different area. Q: Can an abstract border be seen as an obstacle that needs to be overcome?


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A: Depending on the situation, in my personal predicament it wasn’t necessarily an obstacle. It’s in our human nature to want to be part of something or to be accepted. I prefer my solitude and follow the general guidelines I have grown accustomed to. However, in order to proceed further in communicating with others changes do have to happen. Nothing drastic but small ones that enable a person to function with society. It’s similar to the concept about a group discussion about a topic, how one person is limited on their knowledge and the others are fluent with it. The conversation may be strained to the differences but it still creates a discussion that works.

and beliefs. And from that we work with the issue in what we seem fit and justifiable.

Q: Do you think we deal with these differences in a day to day basis?

Q: Can there be a way to interact two or more different cultures into one to blur the line of what is seen as a border?

A: When we interact with other people we do deal with the differences. However, it’s not noticeable unless someone looks into depth with every encounter. We are all used to the necessity of conversing with people that the question never pops up unless someone points it out. We have grown accustomed to it and head-butting through topics is just something that can appear from time to time. It’s already a known idea that everyone has their own opinion

Q: Do these differences stay on their respective side or is it possible for them to overlap? A: They can overlap. A person’s abstract border can overlap another because it holds no specific physical form. The way an abstract border works is that it is built from a person’s experience and ideas. These experiences can interact with other people and ideas can be similar to others thus creating a sense of overlapping.

A: When groups share something similar to one another, this can create a link that crosses over that invisible boundary. Interaction is the key element to allow cultures to lose its boundary or at least blur it to the point that it’s hard to detect. Without the interaction, everything is stuck within their specific spots never crossing forth to the other side. ●

Discrimination as a wall | Participant/Author to Participant/Author Estefany was born and raised in Queretaro, Mexico. Currently residing in San Diego, CA. She is 23 years old. This conversation took place at Woodbury University Library on September 26, 2016.

Maria Poblete: The border can be a physical obstruction such as a wall but have you ever seen it as something else like an abstract element? Estefany Gonzalez: Well,..yes because when I have been in Tijuana, Mexico, I haven’t seen a wall separating the two territories. I see a wall that is covered in crosses that signifies each person that tries to cross the border but they end up dying as they try to. Yes, I think that’s what the wall is to me as an abstraction limit. M: You say that the border has caused discrimination, since you moved here how did this affect your way of living?

E: Yeah, I think that it also affects everybody else, especially, for people here at San Diego. For example here at school there are some classmates that are living here but they go to West Valley. So every day they come and go back, this affects everyone positively and negatively. M: Has your lifestyle change due to the move?

E: Yes, I think so because I’m from a very small village in Mexico. And the life there, from what I can describe, is kind of slower and here it’s faster. You have to go everywhere with a car and even when it’s just to go to the store. This is because the store is far from your home and school. Also the traditions, customs, foods, and everything are different. M: Has discrimination been a factor to the changes you now deal with in a day to day basis?

E: Yes, sometimes when I’m at a store people would look at me in an inappropriate way even while driving. I don’t know why but there are just people who can see you as a Mexican and they just generalize you right away. M: Since there are a lot of differences between Mexico and California, has differences create a barrier when you interacted with people around here?

E: Yeah, sometimes it’s hard because here in the United States you find a lot of cultures. For example the Japanese or Chinese cultures, it’s sometimes difficult to say hi to people who practice it. When I was in college I had a friend from China. In Mexico, the way I say hi to friends I usually shake their hands and kiss them on the cheek. I did that automatically from my head without thinking and she felt bad when I did that. M and E: [laughs]

M: Have you become accustomed to the differences?

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E: Yeah..I feel sometimes feel the discrimination by people’s comments, that they stereotype the idea of other people in a general way. So I think people need to know the person first in order to talk about them because not everybody is a bad or good person. We need to know them first in order to make a comment because when they don’t that’s when I start feeling discriminated. M: Do you think this idea of the border still affects you until now?

E: There are changes happening in every culture, so sometimes it’s weird when you don’t know if you are doing something wrong towards them. That’s why I try my best not to offend anybody.

E: Yes, I think the custom that everyone does is a like a routine, that in the morning you wake up, go to school, go back home, and then the day is already done. I think you start forgetting your other cultures. For example mine, in my Mexican culture I usually walk to the store. But here you have to do everything really fast. After school you go to the store, then you head home to make dinner to eat after that..that’s it all your day [smiles and laughs] I think the different custom makes you forget a little bit of your own usual daily routine. M: It’s been five years since you moved here can you detect any differences between when you got here to this current point in time? E: One of the things that have changed for me is my language. My English may not be as perfect but I consider myself bilingual. Also right now the food that I cook is more Americanized as well. There are a lot of differences but you also learn from the different cultures. You have the opportunity to share knowledge with more cultures that are here from all around the world. This is one of the differences that have come to me since I moved here. M: Do you still practice the same culture?

E: I try to because sometimes you forget due to the things that you have to do in the house or at school. For example in my religion, I’m Catholic; I usually go to church every Sunday. But now I haven’t been there in almost a year because of school and all the other things that can consume your time. I always try to keep my traditions and my behaviors that my parents have given me as well as the rules that I have to follow when I’m in Mexico. I believe the tips that parents give to their children is different here compare to at Mexico. Plus I prefer the ones I learned in Mexico maybe because I was born there but I try to practice the same culture here too. M: Do you still see the border as an obstacle even when you have crossed over it? E: Yes, even if it’s been 5 years since I’ve been here. I have all my family there and my childhood memories in Mexico. All of those things are part of me. I remember the things that make me feel like I’m not part of this place. I don’t feel like I’m from here. I feel that I’m still from Mexico no matter what. Because of this I still see that border, it is still a wall. I try my best to keep in touch with my family there and when I have the opportunity during Winter Break I try to go there just to visit them. I even go see the places that I usually walk and see my family I have there to witness the changes that have happen when I was away. ●

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for another interview conducted by Maria Poblete along with the full collection of 82 interviews

NOTES

i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


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INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

three border ers

P R EFACE & THAN K YO U We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

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The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

conv

ation s

with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

W ha t i s to b e Expe cte d Pa u l Este b a n

Paul Esteban is an aspiring architect/ space creator. He enjoys leaning, laughing and being inspired.

Border is extents of expectations used to either identify with or against in order to create self structure.

b o r d e r o f fa m i l i a r i t y | S e l f - I n t e r v i e w

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Paul Esteban was born in San Diego, CA, raised in and currently residing in San Diego, CA. He is 30. This Conversation took place at his home in San Diego, CA.

Q: What has been the most significant border you have crossed physically and mentally? Was one more difficult than the other?

A: Heading into Barcelona was probably the most significant border I’ve crossed. It was my first trip abroad with friends. It wasn’t the first city that we stopped into but it was the most memorable. I think it was because I had shook the jitters off from being abroad and finally settled into my reality. It was definitely the most significant because it was the most emotional. I was filled with so many different feelings that I had forgotten about. The fear, excitement and alertness I had were overwhelming. The best way I could describe it is to say that it was like being a kid again, full of wonder. Everything had a new smell, look, taste, feel. All of my senses were going crazy with the new environment I was in. That is somewhere that will always be special to me and a memory worth more than any sum of money. As for mentally, I think I have yet to cross my most significant border. I’ve always been scatter brained about what I wanted to be in life. When I finally decided that I wanted to whole heartedly pursue architecture, I set a border for myself. It was a border into a path that I could confidently use as a foundation to set my whole life upon. I would say that pursuing a profession in Architecture has definitely been the most challenging border that I’ve began. Crossing physical borders have never been an issue and the journey has been the reward. So far, in pursuing Architecture I’ve labored a ton and haven’t quite felt the satisfaction that I’m looking for. I love the feeling of designing in school and at work which lets me know that I’m on the right path but I haven’t made enough impact in the real world to feel as though I’m making a difference. I feel like it’s going to be a long chase but I am confident that I will get the fulfillment that I am looking for as well as more challenges that will create a lifetime of borders to cross for me. Q: How has being a Native San Diegan influenced your interests in developing your person through subjecting yourself to various cultures?

A: Besides growing up in San Diego, I come from an immensely diverse family. My Mother is Mexican, My Father Filipino, My Step-Father is Italian and my Step-Mother is African American. I think this might have been a bigger factor to my openness about multiple cultures than my upbringing in San Diego. The combination of a variety of family and living in a border city have made the cross-culture, culture, my norm. I’ve never known what it was like to be “sheltered”. I basically had an extra set of parents from such different backgrounds which forced me to hear a variety of perspectives. I grew up noticing and believing that there wasn’t always an absolute answer to any question or situation. My interest in putting myself into different environments became my way of understanding the world and my place in it. Q: What do you feel are the advantages and disadvantages of having multiple parental perspectives? A: The biggest advantage of basically having four parents would be the experience of being totally exposed to four completely different people. I feel as though people in general have specific traits or characteristics that they are uniquely great at— so in that way I feel that I have been extremely lucky to be able to pull from a slightly larger parental pool than most people. My parents have always encouraged me to cultivate the traits from them that I thought were favorable and to eliminate the characteristics that I saw were disadvantageous. I think there is

an interesting and dynamic relationship that is unique when you have more “parents” as opposed to just a large family or many mentors. If nothing else, having everyday interactions and coordinating everyday plans through that many influences have definitely helped me from a social standpoint. I think one of the disadvantages is that I find that there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach to many things. There have been times where I have found myself over thinking situations trying to cycle through the “what would ____ do?” type of self-question. My father is more of an aggressive ‘take the bull by the horns’ type of person, my step father is more of a think it through type of person and my mom and step mom are both on whole other sides of their own spectrums. Sometimes, when dealing with difficult decisions, it seems like a conundrum of knowing so much that you don’t have time to just come up with a quick answer, so you feel like you don’t have an answer. Q: How do you feel about the negative connotations that come from divorce and children raised in households of divorcees? A: I feel that divorce itself is not something that is detrimental to a kid growing up. I think that a dysfunctional household is more of a problem. The issue of divorce becomes a problem when the parent’s interests detract from the care and general wellness of the child. I watched a comedy movie titled, A.C.O.D (Adult Children of Divorce). The movie was filled with hilarious scenes portraying the daily situations an adult child of divorce faces. Some of the awkward negative scenes were completely relatable but it didn’t show the situations where it was beneficial to have multiple parents. As in many situations there are times when something works, and when it doesn’t. I think I just got lucky, so it’s hard to see myself wanting my situation to be different when I feel that all parties involved turned out happy. Q: Do you think your outlook on life in general has been altered because you have been raised by two sets of parents? A: I don’t know if it has been altered. All of my parents encourage my pursuit of happiness and have always been supportive and adamant about me doing things that make me happy. Whether it is relationships, career pursuits or travel plans, I’ve always been motivated to achieve what I want and not to settle for less. They are always there for advice and there are times that their “advice” is unwavering but for the most part, they trust that I will make good choices. I think in that respect, I may have been a completely different person if I came from a family that had a prescriptive plan for me. Q: Do you feel that prescribed plans affect someone’s capability of being happy? A: No. I think some people want that type of structure in their life. I know people that enjoy the lack of choice making in their life. Sometimes it is nice to have a set of plans that get you to a set of guaranteed goals. I personally enjoy the variability of life. To some degree I am following a self-prescribed path but it is a path that I feel that has been created by myself with my personal interests. I feel as though I’ve received the basics of life and some good anecdotes from my parents but I enjoy the iterative life process of learning through trial and error. ●


43 Actions of Language | Participant/Author to Participant/Author Jonathan Gonzalez, 28 years old, Born in LA, moved to San Diego in 95’. This gloomy day in San Diego, October 4th 2016, I am speaking with my classmate Jonathan, in Balboa Park about the experience he’s had as a bilingual child and adult.

P: Are there any phrases that you use in one language that doesn’t translate to another language?

Paul Esteban: Do you feel that being bilingual defines you as a person or is it something that just have as a characteristic?

J: There are lot of sayings, and there is a lot of slang. Like, “no mames”. “no mames” is very vulgar and very dirty. It alludes to a sexual reference but in a slang way, it means like, “you got to be kidding” or things along that line. It means like “that’s cool” or “shut up”. It just doesn’t translate well.

Jonathan Gonzalez: I would say that it has shaped me because of the way I still stay in touch with people in my ESL class that I met in 2nd grade. Also, I’ve experienced an advantage for jobs I’ve applied to. I can tell that employers feel that I could help the business. I also know that it defines me to other people because other people often mistake me for being another race but when I speak Spanish, they can tell that I’m Mexican.

P: Do you have an experience in a setting where you didn’t know the language being used? J: Yes, in a sense that we are connected through a hobby. I do martial arts and when we have guests in from Japan there is difficulty communicating. I kind of felt that I was invisible because I couldn’t speak their language but knowing the language of karate helped me. Showing that you had good karate, or good form or good stances lead to a way of communicating and a way to get yourself noticed.

P: Has there been a time when a language barrier has been problem for you? J: Yes! Actually, when I was younger, there was a teacher’s assistant, whose English wasn’t good at all. She was like a transfer student or something and she knew English, French and Spanish. Her English wasn’t great…her French was good, actually she spoke Spanish and French very well. I remember that I could communicate to her in Spanish and there was a connection through language that we had. Communicating with her was such a cool experience. It was awesome to be able to communicate with her in her native language.

P: Do you think that there are other communication tools that are equally as valuable as language? J: Mostly gestures and small phrases. In karate, there are movements that you can do to define knowledge of the martial art. Specifically, when doing your Kata, you can hear the snap of the Gi[martial arts uniform] which is a determining factor of how successful the Kata is.

P: What language do you feel most at home with? J: That’s a really hard question because growing up I was used to Spanish. I always attended church hearing Spanish Masses and saying my prayers in Spanish. As for entertainment, I enjoy English shows. I like being able to joke around in both English and Spanish.

P: What made you continue to practice your Spanish although you live in America? J: My parents speak Spanish at home and that is the best way to communicate to them. Also, I wanted to keep in touch with my heritage and make sure that I know my family’s language. ●

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visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for another interview conducted by Paul Esteban and to download the full collection of 82 interviews

DRAW YOUR THOUGHTS

i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


44

INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

three border ers

P R EFACE & THAN K YO U We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

36

conv

ation s

with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

44

The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

Understanding Language: Thru Words, Body, Buildings

J o n a t ha n G onza le z

Jonathan Gonzalez is a 5th year student at Woodbury University School of Architecture. He is originally from Los Angeles, but raised in San Diego and a first generation American. He is currently Vice President of the American Institute of Architects Student Chapter (AIAS) of his school.

Border is an idea created by a person or group in order to keep people either separated or united.

ESL1 More like EFL2 | Self-Interview

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Jonathan Gonzalez, born in Los Angeles but raised in San Diego. He is 28 years old. He is first generation Mexican-American. His parents are from Jalisco, Mexico.

Q: When did you learn how to speak English?

A: I started learning English in first grade when I used to live in Los Angeles. A few of my classmates and I would have walk to a different classroom. I am not exactly sure why we had to go to a different classroom but we did that for the whole year. Then I moved to San Diego. I still did not know English very well and was put in a similar program but as a combination class with a group of third graders, who also were Spanish native speakers, it was called ESL (English Second Language). At the end of that year I passed knowing and understanding how to read, write, and spell English for someone my age. I think because I was so young it is hard to remember how exactly I felt at that point in time. I can look back and say relieved and glad. I felt relieved because well I didn’t have to do ESL anymore which also made me glad of course. Q: Can you remember some differences on how you were taught English between your two schools? A: When I was living in Los Angeles I attended Pico Rivera Elementary. I was one of eight that would visit a classroom full of English speakers. We didn’t have much interaction with the other kids though. I thought that was a bit strange. We would usually come during their silent reading time. That way their teacher had some one-on-one time with us. I went the whole year without knowing anyone from that classroom. For the most part we would draw pictures, write stories and recite them out loud to the teacher. It was more one on one, and not to the whole class. I remember that my friends and I resented going to our English class because it gave us a feeling of being unwanted. That we had to learn English to be accepted. I can recall clearly that we would take our time getting there and “get lost” getting back. The playground would be empty so we would play before going back to our homeroom. Then I moved over the summer of ‘95.

I attended Walker Elementary my ESL class was also my homeroom. It was made up of second and third graders alike. I remember that our teacher did record us reading aloud with tape recorders throughout the year. At the end they recorded us one last time but on camera. I can’t remember what I said but it was much like an interview. But I don’t know what I said, nor do I have the tapes/video. Now I wish I did. All I know is that after that I was given the okay and didn’t have to take ESL anymore. The ESL class in San Diego was a way better experience than the one in Los Angeles because it felt more comfortable being in surrounded with other who were dealing with the same problem. We made some strong bonds of friendships that to this day I am still good friends with three of my friends from that class. Q: Did you ever take Spanish class in school? A: Yes, but I never had the best grades though I should have. Just like in Cheech Martin’s song ‘Mexican -Americans.’ in one part he says “Mexican Americans love education so they go to night school. And they take Spanish and get a B.” I like the reference because it was after I had graduated from high school that I heard the actual song, not from his movie but from a friend. He explained it was from one of the Cheech and Chong movies. It’s a funny reference to me because the reality that native speakers feel confident or I should say the expectation of a native speakers to do well in their native language class should be of course easy. But I think it’s the self confidence that really hinders us in a different way. I admired the students who did better than me because the points that really made up the 1

English as Second Language

2

English as First Language

difference was accent marks within the words. When I was in middle school I had taken Spanish classes both my seventh and eighth grade year. The first time I took it, my teacher suggested that I should be placed in a more rigorous class because the basics would have been too easy. They were right. I was too cocky that I knew Spanish better than my classmates. That was eventually my own downfall. I felt like I lacked the basics mostly in spelling because of accent marks over the letters. The second year I took Spanish I had no choice and was obligated to take a more challenging course. Even though there was no official class we were still part of the regular class. Our teacher had us sitting apart from the non natives speakers, and of course supplied us with different work to do. We were held at at much higher standard because we had an advantage over the non native speakers in that we should be held accountable to better ourselves in our own language and not be so ignorant not knowing how to read or write in our native language. We read more and wrote more too because of that advantage. It was funny that we “the advantaged” students felt like we were being punished more than anything else. Taking Spanish classes in middle school did help me place higher when I took Spanish in high school. I wasn’t required to take the beginning classes and went straight to the higher level Spanish classes. Some of the students were surprised to see a freshman in their class. After my freshman year I had sufficed my language requirement for graduation. So I didn’t have to take any more language classes in my later years. I decided to take the AP Spanish in my senior year. Being part of the AVID program was the real reason that I took the class but I’m really glad I did. Because though I did well in that I passed and that’s all I cared about. It meant because I had passed I wouldn’t be required to take it again it at a university level. Q: Do your parents know English? A: They do and they don’t. My parents don’t speak English very well. They can understand and they comprehend English, it’s just the actual speaking part that’s difficult for them. And I think that goes without saying as a standard for anyone who is learning different a language. The biggest consensus is that they hear themselves and dislike or get frustrated not sounding “natural.” Although even their English is not good it has not hindered them in either getting a job nor ascending to a higher position. My mom struggles more so than my dad but I think that’s because he’s had more practice. She struggles in speaking English, she understands for the most part but she rarely practices it. I remember that he learned English when I was about five because that was about the time he was going through naturalization to become an American citizen. Language was his last border he had to overcome. During most of my childhood my mom stayed at home taking care of me and my sisters, she only spoke to us only in Spanish and still does. Over the years she has gotten better but alas still struggles though not by much. Both my parents work at the same place but in different departments. I have probably met all of their coworkers multiple times over the many times I have visited them and have noticed that majority of my parent’s friends are also native Spanish speakers. So what good is English in a place where the majority of the employees are native Spanish speakers. Most of these native Spanish speakers are either first-second generation “youngsters” or they are recent naturalized immigrants mostly from Mexico. I think it’s funny how majority of my parent’s closest friends are also from the same state that they’re from. All from nearby towns near each other. Q: How did English affect you growing up?


45

A: As I grew up my English naturally got better and better. But it started to have effect on my Spanish. In Los Angeles I was taught to read and write in Spanish. I had a teacher give me a book of exercises before I departed for San Diego. I would practice every once in awhile, you know here and there but not often. I was so immersed with English going from school and to home. I read and watched things in English. My thoughts eventually became English as well. The only times I would be speaking Spanish was to just my parents and aunt/uncles. I had stopped speaking Spanish at school. I was getting so bad at speaking Spanish, I secretly think my parents decided to send me back to the motherland of Mexico during the summer vacations and get to know where they grew up. Spanish was unavoidable. This way I was forced to listen, speak and interact with people in Spanish 24/7. Which at the end of every summer rendered my English rather useless because I was having trouble remembering/translating words from Spanish to English and vice versa every summer I went back. I began to see a struggle within myself between which languages in which one would be more dominant. I think about it now, I was considerably young when I made a clear preference about certain things. Like for example I prefer watching television in English rather than in Spanish. But I can’t “understand” Mass in English because I only know prayers and biblical stories in Spanish and none in English. Which makes sense, my parents being Catholic going to Spanish mass is a no brainer. Especially living in a community that majority of its population was Hispanic decent. Many churches nowadays offer Mass in different languages not just English. English had become the clear winner as I kept getting older.

considered the majority of the shows rather annoying. Mostly because they would sometimes coincide with shows I wanted to watch. So even if I flipped the channel they would run and tell on me. I think in retrospect learning English early on was a mistake for them. They can barely speak Spanish. They can understand just fine. It’s just a bit sad that they can’t communicate well. They fail to see the benefits of actually knowing two languages well. One of them took more initiative and took Spanish courses at Cal State San Marcos. She wants to become some sort of translator and/or a Spanish teacher. So her Spanish has gotten better not a whole lot but at least she’s progressing. She can now read and write (finally) much better than her older counterpart. [I should mention that they’re twins.] I took it upon myself to stop speaking English to them and speak more in Spanish. Not only am I helping them but I’m also helping myself out. Win - Win. Q: Can you speak other languages? A: Yes but not proficiently. I can speak a little bit of Italian and I am beginning to see how easy it is to pick up Portuguese. I took two semesters of Italian at Palomar College. I picked Italian because, well there wasn’t much to choose from but also it was very similar to Spanish in that it stemmed from Latin. So it had similar vocabulary and grammar rules to Spanish and English. Verb conjugations were addressed pretty similar and of course there were a few curve balls and irregularities. When I finally transferred to Woodbury I was commuting for the first semester about an hour all the way from Temecula. I wanted to continue to learn Italian so I would play audio taped conversations and speak along with the characters. I have sadly faltered from that path and should hone in on practicing more. I haven’t had a whole lot of practice but all in honesty I can pick up majority of what is being said. Not clearly but somewhat. People who are native Portuguese speaker have all said that they can definitely understand Spanish without having any prior teaching or classes because again it being derived from Latin there are more similarities than there are differences. I think one big difference I notice when hear Portuguese is that in a way it is spoken much like French. French is spoken in a way that you don’t pronounce every letter in a word so like the last letters or letter is dropped. In a way it is a way to distinguish a native from a learned speaker. Unlike speaking Spanish or Italian where there is a clear pronunciation on every letter.

Q: What do you enjoy the most being bilingual? A: This is a tough question. There are many things not like one aspect, for example when I was young I had fun with telemarketers, still do sometimes (out of boredom). I started doing this because I would be the only one in my household that was able to speak English at the house. Eventually I grew tired of saying the same thing over and over. Telemarketers would call asking for my folks and I would respond that they “aren’t home”. More so for the fact that because as a kid we don’t understand the adult world and are very naive and stupid that I remember times that I would get in “trouble” because I had answered honestly and said that my parents were home, thus forcing them to have to speak English to someone a complete stranger and either have a tough time being understood or trying to understand someone brutally butcher Spanish so much that that they became appalled. In hindsight I didn’t realize how hypocritical that was. Not wanting to have an interaction with someone where there was no common language between the two parties and having to rely that one or the other or both knew a common language to speak in. Both attitudes reflect that there is a discomfort in those kind of conversations.

Q: Spanish speakers have an accent when they speak English, why do you think you don’t have one? A: I think the reason that I don’t have an accent when I speak English is because I learned it at such a young age. The irony though is that I do however have an accent when I speak Spanish. I’m referred that I sound like a “pocho”. A pocho is like a slang term for Mexican - Americans that can’t speak Spanish even though their whole family at home does speaks it. It holds somewhat of a bad connotation because it is meant to be derogatory. I’ve been called pocho before. It’s really because of the accent I have though not because I can’t speak Spanish. It doesn’t really bother me being called pocho, frankly because it’s really only my family and close friends that have said it to me. In way it became a bit of motivation to get better at speaking my native tongue. So I try my best to think in both languages from time to time.

45

My answers became more and more creative. Where it started to become more of a game on how long I can waste their time. My goal was to make them eventually stop calling all together. So instead of answering in English, I would speak Spanish to them. It was fun hearing people struggle because they’re caught off guard. I felt victorious at the end of the conversations where they couldn’t think of something to say so they would be the ones to hang up on me right off the bat. Some actually surprise me and would actually respond back in Spanish in those cases I was forced to default back to saying that my folks weren’t home. Other times my goal was to see how long I can keep them on the phone for. I think that became my favorite game growing up. Q: How did you sisters learn English?

Q: Have you ever been “lost in translation”?

A: Translating isn’t hard, it’s just difficult at times. Especially when I was younger. I had trouble coming up with the words/phrases as a way to explain the main concepts of what people said from one to the other. For example I find it difficult to talk about architecture to my family because I’ve only been educated in English. Especially trying to talk to members of my family that don’t speak English at all. Trying to talk to them about architecture in Spanish makes me sound like a pocho, because I struggle so hard thinking of what to say and how to say it. I usually end up saying things really short and concise so that way they won’t have to ask me more questions and watch me squirm more. ●

A: My sisters learned English a little differently than I did. They never had to take ESL. They didn’t have to go to a different classroom to read, write, and speak. My sisters learned English really early on in their lives. They were in pre-kindergarten when I was in third grade. So their exposure with English started there. I remember they would watch television a lot and they quickly absorbed English through educational toddler shows, like on KPBS or Nick Jr. I

Wanderlust, Jargon, and Architecture | Participant/Author to Participant/Author Paul Esteban born and raised in San Diego, California. Paul is 30. Paul and I came to Panama 66 in Balboa Park to analyze our project site for school a little more after our studio class on Tuesday the 27th of September 2016. Jonathan Gonazalez: What do you hope to accomplish by crossing your mental border with Architecture?

J: What, do you mean? why would be considered challenging to define a style?

Paul Esteban: With architecture I would have to say I’m developing something that I could feel like other people enjoy as much as I do. I want other people to...I kinda want to bring people into my world. I want them to see things through a certain lens, through my perspective and be able to enjoy it. It’s something that’s personal that I want to share with other people, and I think once I’m able to do a built structure that I feel satisfied with that then I’ll feel as though I’ve begun to cross that border with architecture because I don’t think there’s gonna be a particular moment when I cross that border and it’s like “it’s done..that’s what I did.

P: The styles are considered difficult to read because to the untrained eye all houses seem to have almost the same look throughout a neighborhood. The main archetypes that I can remember off the top of my head are like Renaissance, Colonial, Neoclassical, Victorian, Art and Crafts, Prairie, and Modernist. Each style has their own unique indicators. So only by knowing how to read and understanding the different languages of the aesthetic ornaments one is able to categorize a house style. Like for me, I think it’s difficult to differentiate the right style. Many styles have similar aesthetics, shapes, materials etc, that make it really difficult to pinpoint just one answer.

J: What does it mean to cross your border with architecture?

J: What is maybe the easiest to determine?

P: Now that I think about it I mean I would like to take into their accounts of what they would like especially if I build for a client but I think my border is mentally personal I think I’d want to introduce them into the way I see things in a positive light and introduce something that creates positivity through architecture that enhances the experience. I mean like ideally, I would love to build a museum or something that I enjoy myself. A music venue, something cool you know..? That I could bring them into, so that when people leave they are still mesmerized by how amazing it was. Kudos to the architect.

P: I’m really bad at trying to determine types of styles, but the ones I can easily pick out are houses with a Neoclassical style because it’s easy to recognize the columns and over the top decoration. This architectural ornaments look similar and pertain to Greek or Roman architecture. But even then Renaissance style can be also a legitimate answer. They were particular in Greek and Roman revival as well. I can’t fully determine one from the other. The only thing that really helps is knowing history well enough to know when things were built so that really helps me out. From all the traveling I do I can start to see this blending of styles and how and where they come from. It’s really interesting how the structures of the past and present have shown up in modern times as different languages.

J: As a fellow architecture student in your opinion do you think architecture has it’s own language? P: Yes as emerging young professionals we do tend to speak a bit differently. Our vernacular extends out and becomes greater the more knowledge we gain because of theories of practice that we read and are instilled and drilled into us that they then become their own “isms” and its understanding these past principles and basic ideas that contribute in aiding us to understand architecture better as a whole. But it comes with any career choice. There is a lingo that gets used on a regular basis that outsiders would or kinda might have a slight idea of what the conversation could be about. Even us as students working in an office there’s a whole other level that we have to get used to. J: What about buildings, do buildings have a language? P: I think they do in a way we are able to tell what kind of style a building has. We can infer how to read architecture subtle clues of styles. Buildings have aesthetic look of reference that are more considered like visual patterns to look for when maybe describing a structure. A lot a of information can be read through a building’s facade. Like when it was probably built and how and with what type of materials that are a bit easier to determine.

J: How has language affected your experiences abroad? P: It affects one tremendously. I knew limited amount of Spanish my mom being Mexican. And when I went to Barcelona, I was digging in the bottoms of my pockets to remember anything I could. In order to communicate to figure out where I am going. Something, anything I tried so hard. So language is invaluable when you’re traveling to your experiences and learning how to communicate with people besides gestures and stuff any where from Europe to South America to Southeast Asia. Going to Europe was much easier than going to Southeast Asia just because of the Latin based roots. Southeast Asia just the characters and stuff were a whole different thing. It was hard to convey your points like how you were saying in your interview to communicate and joke around...your personality is based on your ability to communicate effectively to the party you’re trying to communicate to. So you can’t communicate effectively that effectively makes you a less of a presence in the room ya know..? Right like you said being invisible. So it all ties in communication is key whether gestures, karate, spoken, non verbal actions, looks the first thing people do is judge you and figure you out where you come from. Tourist or Native. ..continues

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for this remainder and another conducted by Jonathan Gonzalez and to download the full collection of 82 interviews i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


46

INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

b o r dveerr sFaO U R

P R EFACE & THAN K YO U We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

17

con

with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

46

The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

tions

Tra n s na t io na l s

The Journey of Finding Oneself

Vale ria Or tega

Valeria Ortega is an emergent artist and art student who explores and addresses diversity and identity primarily around gender and human relationships, the body and how masculinity and femininity are perceived in the western culture while living the border experience between Tijuana and San Diego, constantly trying to figure out her own identity and with the intention to reach and share with more individuals who could be affected by similar struggles.

I conceive border as a limitant we might let take control of ourselves or a struggle we learn to overcome, and these are indubitably directed by the social constructs we are taught along our lives.

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Not in a box neither in the closet | Self-Interview

Valeria Ortega, born in Tijuana. She is currently an art student in UABC Tijuana (Universidad Autónoma de Baja California) and has just over a year to complete her degree in fine arts. She was part of PPAC's1 (Programa de Producción de Arte Contemporáneo) second generation by Relaciones Inesperadas2.

Q: How would you define identity?

A: Well this is something that I’m constantly thinking about. There are many things that could determinate someone’s identity, I think is related especially to how you could synthesize what you believe conforms you as a being, in a cultural and socially way. I am Mexican but for a long time I didn’t felt that way. I was born and raised in Tijuana and I’ve always thought that this land is neither from Mexico or United States, is literally in the middle and that inevitably affects everyone so I didn't´felt completely Mexican even though I am. I’m proud and sure about it now and is something new for me as I’ve been able to spend more time in the U.S., seeing how people across the border express themselves and interact with others3 made me realize how Mexican I am. I’m a Mexican queer artist who is also currently identifying as gender fluid. I think is more relevant for me to say that I’m queer if I’m talking about who I am, because it’s implied in almost everything I do, the way I see things, my work as an artist, my interests, almost everything. Probably these aspects are the first that come to mind whenever I think about my self-identity. Q: Why is that you being queer it’s such an important part of you? What does Queer mean?

A: It's hard to explain. I think people just assume that everyone is straight until proven wrong, I've seen it all my life. If you don't show it in a way that you are Queer, then it is like if you aren't, so it's more important for me to highlight this aspect of myself. It's important to make visible that we are here and we exist and I'm pretty aware that not everyone feels the need to do this. Queer used to be a derogatory word but the LGBTQ community adapted it, we own it now, we added it to our own sense of describe what we are and even though it’s still a bad word for some people, for others like me is a word that could mean you are not straight or cis gender, there are many possibilities and with Queer I don't feel I need to specify more. I mean, I feel more related to a queer community4 that to the country I was born in. I feel more the need to let know people that I’m queer than Mexican, I really don’t mind where people think I am from. I say this because a big amount of the population is straight and we are taught in the western world to expect that most people are heterosexual, following certain gender roles. A common comment that people make is not everything needs to be gay but the reality is that most things are directed to a straight and cis gender audience! I feel the need to remark my queerness because it’s something that is needed and I would like to have more of that when I was discovering who I was while growing up. Is not a new thing but people call it “trendy” now because is a subject that has come to light more often in the past decades and well, anyone feel threatened to what’s different from what they are or what they are more familiar with. Q: You keep saying cis gender, what is that? What does that mean? A: Well cis gender is a term used to describe people that their gender identity how they perceive themselves it fits to their sex or the gender they were assigned in the moment they were born. You know that moment when the doctor look at your genitals and scream its a girl or a boy based on if you have a penis or a vagina. Q: I understand you live in the borderlands, how are the LGBTQ spaces that you can access in both Tijuana and San Diego? A: Well, I recently found out there is a really friendly space for the community in Tijuana but is extremely limited as I see it, is just a small area in downtown, around Plaza Santa Cecilia, Calle Primera and Calle Segunda. But they are only bars or nightclubs filled mostly with gay cis men or curious people, and some stores around might have a rainbow flag but that's it. I

find that area unsafe so I avoid it. I went because I was looking for these spaces I didn't saw anywhere in the city and it was quite disappointing, but something is better than nothing. I like it more in San Diego though and I really don’t say it to glorify the U.S. because I would never do that on purpose, I just feel definitely safer walking at night in Hillcrest than in Plaza Santa Cecilia, it might have the same level of risk but it doesn't feel like that, I feel more accepted in San Diego. Even Pride, I never find out when Tijuana Pride is happening, it just happens and there isn't that much of advertisement and San Diego Pride is way bigger. I think the problem is that the community in Tijuana is not that united, there aren't that many groups and people just isn’t really interested in doing it, there is an elitist way of thinking that don't really allow to unify us all and it is something that we definitely need to work out as all together. Q: What do you mean with that last part, when you describe people of the community being elitist? A: I see how we don't really like each other that much, is like I'm gay by myself and then there are those gays, I don't know if I'm explaining myself, again this is the way I see it, it doesn’t mean it is really like this. I don't get along with many people of the LGBTQ community in Tijuana either because it feels like everyone has their own conception that isn't completely respectful of the differences of others within the community, and also they aren't really interested on fighting for our rights, at least not the people I know, only the older ones. Maybe it just really bother me that most people within the community doesn't really care about the whole situation and they don't really educate themselves around other aspects of the queer community, like gender, that sometimes makes things complicated for me. Q: You mentioned before that you identify “currently” as gender fluid. How does that work? And is this somehow related to what you call “your queerness”? A: Yes it is related. I use queer as an umbrella term for anything that is not straight or cis gender related. As queerness I am referring to my gender, sexual and romantic orientation5. As in gender identity I say currently because it’s not something static, nor is gender or sexual orientation, or at least it hasn’t been to me. I’ve identify as straight, bisexual, gay, lesbian6, until now that I just say I'm queer, just like that I’ve been through all those sexual identities because I felt the need to put myself in a box and I couldn't find one that fitted me completely. I’m still doing it, because we are immersed in a social and communication system where is required to label ourselves, so I just try to have an open option now. By saying I’m queer I’m just saying I ain't straight, and is perfect for me because I’m also not cis gender. Q: What do you mean by saying that you identified yourself as straight, bisexual, lesbian, gay and queer? How does that work? Is it even possible? A: Of course it is! I've learn that sexuality isn't static, it changes for a lot of people during their lifetime, it's been like that for me and it made me really confused at first because I really felt like I had to be sure about it and I wasn't. First I assumed I liked boys because that what we are taught as girls and I was also identifying as a girl, and at that time it was so internalized that I didn't know better. Then I started to feel like I might like girls too and even though I always knew I really didn't liked boys like I liked girls, I tried to convinced myself it was like that, and I want to clarify is not like this for everyone, this was just part of my process to get where I am now. It wasn't until I accepted that I didn't liked boys in that way that I started to


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identify myself as gay and it took a while to say the word lesbian, but that didn't last, it just didn't suited me. Until I realized that I was being so hard on myself to just pleased a system where I had to specify a label on myself so people didn't felt confused about me, is when I accepted that I didn't had to do it so specifically and I started going by queer as a global term to describe me. Q: What does it mean to be gender fluid for you? A: The common definition of what gender fluid means is that you identify as different genders depending on how you are feeling in a certain day. It is also part of the non-binary identities It was hard to come to the terms with this identity. For me it is the closest thing that I feel related to and easier to take in. I’m currently in reconstructing the gender that was assigned to me at birth which is female, I would prefer to don’t pick a box but like I said before, most of the times you have to do it in this society we live in and I even see it more marked with gender matters. I say I’m currently gender fluid because probably in a short time I won’t identify like that, I used to be more between female and non-binary but I’m going more and more outside the binary. I’ve change a lot in the past years and is something that you can easily notice if you knew me before I started finding myself, I’m constantly trying to externalize what is happening in me and if it's necessary, which it is, explain it to people, but it is still hard. I haven't even talked to my family directly about this, I just know it's hard to understand and it would be even harder for them If I sit them all together and tell them, I don't identify exactly as a woman but my pronouns are still primarily female. I talk about gender and non-binary identities7 every time I can and I realize that even my sister who is a lesbian and we are part of the same community, she doesn't even really get it, that also happens with many gay and lesbian friends of mine, so it makes me think a lot how this subject is complicated. But I mean, I know that many people, even if they are from the LGBTQ community aren't really familiar with what this whole spectrum of gender is. Q: You say that you are fitting in a box that is demanded but also these alternative gender identities outside the binary aren’t exactly in a box, considering that male and female are the commonly gender identities said valid and real. How do you deal with this? Is it a problem? A: It is a problem. I present myself mostly as what is considerate masculine but I rather act in a feminine way and that had put me in complicated and awkward situations. When it comes to go to public bathrooms I might choose if they are gendered. I deeply hate this process. I’ve had conflicts with people about gender neutral bathrooms because it’s something that they don’t approve and that don’t see it necessary, but they are. I’ve had discussions about it with

colleagues and they always come up with the abuse card and that is problematic, some people assume that if we have more gender neutral bathrooms there will be more abuse reports, and that is not the point. If that's the worry people have, is offensive, to think that it's related. So maybe if we can't make all the bathrooms gender neutral, adding the option could be the solution. I think gender neutral bathrooms are necessary because I get into anxiety every time I need to use the bathroom and I know I'm not the only one. Mostly I get in the women’s room because I feel more comfortable in it but is common if I get derogatory confused looks or I get yelled that it’s the ladies room. In good days nothing like that happens, but I always try to go with someone. It’s easier for me to get unnoticed in the men’s room and I often do it in nights out or when the other one is in use, but I would definitely prefer to have the option of a neutral bathroom because I don't enjoy peeing in urinals. Another common situation I affront is with my IDs. Sometimes people think they aren’t mine because they look at the picture or read the name and then sees someone they aren’t expecting. It happens a lot when I cross to the U.S. CBP officers question me about my name to know if it is my real documents. I don’t understand exactly how useful is to mark gender in IDs, sometimes I don’t understand exactly what the obsession of knowing someone’s gender when they present themselves in an ambiguous way, I know that many people are curious and that is an important part to know how to communicate with someone, but also many think that gender has to do with genitals, so when they ask you if you are a boy or a girl, probably what they are wanting to know is what we have in our pants, that’s a weird thing for me now8. Q: Because even language is gendered, how could it be? Can you imagine a world without these implications? A: I think this is something all gender nonconforming9 folks wish with. It would save many awkward situations, suicides and attacks to our community. I once saw a documentary about advertisement and gender and I mostly only remember how it started because it marked me. The film starts saying how our society is so gendered that when we meet someone and we can't fit them in the box of male or female we don't know how to communicate and the system falls so people get altered. Personally I think that this reaction is already a fail in the system, and I know that changing these aspects in something so universal as language is impossible, so the solution it might be as bathrooms, add another one, add a third gender that could be neither male or female, nothing too specific and normalize it. People should learn at school that sex and gender are different things, that sex means biological aspects as genitals, chromosomes or hormones and gender is in each individual, that is constructed and it depends on your context, where you live and your culture, they aren't the same and is extremely important to be aware of this. ●

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Height should be just a number | Participant/Author to Participant/Author Grant Adam Chinn is currently doing a bachelor degree on Cognitive Science in UCSD (University of California San Diego). He grew up and lived in the Bay area in a suburban town near to San Francisco until he turned 18. He spent many of his years immerse in team sports. Valeria Ortega: Do you keep practicing team sports?

Grant Chinn: I don’t actually, because, well I was on a team. For the first three years of college I was in Ultimate Frisbee10 team and I completely gave up track and field and baseball. So I decided to join sports in college, just trying to, you know I just enjoy playing sports because they're fun, right. But these kind of discriminations that happened within sports, weren’t enough to discourage me from doing it. Something did feel wrong in that environment, because I would still hear a lot of people making jokes about my height and stuff, people questioning it. Also there is something about sports culture, I feel people are less accepting of people like me, or just less accepting of people in general, I’m not really exactly sure what it is, I mean I think it has to do with the competition aspect of it. I’m allowed as someone on a team to appreciate my teammates because of their performance in a sport, but that can be seen separately on how a person actually is.

V: What it means to be like you? in what you say of not being completely accepted, it has to do with the discriminations you mentioned before? G: To be like me means to be short (5 foot 3 inches tall) and Chinese. Yes, not being completely accepted in the sports world was definitely due to the fact that my teammates always doubted what I could do in sports because of my physical attributes, being both small and Asian. These aren’t qualities that are normally seen in athletes, at least in the contexts I was playing sports in. People would doubt my athletic ability because someone of my height shouldn’t be able to jump far or run fast in the eyes of taller athletes.

V: So, you've always heard these comments about your height in your daily life? Not only in the sports area but in life in general.

G: Yeah, people still make comments about it. Is interesting how it does affect people to see you, because it is super important, like in dances or homecomings, to find or ask to all these dances, like how am I supposed to dance to this girl that is taller than me. It does make it pretty difficult I'm not gonna lie, Or I guess we can come up with a new form of dancing. Then they wanna wear high heels, and they are like man I can't wear high heels because my date is only like an inch taller than me. I guess I could get more creative on how approach at these kinds of situations, like maybe I could get High heels. But then that would be me not accepting my height so. V: Does that make you feel shame? G: For a while it did. I think I’m definitely at a place I recognize it and I know and I’m just like, ok yeah I’m 5`3 that’s how it is and I joke about it. V: It took you a while to embrace and accept your height?

G: It did, especially being in sports culture. Because there were times where I would be wishing that I could grow, and a lot of time I would blame my mom because she is short and I would be like, mom why. When I should have been just like, it is what it is, just focus in what I can do, but it took me a while to just see that as that is who I was. V: You keep mentioning the “Sports culture” what does that mean? What is your conception of it? G: Sports culture to me is a thing that represents the competitive and thus sort of unempathetic side of society. When many parts of the culture are about trying to be better than another team or individual, it brings about this feeling of inferiority and trying to compare oneself to the accomplishments of others. A lot of the rhetoric within sports culture is very unfeeling. It forces people to give up a part of who they are in order to fit in with a team. And to be part of the team, it is hard to be outspoken about who I am as an individual. For example, when I was part of a football team in high school, my fellow teammates would always tell me that I should switch over to play a different position because my height was better suited for the position, and eventually I did switch because I thought I couldn’t succeed in that position anymore. I wanted to play the position where most of the players were way bigger, way taller than I was, and everything I was hearing told me I couldn’t redefine how that position was played in my own style because I couldn’t benefit the team in the best way possible. V: People have this perception that a man should be tall, does that make you feel out in this game of masculinity? G: It does, I'll admit it still does. There are times, I like a girl and if she is taller than me, I still feel skeptical, like I’m not a completely awful personality but I’m short, so I don’t wanna take that extra step like make them a partner you know. Just because is not seen I guess, like the prototypical male – female relationship11. So I only see shorter girls as someone I would want to get involved with. V: How would you define what masculinity is? Is height that important? And it has to do with you idea of the “prototypical male?” G: I define masculinity through how I see it defined in the sports world. And this is not necessarily anything I agree with, but I see masculinity in the sports world as someone who carries a lot of physical attributes to allow them to succeed in sports. Someone who is masculine in sports is someone who can take care of one goal, and that goal is to win the game and make it look easy doing so, possibly by dominating others. So yes, height is incredibly important because it is what many perceive to be incredibly important to the success of an athlete because statistically height is what enables us or is correlated to us being able to succeed in the sports that are popular in American culture - football, baseball, and basketball. And it’s true I think we see the prototypical athlete, like Lebron James, who has a body that doesn’t even seem real (he’s like 6 foot 8, 250 pounds of pure muscle), and this is the kind of athlete that will succeed in and appear effortless in the constraints of a basketballgame. ...continues

1

Program of Contemporary Art Production, it’s an education program for anyone who is interested in learn how to create art by Relaciones Inesperadas. Relaciones Inesperadas is a small institution based in Tijuana for creative people and artists. 3 Mexicans have the characteristic of being really physical beings (we tend to shake hands,kiss or hug each other to say hello, sometimes all combined) 4 Queer community as a general idea of LGBTQ community. 5 Most of the times sexual orientation and romantic orientation are seen as one thing, but for some people they are different. Sexual orientation is related to who they are attracted to sexually and the romantic orientation is related to who they fall in love with. 6 I would like to clarify that the next definitions are added for the understatement of these concepts as I define them myself and how I perceived them at a certain moment. Straight- people who are attracted to the opposite gender in terms of the binary (man and woman). Bisexual- people who feel attracted to two genders including theirs. Gay- people who are attracted to their same gender. Lesbian- woman who are attracted to another woman. 7 Non-binary identities are any identity that doesn't fit what it commonly means to be a man or a woman. 8 Before I had a wider conception and understood what gender really is I used to understand it as most people do, like if sex and gender were the same. 9 People who aren't completely comfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth. 10 Kind of an obscure, fast paced sport that combines the team and passing of a Frisbee to your teammates. There ia an aspect of soccer with the goal of scoring in an end zone like American Football. 11 The conception that the man has to be taller than the woman if they are a couple. 2

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for this remainder and another conducted by Valeria Ortega and to download the full collection of 82 interviews i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


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INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

b o r dveerr sFaO U R

P R EFACE & THAN K YO U We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

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The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

Tra n s n a t io na l s

Confronting Privilege & Crossing Norms

Gra n t C hinn

Grant Chinn is 22 years old, graduating in June 2017 with a degree in Cognitive Science with a specialization in Human-Computer Interaction. He wants to work in the tech world to understand how it works and to shape his critical lens of the industry. He hopes to one day bridge the perspectives of tech and humanities to make technology inclusive and understanding.

Border is an entity that prevents ideas from coming into conversation with each other, maintaining embedded ways of thinking on each respective side of the border.

Pressure | Self-Interview

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Grant Chinn is 22 years old, born and raised in a town called Pleasanton, California which is in the Bay Area. He grew up doing everything a suburban kid was supposed to do in order to get to college and be set up for life: get good grades, stay out of trouble, and participate in some extracurricular activities. He currently lives in La Jolla, California and is a student at UC San Diego, graduating in June 2017 with a degree in Cognitive Science with a specialization in Human-Computer Interaction.

A: Let’s start out broad. How would you classify a border in your life?

Q: I think that a border is something that separates people from being able to have a conversation between differing ideas. And this can take the form of conversation internally or externally between two people’s concepts and norms. The first thing that comes to mind is how this idea has manifested itself through me in the sports world. I grew up in a town where everyone was expected to be part of a team of some kind and thus I played baseball, football, and competed in track and field. I think the culture of my town was that sports promote teamwork and other kinds of intangibles to help us children in later life, but there are things engrained within sports culture that I think promote and elevate a culture that keeps others out. Granted, I was very privileged to be able to play sports where we needed to pay a lot for all the equipment and travel fees. Yet there was another level; when I played baseball, my teammates would come to practice and talk about how they had personal hitting coaches. At age 8. Talk about fostering talent early. I would feel inferior to my peers and ask my parents why I didn’t have a hitting coach, I wanted to have the same advantages. My parents said we could accomplish the same thing if we just went out and practiced at the park with my dad, but let’s be honest my dad didn’t know how to engineer my movements to train me to swing the bat in the most energy efficient way. I essentially had to rely on my raw athleticism to compete with everyone else, but being smaller than everyone else, I had to deal with other barriers to feel like I belonged in sports. Q: Interesting that you would bring up privilege as a border. You touched on your height, so it sounds like a border takes other forms outside of just money opportunities. A: I want to first say that in talking about being discriminated against in the context of sports, I feel incredibly privileged, because it is an enormous privilege to be able to compete with others in able-bodied leagues. But yes, so at 5’3” right now and being smaller than all my teammates throughout my sports career, I would hear my height being thrown at me at every accomplishment. People express surprise in saying things like, “wow you jump so far for being so tiny!” “for a short guy, you can jump pretty far, imagine what you could do if you were taller.” It took a toll on me since there were expectations that I couldn’t ever expect to meet, especially when I got to high school and started playing sports with people who hit growth spurts in much more exponential ways than I. The will to compete and get better for yourself is much more difficult when others are telling you that you will never realize what could have been. The anticipated growth spurt that would make me the best in the sport never showed up. My teammates in track and field assumed the roles of prototypical athletes: tall and lanky. But it makes sense in sports, where the most obvious connection is that physical attributes within a specific mold signify the greatest potential and athleticism. When I watch basketball I always hear the announcers marveling at the potential of an athlete who is incredibly tall. How those athletes could shatter all expectations and change the fundamental nature of how the game is played. In some ways I think that people would say those things because they can’t conceptualize a short athlete being able to compete with the prototypical athlete. It is a dissonance that their prototypical body that was told by the sports culture to be able to succeed could get beat by a body that wasn’t supposed to be there. Q: So can you go more in depth about what it means to be a prototypical athlete?

A: I think to be a prototypical athlete, one must try to fit the standards of the sport. In track and field as a jumper, it always meant having long legs and lanky limbs, and if one was not modeled like the unrealistic standard of the role models – the olympic jumpers – then it is definitely easy to feel ashamed of oneself. My coach neglected training me for the more “promising” jumpers because my potential was not viewed as being comparable or worth the time. He couldn’t have known about my potential to jump unless he attempted to train me with the others. I felt helpless and confined to my identity as a short, lesser-potentialed jumper. There was a feeling of shame about who I was; it was the person I couldn’t change. I think it makes it even worse that within the culture of sports, being lesser than your peers in a competition setting is even more damaging to the self. Q: What do you mean being lesser than your peers? A: There is a certain way that people act in sports, towards the people they are better than. It is sort of scornful because the way competition frames people, it makes people feel like they have to act a certain way. That way of acting is kind of emotionless and unfeeling for the competition, and for others. Sometimes it gets so extreme that people will not care about what it takes to win. It’s easy as the winner to be focused on the personal struggle about why you won and what it took to get there. I know that no winner in track and field ever acknowledged that they won because they know their competition had lesser training and didn’t get started training early enough in their lives. Q: So how do we then combat issues like the discrimination that arises within sports? A: Well the thing is, sports is this strange realm where nobody wants to acknowledge why there are differences, or even just discuss topics that relate to sports that may seem political. Whenever I would hear ethical issues being brought up such as Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the National Anthem, people would roll their eyes and say, “stick to sports.” They didn’t stop to think that there was a reason why he was protesting; people criticized him for disobeying the nation. I see it in investigations of sports scandals, like how the players who commit sexual crimes are only suspended for a year. Those who are kicked out of the school are simply forgiven by another school that wants them to play for their program. When I was in high school, the best athletes would be excused from messing around in class. They had this sense of arrogance about them. Something about sports makes people into celebrities who don’t think they have to abide by the rules of normal society. Maybe because they are idolized so much and put on a pedestal for simply being more gifted than others. So I think that it’s hard to bring these idolized prototypes down to earth and place them within the confines of our society. Even for me who didn’t necessarily succeed to the highest degree in sports, it was easy to forget that the two worlds of sports and “real life” are not separate. I would have my sports personality–super competitive and showed unfiltered emotion – and my normal personality–laid back and quiet. Something about the sports world when you play within it takes you out of reality. The reason I played sports was to take a break from daily life, but being discriminated against for my height told me that I could never escape it. ●


49 Embracing Difference | Participant/Author to Participant/Author Valeria, born in Tijuana. She is currently an art student in UABC (Universidad Autónoma de Baja California) and has just over a year to complete her degree in fine arts. She was part of PPAC´s (Programa de Producción de Arte Contemporáneo; it's a program for anyone who is interested to learn how to create art) second generation by Relaciones Inesperadas (a small institution based in Tijuana for creative people and artists).

Grant Chinn: You mentioned that you identify more closely with the queer community than the community of your own country. So how do the norms of your country make you feel that you can’t express yourself fully? Valeria Ortega: I don’t think it’s exactly like in my country, but I feel more free as in I can be more myself being in the U.S. than in Mexico because most of the time if I do it in the U.S., people don’t care, they’re just like ok, but in mexico they look at you and I’m not saying it’s not in the U.S., but it’s less than in Mexico. I think I know more about how the queer community is in the U.S. than in Mexico because there aren’t as many documents or information about it in Mexico than here and not even about the laws. I just think that the queer community is just a general community around the world than just in a singular place, so I feel more free in the queer community and expressing myself and being queer in the queer community. You know in Mexico I’m a little scared to be outside. If I have armpit hair and leg hair, and it’s hot outside, I need to prepare myself for that. But if I’m in a more inclusive space like the Pride Festival, then I don’t care. G: So in San Diego, you feel that people care less about the physical appearance of a person ?

gender nonconforming folks, what if they don't fit in the sports boxes. G: What is the privilege that allows someone to stay on one side of the gender binary? V: Well you’re privileged if you’re a man. But like if you’re a woman by birth and you don’t really identify with any of it, it is hard to give up that little part of privilege that you could have by being woman and being part of the binary instead of being part of a third gender that nobody recognizes or validates, because people don’t believe it could be possible. It’s because they don’t know someone in this situation or they aren’t close to the idea that there could be someone who could be both male and female. But in general males are the privileged. It’s cultural, this is what we’ve been taught. I’m from Mexico and I know that this situation is global, but in my country which is male centralized, males can do whatever they want and most of the time they won't be questioned for it just because “that's how boys are”, “let boys be boys” this is all bullshit. Almost everything is especially created for the male gaze, that makes them privileged. And a fun fact is that because of my appearance I can enjoy a little of this privilege sometimes.

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V: Yeah, I think mostly in California, not the entire United States, that people are more accepting. There is something about the State of California, I don't know exactly what it is, it could be the history within like San Francisco and Harvey Milk or the cultural diversity. I’m not sure. I’m just aware that there is this strong presence of the Queer community in California, stronger in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

G: So how do you deal with how society gives privilege to others?

G: So what do you think it’ll take for people to acknowledge and accept this kind of ambiguity of identity?

G: What was it like accepting that people would call you he or she?

V: I recently told my girlfriend that I’m just coming out and like this is my second coming out of my life and many people don’t know, so most people I know see me as a woman. So I take privilege, advantage of that. And out in the world and nobody knows me, I can pretend I’m a guy and most people see me as a guy, like they believe they know that I’m a guy and I get into G: How do you see concepts of masculinity and gender within the context of a hyper-masculine the men’s room or the girl’s room as I please, like to be able to do that I perceive it as privilege setting like sports? in a way, it depends on the day and how I perceive each day, like some days are harder. Because I realize that this is the way I’m moving and living and people don’t know and they wouldn’t V: Masculinity is more accepted in general. Like if a man dresses or acts more feminine, then recognize it, so when people see me and don’t know what pronoun to use, it makes me so they are discriminated or made fun of. Or if a woman displays herself in a masculine way, uncomfortable, extremely uncomfortable and if maybe it shouldn’t be like that. People people might be disrespectful, but it is more permitted than a man wearing dresses. Like we wouldn’t be confused like I don’t know it just depends on how my mood is each day. I used to wear pants, and I bought man’s clothes because I feel comfortable in them, but people see me get mad when people would call me a “he,” but now I don’t care. I prefer female pronouns, but as a woman and it’s ok you know? I think that because most of society is in a state of patriarchy, now I don’t really care if people call me he, she, they, or whatever. Like it’s hard sometimes to it’s expected for men to be masculine and it depends on the level of perception that you have see all these cisgender people walking around, living their lives in the easiest way possible. on these issues in society.  If you are a woman and if you are masculine there is this thing called Like I’m not saying their lives are easier, but their life is easier because they are not struggling female masculinity and it depends, like when queer people don’t present themselves as with gender or sexuality. Like if you are cisgender – this means that you gender identity fits women but their body is masculine, it’s just another way that masculinity is perceived. Like with your sex and plus– if you are also straight, then you are living comfortably, even if you most people think that women who dress masculine want to be men, but it’s not the case. Now have other problems or struggles. Well I’m the whole package, I’m queer, not cisgender and everything is around this man and masculinity idea in general, like we are all immersed in this. Mexican and sometimes people see me as a woman, so I’m extremely unprivileged but I also Like ok femininity and masculinity and all these roles that evolved with these concepts and if feel extremely privileged for being like this, being a little more different than usual, it has its you break the rules in a sense, then it’s not accepted. And if it’s because it’s not even by choice, advantages, one of them is being part of such beautiful and supportive communities. At this and it’s just the way you are just the way you look, like a dis androgynous look, people are still part of my life I’m extremely proud of being queer, Mexican and non-binary and I find going to be confused. privilege on being commonly unprivileged.

V: Ohh I ask too much. I have hope that somehow we all can. I recently read some results of a survey that an organization made to see how many people in the U.S. of different ages thought about themselves as queer, and most of the people between ages 18-32 thought of themselves out of the binary and represented themselves in an ambiguous way. It’s never been like that and it’s something new. Like 10 years ago, this kind of expression and identity wasn’t possible. And if it keeps going this way and with this new representation on TV like this series, Billions, on the Showtime Network, they added a non-binary character for the first time ever, then it’s about getting involved in the media and in pop culture where everybody absorbs everything. So if this individualization and the representation of this identity that exists and has been existing for years and for always, then people are going to see it as normal. So I hope that it will work like that. G: Why do you think that how we conceptualize gender is so black and white?

V: Because people think that sex and gender is the same, but they aren't. Sex is around biological facts like genitalia, chromosomes or hormones and gender is a construct, mostly social, it depends on how you perceive yourself within your own context, where are you from and your culture. Mostly if you have a penis, or you have a vagina, then people are like “oh they are a girl or a boy.” this left out intersex individuals because they’re born with ambiguous sexual characteristics and most of the time they are immersed in surgical or hormonal process that they didn’t choose, because we are strongly categorizing gender in the binary - just woman and man, there is no in between, that’s just how we grow up. If you are nonconforming with gender like me, and you are discovering yourself, you realize that it’s not the case and you feel left out and it’s really amazing to find another one that feels the way that you do. I guess just when people ask you if you are a girl or a boy, they are asking you if you have a penis or if you have a vagina. When that has nothing to do with it. G: What’s interesting is that in sports, there’s this sort of prototypical athlete with a certain body type or a certain height, so I’d imagine there are pressures around gender and sexuality in the sports world. Could you elaborate on that? V: I’m not too familiarized with the sports situation, but I remember there is a guy named Chris and he qualified to be an Olympian for the U.S. and he’s trans. There was a lot of publicity in this, it’s like really sad that it’s until now that it’s happening that a lot of athletes who change their gender, but don’t really classify as woman or man. There is an ex Olympic swimmer named Casey Legler. And she had this dis androgynous look and people said things about her so she quit. Like if it’s already hard for people who are homosexual to be in sports when there is like these physical characteristics because of ambiguity of gender or like expression or just anatomy. It´s a problem that should be fixed, soon because this is depressing, if it’s for men and I read your interview and you said there is a problem with your height, like there are men that are shorter and there are women who are taller, like I don’t know, these are ideas we’ve been carrying for years and years, but like for people who are taller or who are shorter, if they are competing, then there should be no reason they are left out and neglected from training that they could have. It's a fact that there are physical differences between sexes, and many categories in sports are based in this but that could be a problem for trans individuals or

V: Well it just happened. Like when I was in high school, I would wear skirts for school because we had uniforms, and people would still be like why is this guy wearing a skirt? So I got really sad about it and really bothered, and my girlfriend at the time would call them out about it and be like: “She’s a girl!” Right now, like in Mexico when people are selling you things at street lights are like, “hey young guy or hey lady” it depends on how they see me. When I’m wearing earrings and then they call me a she, and if not then they are confused and they call me a he, but it’s just earrings you know? When I had my hair a little longer, people used to see me as a guy when I was really little. Then when I shaved it, more people saw me as a girl and I was really confused. Like it just happens, so I just accepted that I couldn’t change people’s perceptions, like how they look at me they are going to see me the way they want to. And sometimes it’s funny when they call me a he and they hear my voice, they are like, “ohh I’m sorry,” because they really apologize and are really sorry, but it’s fine I don’t care, sometimes it’s worse to apologize a lot than to just change the pronoun. And yeah I get hit on by straight guys and girls, by everyone, they find me attractive. It’s really funny when gay guys hit on me at pride or at the club. G: So how do you know when people are ready to acknowledge your identity and talk about it openly? V: I do it all the time. I don’t let people feel prepared unless I’m really close to them, I just speak up. And it’s easier if you start slowly and slowly, like I do it with my classmates and family, each time I can bring up gender and sexuality I speak out and am intentional about talking about these issues, I won’t shut up. I feel like right now in the small group in my college classes that I’m in , they know a little more, they know enough to not be discriminatory. Sometimes I don’t even do it on my own, they bring it up and it’s easier that way, they are learning and they are interested, they want to know more. It’s important to speak up, to learn about it and educate yourself in the matter so you can teach others about it, it normalizes things and it is something that has to be done. G: How did you begin to accept who you were? V: When I realized I wasn’t straight, I was in denial for two years, even though my sister was gay, and my parents knew and were accepting, I saw the bad things too, I didn’t want to tell them and I didn’t want to accept myself, so how could they? I think it's because I was in the closet for so long, that I didn’t want to accept it. Then when I was in high school I started reading about transitions for transgender people and I made an investigation about it and I got really interested and in some point in my life I was like oh my god what if I am trans, like this is how I feel and I started questioning and I got really scared like first I’m not straight, now this? I started reading things and looking on the internet, that is why I’m open on social media. Meeting this guy on an app for women it’s called her. And meeting this guy completely changed my perspective, like he’s trans but I’m not. I never specify how I feel because I am still scared about how I will be accepted, even in the community. So I’m waiting for a moment to be like fuck it. Even in the queer community, seuxality is completely accepted, but gender is not. Like if there is a trans couple that just looks like a woman and a man, they will be like what are you doing here, you aren’t queer. There is still a conflict in the community that I can see and I am aware of. There is still a lot of discrimination against bisexual people. ●

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for the remainder of this interview and another conducted by Grant Chinn and to download the full collection of 82 interviews i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


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INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

b o r dveerr sFaO U R

P R EFACE & THAN K YO U We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

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The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

con

tions

with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

Tra n s n a t io na l s

Transitions without Resolutions

J o el G old smit h

Joel Goldsmith is a UC San Diego student, living in La Jolla, CA. He is 25 years old, and studies communication. He was born in Oakland CA, and after dropping out of his first college, spent years working in the Bay Area as a lifeguard, a swim coach and instructor, and suicide prevention counselor. He moved to the border-region in September of 2015.

Borders are places of mediated transition. They don’t have to be physical, but they alert us to changes: in country, in mind set, in culture. When a border manifests, the way that it is mediated becomes incorporated into the border.

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Surfacing the Self- or at Least Trying to | Self-Interview

Q: You define borders as a mediated transition. As a term, transition feels vague. Can you offer more details?

A: I don’t think that vagueness is a fault, at least not in this context. Borders are vague. When I read other definitions of border, I often hear words like, “Separation.” I specifically chose “Transition” as an alternative because it allows borders to be about growing and becoming. I used to work at a crisis hotline, San Francisco Suicide Prevention. Many of the people who called embodied being within a border part of their lives. Some of the volunteers too. Many of us had our own personal relationship with suicide. It’s a common thread that brought people to the job (not for me though). Q: You volunteered at a suicide hotline? What was that like?

A: *ring*...*ring*...*ring* This is San Francisco Suicide Prevention, my name is Joel. What’s your name? ---Hi _____, Are you feeling suicidal today? ---Thank you for being so forthcoming, is this a feeling that snuck up on you- like an impulse, or have you made a plan to end your life? ---I really appreciate your honesty. Can you tell me what that plan is? ---What kind of pills are they? ---Do you have a those pills with you now? ---Thank you for being so cooperative, and I am so grateful we have this opportunity to talk. Can I ask you to put those pills somewhere out of sight while we talk? I want to make sure that you’re safe during our conversation. ---Thank you again so much. Are you planning on taking those today? ---Ok. Well I am glad we get to talk. Can you tell me a little more about what’s going on? Q: Can you help me situate the scenario you just played out? A: While calls that are high risk (where the caller has the means to end their life, and is planning to complete their suicide within the day) are relatively uncommon- about 1 in 100, I have had this same introduction more times than I can remember. Sometimes it’s a gun, sometimes it’s a needle, sometimes it’s a bridge or a tall building. I’ve been a suicide prevention counselor for years now, and in the most extremes of situations, I would get to talk to people standing on the precipice between life and death. But additionally, if this sounds like something I might have put together as a formula, that’s because it is. We, as counselors, are constantly role playing different techniques and responses. There can be so many common threads between callers. That helped make practice a really effective training tool. Q: The first half of your answer sounded dramatic, while the second half, mundane. What would you say is typical? A: I would say that the second half is more typical. In reality, only a small percentage of our calls present as high risk, which for us is someone who has the intent to die, a lethal plan, the means to carry at that plan, and a time frame for completion within 24 hours. Most people are,

for whatever reason, struggling with, what I would call, everyday problems. People getting into arguments with their significant others, disliking their jobs, health or financial issues, motivational issues, reconciling differences in the family… the list goes on. At the end of a call, we take brief notes summarizing the call. It helps with reflecting on what worked, what didn’t, and allows for counselors in the future to learn from my successes and mistakes. These are some examples of what call notes might look like. For reference, each note starts with an abbreviation of the risk level of the caller. HR is high risk. MR is medium risk. LR is low risk. NR is no risk. Call Notes: HR. ____ wanted to overdose on pills today. He responded well to being asked to put the pills out of sight- he put them in his drawer. He told me that they were high-strength painkillers. He’d thought about suicide often before this, but this was the first time he’d ever considered completing his suicide. His girlfriend left him because he drinks, and he isn’t sure if he wants to change his drinking. He just wants to feel understood. I asked him what has given him the strength to survive this long, and he responded by questioning if it was strength. He felt like routine is easy. I commented that he has been in pain for a long time, and that it’s a lot to bare, especially without support. That takes strength. He agreed, and said that he’s not entirely without support. He has a brother who sends him checks twice a month for rent. I asked him if he’d talked to his brother since he started thinking of about suicide. He said he hadn’t, and I asked if he felt like that might help. He didn’t want to burden his brother, but when I asked what he would want if it was his brother who needed help, he said he would of course want to know. I asked him if he was still planning on dying today, and he told me no, but knowing he could die brings him comfort. He said he wanted to go and call his brother. I agreed that this was a good idea, and encouraged him to call back tomorrow. LR.____ Was just calling to check in. I couldn’t understand her very well this time, but it sounds like her cats were up to trouble, but she loves them anyways. Her thoughts of suicide are just thoughts today. She doesn’t have a plan to die, and doesn’t want to. She just wants to let us know she’s safe, and that her cats are ruckus. NR. ___ Was calling because he was close to running out of his antipsychotic medicine, and wanted to call to let us know that he might need emergency transport in a few days, if he can’t get a refill. He didn’t want to die, and said he was feeling pretty good. He also didn’t want a referral for an immediate refill on his medication. I tried validating that he was doing the right thing by calling. He cursed me and hung up. NR. This was ___ fourth time calling today, so I enforced our call limit on her. She called me whack and ended the call. __ was calling because he received a hand job from another man a week ago. At first, he thought he was okay, but now he has a cough and is certain that he contracted HIV, and likely transmitted it to his wife. We discussed risk level, and it turned out he knew that there was no risk of transmission from a hand job. He said he was just scared and wanted to hear someone tell him he was fine. I asked if this was his first sexual encounter with another man, and he said that it was, but that he doesn’t feel ready to talk about that yet. Then he hung up. Hang up. Q: All of these are typical? A: In varying degrees. I’ve had each of them at least a dozen times, but some come at higher volume than others.


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Q: Okay, well what was the practice of call notes you were just doing? A: We take notes on every call. The majority of our callers are regulars, and the brief descriptions of the calls help us remember which strategies work, and which don’t depending on the person. Some people respond very well to validation and open ended questions, while others prefer more guidance and directness. Each call note is reviewed by a supervisor. They also give periodic feedback. These are the little things that it takes for a hotline to evolve its practice. I have worked with the hotline director to craft studies based on those notes, and in turn, the results of our studies have allowed us to improve how we perform certain techniques on the lines. Because each note is reviewed, and there are thousands produced each week, two goals emerge out of them, being concise, and inserting a little bit of humor. I don’t have to say that they called me whack. I could just say I was hung up on. Q: I really appreciate the answers, but it still isn’t certain what connects this to the idea of border, or transition. Can you clarify? A: I can try. Whether a caller is in crisis or not, they are either in a moment of change, or a moment where they would like to enact change- no matter how small. That is the gap between whether their transition is one that they are part way through, or whether it is just beginning to bud as a thought. But regardless, those same transitions are experienced in a multitude of ways, depending on the environment around the caller. A friend, a family member, a therapist, and a hotline volunteer, we each bring different modes of mediation that can help define how the border is experienced. For me, my main mediator was the phone. And none of these mediators are replacing the other- just as I cannot replace a therapist. The phone mediates so many things within the context of the hotline. A phone mediates space by traveling voice across distance, but it also mediates identity, trust, and relation. Because our only meeting is over the phone, and we do not know each other, this creates a freedom from being held accountable for honesty. In my experience, this has allowed people to speak truths that they would not share otherwise. Conversely, because my identity also stays anonymous, the caller can put whatever identity they want onto me. If they prefer a more mature caller, they might assume I am in my 40s or 50s.

Q: As insightful as these responses are, and as detailed as they are I am noticing that your responses reveal a lot about your work, but little about you. How are you specifically situated in this relationship of caller-counselor, and what is your transition? A: This is the question that I have been struggling with for a long long time. At the end of the day, I don’t know. I’ve asked people who I know for an outside perspective, on why they think I do what I do, and there isn’t a consensus there either. I can say, with confidence (and the support of my peers) that I am good at what I do, but still, I am an outlier. Most people at the hotline fall into one or more of these three categories: people with personal experiences with suicide/mental health, people who studied psychology as an undergrad and miss it in their post-college life, and people with professional aspirations in the mental health field. I am none of those things. I heard about crisis lines on a radio show, and thought that I might be durable enough for the work. Once I got there, it turned out that durability wasn’t a huge factor. The content was not as extreme as the radio show made it out to be. What I can say is that there has never been an environment where I have felt more comfortable. As far as my own transitions are concerned, that’s also a major challenge for me. There are so many, and it is hard to tell which ones are the foundational ones which contribute to core parts of my identity. I am graduating college, an act that hopefully marks the border between student and professional, but the act of graduating for me has felt much less a part of me than the learning I have done throughout my education. At the hotline, I know I underwent a transition. I know this because I am not the same man now as I was when I started. And even now, as I look over my response, it is painful. The way that I plop out statements denies the feelings behind them. I know that there is no one answer to where my borders are, or how my transitions happen, but every time I have tried to explore it (and there have been many), I have fallen short. Out in the world, I have a very negative opinion of borders-I view them to be oppressive. But in spite of that, I have very positive experiences of them. That is my privilege. And how do I reconcile the gap between my experience and my politics? I feel lost. This interview question challenges me. Every time I work on it, I feel flustered and inadequate. But that feeling is weirdly temporary. If I put down my work for an hour, my confidence comes back, and I feel unchanged. ●

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Where is the Border, When It’s Inside? | Participant/Author to Participant/Author Ulyses Ramos is 19 years old, started studying anthropology in Southwestern College 2 years ago after graduating from high school in Tijuana, B.C. He desires to transfer to a four-year university soon, get a degree, and maintain a good mental health. Art and languages are some of his passions so he tries to keep involved in projects that include this fields.

Joel Goldsmith: For you, borders are a space that ends something. For me, they are a space of transition, and so they also include a beginning. With that in mind, how do you see people using ending or separation to help with coping. Ulyses Ramos: It’s relative. Everyone reacts in different ways according to the problem. Sometimes you have to create an internal border to separate different moments of your life because you’re not the same person anymore. For me it happened that way and it was something that I had to face alone. J: What was your separation or ending?

U: I’ve never shared this stuff before. My family doesn’t know. I have only told just two friends. J: Are you worried about people finding out?

U: No, but I am comfortable with how things have been- dealing with things myself. My family doesn’t really care, so you learn how to be on your own.

J: How did you managed some of your more formative internal borders? And why did you have to build them in the first place?

U: It was easier as a child to forget about being raped, even though it changed my personality. It comes as simple as, when someone hurts you, and hurts you so much that you can’t even feel hate anymore, you can’t feel anything. It’s exhausting to feel everything so you just don’t feel anything anymore. J: You changed, by shutting it out too. Is the change the numbness, or are there other changes you saw? U: Well, it was at an age of change, I was young. J: How old were you? U: Everything changed, I was very different after. J: Did people notice?

U: I think they noticed, but no one asked. But that was okay because I didn’t want to think about it. I could just shut it out and ignore it. It came to a point with my mom that I wanted to change, because I couldn’t handle how negative it was.

J: Is that new?

U: It’s not new, it’s been about 2 years. I just couldn’t feel hate anymore because it was exhausting. I had to look at it a different way. If things continued the way it had been, it would ruin my life. J: The importance of feeling like this is something you can talk about and the desire to change, did you feel closed before? U: I know I was closed because it was a struggle with my ex boyfriend. Even though we were together for a long time, he always said I didn’t share much and kept my feelings to myself. I just dealt with them in my mind, but other people couldn’t see that, and so they think I was avoiding stuff. J: You were addressing it in your own way, but he-

U: Yeah, it’s hard when you have people who are related to the problem. J: But they don’t know how you’re dealing with it.

U: Especially with my family, no one knew how I was feeling it, and I could address things myself. I’m always about making the most of things, and now I want to change because I think other people might benefit from me sharing. It might be like reading again. J: When you processed stuff, you were doing it in your own, healthy way, but knowing that other people wanted to be included, and were feeling alienated makes the desire to change, but outside of that, do you feel like you’ve addressed your issues in a healthy way? U: Sometimes I think so because it has been healthy for me. It definitely could have gone worse if I lost myself. I realize I am not the most healthy mentally. J: What makes you say that? U: Because I don’t want to be alone in the world. I want to share because I want to let people in. J: What I am waiting to hear is how it would not only help them feel better, but how would it help you? What do you get out of this process?

J: What made things with her negative?

U: When I first told my best friend, I think about her reaction.

U: After coming out, things were really bad and she made me cry a lot. I would read 10 pages of a book each time she made me cry, and I started to notice growth from that.

J: How did she react?

J: It sounds like you found a coping mechanism that afford you the opportunity for a lot of growth. U: My personal life was such a mess, academic life couldn’t be one too. I needed to have success there.

U: She cried and I never expected that. She cared about me and I never thought I’d see that. When I talk about changing myself, I do it for other people, but I mostly do it for me. It might not help anyone. I really need to practice verbalizing my feelings, and where better than a public place? If I am going to share it, why not share it with everyone. The first step is to share it, it doesn’t matter with whom.

J: You’ve talked about the effects these changes have had on you, but moving forward, we have a second wave of change happening now, that you want to change now, that you’ve dealt with this without sharing it, but now you’d like to. Why now, why change?

J: Both of us, because the topics are so sensitive, what are some of the challenges you face, even approaching sharing it? Before, you used rape, but in your self interview, the word rape didn’t come up. This is hard. What matters more to you, talking about what happened? Or the effects that you’ve experienced after?

U: Now I am in such a different position. I know more about my family, and feel empathy for them.

U: I think it’s way more important talking about what happened after. If I want this to actually serve someone, then talking about how I reacted is most important...continues

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for the remainder of this interview and another conducted by Joel Goldsmith and to download the full collection of 82 interviews i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


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INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

b o r dveerr sFaO U R

P R EFACE & THAN K YO U

con

17

We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

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The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

tions

Tra n s na t io na l s

Ve r ba li z i ng Emot ions U l y s e s R a mos

Ulyses Ramos is 19 years old, started studying Anthropology in Southwestern College 2 years ago after graduating from high school in Tijuana, B.C. He desires to transfer to a four-year university soon, get a degree, and maintain a good mental health. Art and languages are some of his passions so he tries to keep involved in projects that include these fields.

Border is a point that ends or separates something, may or may not be physical and can be experienced in different ways.

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Let yourself feel | Self-Interview

Ulyses Ramos is 19 years old, born in San Diego, California and raised in Tijuana, B.C. He is studying Anthropology at Southwestern College and hopes to transfer to a four-year university next year. He currently lives in Tijuana and crosses the border every day.   

Q: What is an internal border?

A: They are mental barriers that delimit our behavior and help us to cope with the present situation. In my opinion they can be created by oneself in a conscious or subconscious way, or they can be imposed by society. Q: Tell me about your internal borders

A: Living with a dysfunctional family is a reality present in the lives of many people. Dealing with psychological and sexual abuse is, unfortunately, also part of the lives of many people. It is very different when you suffer sexual abuse in your childhood to when it happens to you when you are a young adult. For me they were two situations that had no relation in my mind because, they happened to two different people. When you are a child you have the innocence to believe that things can only happen in certain ways because it is the only thing that you know in the reality that you live in. Having experienced that changed me as a person, I installed inner borders that separates different stages of my life. I completely forced myself to forget things that were too much to deal with for me at the moment. After years of seeing how this had affected me without anyone knowing, I had to face the repercussions that this had on me. Expressing my sexual identity and being discriminated against by my own family opened a window to a lonely world full of new borders to me. These are borders that I see present in my daily life because I keep fighting with them, they continue to affect me for better or worse and they are part of me. I know it seems to have no relation to a border, but growing up like this as you discover yourself and the world around you become a border, a border that accompanies you wherever you go. It becomes part of you and you find it everywhere. It invades your essence and your mind, like a virus that leaves you defenseless.        Q: Why are you sharing this now? A: Because I want to change. So far, I have only dealt with situations without sharing with someone or asking for opinions. Maybe someone will read this and feel identified withor maybe have a completely opposite opinion and reading this will help validate his or her perspective. Maybe I will realize that my thoughts only make sense to me. Q: How do you realize you have created an inner border?

A: I convinced myself of something and I do not give room to any other reality. My thinking carries such a strong conviction that it is reflected in my actions. Obviously, the complexity of the thinking varies according to the border, it can range from something simple like prohibiting yourself not to eat ice cream until convinced that you are a failure. The problem is when you create borders for yourself without realizing or giving enough thought, depriving yourself of experiencing or forcing yourself to do things that may not be right for you. For example, right now I’m trying to let go the anxiety that some irrational ideas provoke me. Whenever I’m walking on the streets by myself my mind flies and start thinking on his own. Most of the time I’m walking and I feel insecure or attacked because I am thinking in things that others “probably” might see in me. Faggot, douchebag, cocky, pretentious, the list goes on and on. I know that no one is really wasting their time judging me on the streets, but it feels so real at the moment that becomes true in my mind. Q: Do you think a border can affect your identity? A: Definitely. Whether is an external or internal border. They both have tremendous influence on us. Some of the borders that I have created in me have created a drastic change, as I have reacted before them has led me to be the person that I am now. I have heard that we are not but a set of experiences. I have put borders on me that have made me forget things about my past completely, either out of fear or because sometimes it is the only way I can deal with certain things. These edges may not be the most obvious, but they have left a mark on me with their presence or absence. Q: So, internal borders are more significant than external borders? A: I think it depends on the person. For me they are because I was exposed to situations that led me to learn how to function this way. Sometimes I think that if I hadn’t these borders in my life I would be a very different person, maybe I would be stupider or innocent. Q: Is it easy for you to describe these borders? A: No, it’s difficult for me to verbalize something that I do not share often. I like to think that if I do not share it, it only exists within myself, where I can control it. ●

Let yourself not to feel | Participant/Author to Participant/Author Ulyses Ramos: What is an internal border? Joel Goldsmith: Internal always feels like one of those things defined by its opposite. Maybe internal borders are the things which mediate the space between inside and outside? Or perhaps they are the things we separate on the inside- things we might even keep separated from ourselves? U: What has been a border that has been manifested in your personal life?

J: That’s a good and challenging question. Well, I think about borders as a site of transition and is something that manifest and appears for me, like, a big moment of that was… Why I choose working in the suicide hotline, and for me the realization that this was something I wanted to pursue was the time when a border popped up in my life. Because it signified a change, the border from a kind of endless/aimless youth. I’ve been a college drop out for a few years was working as a lifeguard, swim instructor and was doing some other stuff which I really enjoyed and I was proud of, but this kind of marked my transition into becoming a more serious adult, pursuing school into a more serious way and it all kind of centered around this one change of


53 “I am going to go from being someone who’s emotionally supportive to people that I know to people that I don’t”, and the manifestation was reaching out and trying to put myself in a position of volunteer. U: Why do you think you are always trying to help other people? Did something happened to led you think this way? J: I feel like I am such a fortunate person, to have grown up the way I grew up with a supportive family, and with supportive friends, good teacher even though I was a terrible student. But, I feel like a lot of it was taught to me at the same time I started doing it because I liked it and I felt that I could be good at helping people. Sometimes I think it’s a good practice to do something that is really difficult. Pushes you to your limit and you don’t get anything out of it, other than maybe satisfaction. I feel it protects the purity of what you doing if you prioritize the profit. That became a big driver. U: What is a coping mechanism? Do you see one in your life? J: Coping mechanisms are things people do to help them manage things which are emotionally taxing or intellectually taxing. Right now, we’re seeing the term, “Self-Care” exploding in popularity right now, and I am a firm believer in it. For me, above all else, my coping mechanism is walking. I love to walk, it forces me to take a break from everything I am studying, reading, writing, or making, and affords me the ability to slow down, relax, and make phone calls, or enjoy the breeze. I make sure to walk for at least an hour every day (except for Fridays). This has gotten me through breakups, deaths, and two years at UCSD. I also try to stay vigilant for what might be considered self-destructive coping mechanisms. I refuse to drink when I am sad because I worry about building dependency, and I am still trying to figure out how move away from watching TV as a coping mechanism for feeling overwhelmed by how much I have to do- procrastination can be one of the worst coping mechanisms for me. U: How did you found out about the suicide hot line? J: I was living in (some place) Michigan and a lot of people around was dealing with some troubles, but somehow the sadness of other people wouldn’t ruin my day. So, I started thinking, is there something wrong? Am I not emotionally available enough? Like why is it that I can have these conversations where in the conversation I feel unpathetic but then once it’s done I feel like I was right back to normal. And I thought, why doesn’t other people sadness affect me more? Is there a coldness to me? And I started thinking of ways that this skill could be used, instead of seeing it as an emotional shortcoming. Around that time, I was listening to a lot of radio and in some podcast a guy told a story about volunteering in the suicide hot line and a call that went wrong. The story was so moving that I thought “that’s what I want to do” So when I came back to the bay area I found the Suicide San Francisco Prevention Hot line, I applied and when they asked me “why are you here?” I told them about the story, about feeling that I have the emotional stability to bare the contempt on the calls and about being able to take public transit. I found out later, after they have accepted me that they have a policy that they reject every single person who mentions that radio story. That’s how I found out about it. U: Do you see yourself as an emotional stable person? J: Yes. U: Does people around you see yourself as that?

time where I have felt much emotional wavering, I have an incredible support network who help bring me back down, before I destabilize. As far as who with, mostly it’s friends, family, my girlfriend. I talk to my girlfriend, my parents, and brother a lot. Daily. I feel like I can be emotionally vulnerable with you. I have worked hard on being able to share, becoming open. Generally though, I would say that I prefer not to. U: Do you see yourself as more critical or emotional? How do you feel about that? J: Oh! that’s a great question. I think that’s something better to ask the people who know me, if you want a full portrait of myself. I think I have a high EQ, but generally, I don’t make emotional decisions. I definitely live an emotional life, but I find myself often making choices that hurt me emotionally in favor of something that I perceive to be better. Like when I moved to San Diego, and left my job, family, and girlfriend behind to pursue my education. Two years of long distance has been very taxing emotionally, but it was important to me that I continue to learn and grow in a new city. U: You were talking earlier about how challenging the training in the suicide hot line is and how it changes a lot of people. How do you think it changed you? J: I feel like it really helped me become myself. The first call that I ever listen to, the person calling was a man that just got out of prison. And while he was there he was roomed with a roommate of the opposite sex who offered to protect him from shower rape in exchange for oral sex. So, he would have to perform oral sex on his cell mate in exchange from protection. That was the agreement. Over the course of his six months of prison and being kind of serially “assaulted” for the entire time, he came out not really knowing what his sexuality was. Because I think he found it easier to perform oral sex on his cell mate than he thought it would be. But he had a girlfriend on the outside and he wanted to get back together with her but he thought “maybe I am gay, I hated but I kind of liked it”. And he is trying to negotiate his sexuality right after getting out of prison while he looked for emotional support from his girlfriend. It was an amazing call and a really shocking situation. That totally changed me, because from then on, I felt like I could never convict someone (in any situation) because I feel like if the punishment would be going to prison and experience assault rape that there’s no crime worthy of that punishment. It totally changes my view of the criminal justice system and the way it operates. And then on the other side I saw this guy negotiating his sexuality for the first time and had him having the space to do that in a way that is not judgmental. There’s a necessity to have people in your life that are not judgmental. And it helped me to turn off a part of myself that could be judgmental. To judge people based on their actions instead of giving them the space and hearing them out. It’s helped me more than anything else to take a step away from that and listen, it is such a basic thing that everyone should do, but I had to be taught that. My world diversified after that. Also, feeling afraid of talking about intimate topics: not anymore. When you tell people that you volunteer at a suicidal hot line they start sharing with you their relationship with suicide. Even complete strangers.

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J: Yes, is one of the thing that I’ve come to rely on a lot in myself not just as you know dealing with my own. But also, I have a girlfriend and for most of her friends she is the person who gives care but with me, she can depend on me emotionally.

U: Most of the time you feel you are an emotional stable person, when/with whom/where do you feel unstable?

J: Hahaha when talking about internal borders. It’s hard to consider. Thinking about borders this much has pushed me to an… unusual place for me that I didn’t expect. Sometimes I will come away from my work feeling totally lost and alone. But even then, I don’t know what instability means? I believe in fully letting myself experience a full range of emotions, but I try to do it in a healthy way. I was visiting a dear friend’s grave a few weeks ago, around her birthday, and it moved me to tears. That feels like a stable position to be in. I kind of associate instability with rashness, and it’s hard for me to imagine a time when I’ve felt that way. Any

U: It is interesting to hear that you realize that the suicide hot line is all about giving people a free space for them to express. But, who gives you the free space? Who listens to you? J: I’m a really fortunate guy, and I think I have a lot of people in my life that might listen to me. But then also I’ve come to find that every once in a while, when you want emotional support you don’t want to go to your closest friends, you want to go to people that don’t know you that well but know you a little bit, and it’s how you become close. U: How would you describe your personal relationship with suicide? J: I would say I am one of the few people that have a positive one. I’ve known only a few people that have died because of suicide, no one I was close with, and to my knowledge none of my friend or people that I’m closed to have attempted suicide either and that puts me in a pretty small minority. I see suicide as a coping mechanism that people try to use when they are afraid that there’s no other way to stop the pain that they are in, or the exhaustion. It’s not necessarily that they want to die, they just want a break. When I think about suicide I think of people that want their lives to be better, there’s a sense of optimism there. It also makes a lot of sense why people who are suicidal might decide to live. Because clearly part of envisioning suicide is envisioning things that are better for them. And if there’s an alternative, and if you can help someone come to an alternative they will take it. Generally, people don’t want to die, they just want to feel better. ●

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for the full collection of 82 interviews

DRAW YOUR THOUGHTS

i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


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INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

b o r dveerr sFaO U R

P R EFACE & THAN K YO U We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

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The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us. * Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

con

tions

with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

Tra n s n a t io na l s

Merg e: Coa lesce, C o nsolid ate, Absorb, C o mbine

Martha Salazar Cintora

Martha S. Cíntora was born in Mexico City on May 12 of 1986, lives in Tijuana since she was 9 years old. She studied Visual Arts and has a Master’s degree in Art from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California in Tijuana. She's been an art teacher for 6 years in diverse school grades kindergarten, elementary, middle school, high school and since 3 years ago in the same bachelor degree that she graduated from. Currently she’s pursuing a PhD in Education because she is interested in the relationship of student - teacher- teacher- student.

Border can be defined not as a territorial division, but a space lived in a merging state, in a mixed way.

Coalesce: fuse, unite,integrate | Self - Interview

Q: What is the first thing you have in mind when you walk into class?

A: I always have a structure plan of what I’m going to do that day, I’ve already checked what's the next theme and have a plan for it, for example it can be pastel 2, I have a theoretical presentation with videos and information that I checked the content the day before to remember the script for the presentation. I check the videos to see the things I want to emphasise, I've check for artist that work with the material to give them examples of how can they work with them. And it goes like that: 60 - 90 minutes presentation, 15 minutes videos, 3-5 examples and a 2- 3 hrs. working process with various exercises. Q: How do you begin your first day of a new class, when you don't know any of the students?

A: I enter very loosely and calm with my coffee, I set up the projector (because it’s a workshop space, the projectors are in the main office of the building), I turn on my computer, check that everything works and I start with a presentation of the class: “Welcome everyone this is Introduction of the visual discipline, this is your first practical class 3, my name is Martha you can call me by my name or teacher or whatever you want”, I start talking a little about myself, about how not long ago I was a student of the faculty, just like them, so I understand and know what they're going through, I present the syllabus for the class, the evaluation agreement and I end with a presentation of the class, I asked them for their name, the high school they come from, age, what do they like, if they work and expectations of the class. Q: How are your students like? What do they expect of the class? A: They're very enthusiastic, because is their 1st semester of their bachelor degree, they come with a lot of expectations and energy. They come with a very good sense of drawing, they're normally say things like: I'm the one student that was always drawing in class, so they're interesting in drawing and painting very realistically, and do new things like sculpture and printmaking (most of them have never done any of those) they don’t care for abstraction or conceptual art, mainly because they don’t know much about it or understand it. They have never been exposed to it. Their idea of an artist is almost like a da Vinci type of artist with their easel and brushes, painting away, with a beret (laughs).

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Martha S. Cíntora was born in México city on May 12 of 1986, lives in Tijuana since she was 9 years old. She studied Visual Arts and has a Master’s degree in Art from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California 1 in Tijuana. She's been an art teacher for 6 years in diverse school grades kindergarten, elementary, middle school, high school and since 3 years ago in the same bachelor degree that she graduated from. Currently she’s pursuing a PhD in Education because she is interested in the relationship of student - teacher- teacher- student.

A: The freshmen's of the visual art degree are entering mostly straight from high school: 18, but you do get 4-5 students in a group of 23 which are older than 25. And in the visual art degree as a whole have like 10 students that are above 40 4.

Q: When do you feel you know your students? A: I talked to them a lot, even in class, because it's their first practical class and it’s the first time someone push them to do something good (drawing representationally) 5 and I’m very demanding and obsessive with achieving a good skill level in everyone but I have to do it in a way that they don’t feel threatened or insecure about it, there’s this stigma that as an artists if you are not good enough you shouldn't be there, so I try to be very careful in correcting them and pushing them. What I normally do is I sit down with each student individually, the classroom studio is organized as a horseshoe form and I have a chair in the middle that I can move around the student spaces, I will then be in a front interaction with each of them, and I always sit. If I'm standing I will be looking down on them and I don’t like that. I approach (normally the ones struggling with the exercise) with a: how are you doing? What's up? While we work I will start a conversation of anything, like their clothing, movies, music, video games, cartoons, trying to chat with them in a more personal level to loosen them up, I have better results that way. So I have a sense that I know my students when I learn their names (and I always try to learn their names) and know how they work and what types of things they like. Q: Do you know why do they want to pursue art? A: They normally don’t really know. They are like: I like to draw and I like cartoons, and anime, (we have a lot of student that like anime), they like the idea of painting and drawing but they don’t really know what contemporary artists do. For instance, in the career there's a lot of theoretical subjects, in the 1st semester they ask them to read, and write a lot and they normally don’t understand why, they are like: Why do I need to read and write, I just want to paint! And I'm like wow! for your information, contemporary artists need to read and write a lot, so you better get used to it. (laughs).

The students I get are interested in movies, tv, cartoons, illustration (a big chunk of them are into illustration and digital art), hanging out with friends, they like to be on their computer, Facebooking, Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest. They are normally not that outdoorsy, they are young people that like to be in their house in their computer, listening to music and watching tv series. Also, some of them, like 35% have a part time or full time job as well, making it really hard to focus on their studies.

Q: What do you say when they say they like anime and they want to do manga?

Q: What do you think of them?

Q: Do you remember why you wanted to study art?

A: I think they are young... I see myself in them because I was like them. As I was growing up I didn’t know much about art, I used to watch MTV a lot in high school, and there use to be in the commercial section little video art clips (that at the time I didn't know there were video art), and I loved them but didn’t know what there were, so I was into art without knowing it was art. And when I entered to the visual art degree I didn’t know anything about materials and techniques. So they remember me of my younger self, because I too only knew how to draw when I started my undergraduate degree.

A: Yeah, I always like the idea of images and playing with materials and having something to say with them, although I didn't know that was art. I loved the idea of materials, pencils, pens, sketchbooks, brushes, paint, that was so interesting to me, but my family is very square minded, they are mostly doctors and nurses, and my grandfather who was a strong figure in my family, was a pastor, and administrator, and loved math, geography and history, didn’t care about art. For him art was not important, and my interest in that was not nourished. I actually started with a degree in nursing (I love psychology to, but my family didn’t approve that). While I was in nursing I found through a pamphlet there was a degree in visual art, for me, even the existence of a bachelor degree where you get to draw, paint and so on as a professional

Q: How old are they?

A: I don’t mind because I used to be very into that some years ago, so I understand, but I do tell them that’s not what we do here, That’s really cool, but we will do more traditional stuff (in my class at least). Although we do have one optional subject called Sequential art, where they do get to work on a comic form.


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thing was crazy!, I couldn't believe it. So I was in nursing which I hated, I couldn't see myself in that and I told myself, If I'm going to leave nursing, I'm going to do the thing I really really want whatever that is, that’s when I took the leap, to study art in my own city and in the university I wanted. Q: Do you think your students have a similar experience? A: Yes, because Art is not a very fostered thing in Tijuana, when I was younger you are supposed to have an art subject in elementary but it is normally terrible, because it gets to be instructed by a regular teacher 7 and they don’t know nothing about it. So you don’t really have the opportunity to learn art when you grow up, I constantly ask my students if they had a good art class when they were young, And they normally tell me that no, they all sucked, just as it happened to me. So I feel this is the typical art education experience in Tijuana, the good news is that this is starting to change, especially because our graduates have started teaching in private schools and independent spaces in TJ. Some of my more recent incoming students received art instruction from colleges of mine who were my own classmates or where close to my generation, resulting in having students that are more exposed to art information that in the past. Q: What are the kind of things you have learned as a teacher? A: I'm actually the one that learns more, because I have to investigate like crazy all the time, some of my monthly 60-90 min. presentation took me 3 days just to build up, plus the investigation time: books, magazines, internet and wherever I can. It's crazy! The amount of things I have to do to give a class (look for materials, cost, accessibility, explore to find new ways to work with them, etc.). When you are a teacher you have to know, you have to memorize all the things you say, and you have to be very secure of the information you give. If you have a doubt of something you have to check it, whatever it is, even if it’s a very stupid or not so related thing to your subject. I make sure to check everything mostly because in my art department during my undergraduate years some of the teacher were not that good. I feel I have learned more as a teacher than as a student. Q: What makes a bad teacher a bad teacher?

Q: Where do you think they’re going? A: That’s a hard question, because I normally get them very young and in their first stages of their degree. So thinking so far into the future is hard even more when you know that nearly 75% of them won't finish their degree.. I try to always tell them to be aware of the things they will be doing in the end (exhibitions, biennials, residencies, selling their work) getting to know the cultural environment in TJ, but is hard to think of what are they going to do when they graduate. I tell them that teaching is a good working space, almost 80% of our graduates teach, so that is a big employment space for them and that’s ok because there's a lot of need for art teachers in TJ. Q: Do the graduate from the visual art program knew there will mostly be employed as teachers? A: Not really, I didn't. That’s why every semester we have an orientation week with the new students, to explain to them how the university works, the school plan and their curricula. I give a presentation about the degree, and I explain the 4 areas of the degree: Art production (which is the main focus 57% of the classes will address this profile) Theory (in case they're interested in critical and curatorial work, and as a means to sustain their work 28%) Art Managements and Administration (8%) and Art Education (6%) but I do emphasize that education is the main space for post degree employment, just to be as transparent and real possible. Q: How do they react when you tell them they might teach?

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A: They don’t teach. They don’t do nothing. I had a teacher that in my first semester of painting... imagine this, the first semester of having the experience of painting in a canvas, with an easel, with a brush and paint, He ask us for a 1 x 1.20 8 meter canvas (huge canvas for a beginner) and oil paint. The first class he said, “OK. This is oil paint. Put it in your pallet” (just words, he didn't even do it himself) and paint!. That's it, no follow up or individual work. Just ask for material and force the students to use it without a guidance, and if you didn't do it well they scream at you. “That’s not good, do a better work, make more effort!” That’s not a teacher, the reason to be for a teacher is for their students. You have to work with them and always work in thinking of their needs. Q: How do you instruct differently than your instructors?

traumatic to me. I loved the idea of painting but that experience in class was horrible, because I didn’t know what to do and felt impotent. The good thing is I had a very good classmates, so we helped each other, some of my teammates knew how to paint very well and they started to teach us and help us, and that marked me, now I always tell my students, “Your teammates are your allies, you have to work together, and help each other, because that’s the way you will grow better” So I constantly try to work in the opposite of my traumatic experience. I'm so obsessed in trying to explain as much as I can, if I'm going to teach a new material I will start with how is it made, Who were the first artists that used it? How can you work with it? In all ways possible, I try to give them a broad perspective of the materials and their techniques and work one on one to help everyone as much as I can.

A: That experience for me is one of the main reasons I started teaching in the undergraduate program, because I could not bare the idea of someone experiencing what I lived. That was

A: Not bad, because they actually come in very malleable, they don’t have an exact idea of what are they going to do, so they are even glad to know they have a lot of options once they graduate. They are like, “I thought I was going only to paint, and to see that I can do all of that, it's not bad”. It gives them of a broader idea of the art profession. Q: How did you react?

A: I didn’t have someone who explained the different areas of study and what the purpose of the degree would be. I was really just rolling with the punches and the teaching really just came to me. I didn't really choose it. I was doing my social community service 9 for my degree, and the more common thing was to teach so that’s what I did. My second social service was in a public library near my house, teaching art to a group of local children, and I liked it, and that’s how it all started, I didn’t think about it that much, I really just naturally evolved in it. ●

Fuse: Integrate, combine, flux | Author/Participant to Author/ Participant

Shelbie is a current student at Southwestern College, working on transferring to a four year university, she lives in Tijuana Mexico with her family that includes her mom, one dog and five cats. She was born in San Diego, California but lived in Hermosillo Sonora for her first 7 years thinking that her name was Natalia Viridiana Pio Villaseñor, by 2001 she and her mom moved to Tijuana where she became Shelbie Natalia Pettiford Pio.

Martha Cintora: You say that you have two names, and in a way they are two identities in your life, how does that work?

Shelbie Pettiford: There are two me, in my house, with my family I’m Natalia, since I was a child in Hermosillo, my nickname is Nani, but in school and when I arrive to Tijuana and the USA I’m Shelbie. Natalia is my personal and family space, and Shelbie is my public everyday persona. I feel that Natalia is a reminiscence of my childhood days, I almost feel that coming to Tijuana was a traumatic experience, I was always asking: “when are we returning to Hermosillo with all my friends?”, I use to hang out with 20 kids from the block, play all day, almost until 12:00 am. midnight 10, so imagine coming from a place like that, to a large city (Tijuana) where I couldn’t go out, because it was not safe, and being alone most time. Natalia and Shelbie represent that change, and those two times in my life, which with the adulthood, I now feel I’m coming to peace with it. M: How was it to live in Hermosillo?

S: Hermosillo is a small city, less than 1 million of inhabitant, and has a very small town feeling, our neighbors, a stay home mom named Ana, her husband Frankie and their 3 children Carlos, Cesar and Cynthia became my surrogate family (Ana took care of me while my mother studied her gynecology speciality 11), so you could say that I grew with them, playing, fighting and what not. Because of that Ana became like my second mother, she’s the nicest person ever, caring and noble; to such extent that one day I had a school event, I needed to go all dress up, but my mother forgot my dress, Ana then took one of Cynthia dresses and cut it and sew it up so I could have something nice to wear that day. I love her so much. Hermosillo was a fun place for me, I feel like my time in there went like a long summer vacations, I was always surrounded with friends and when my mom had time she took me to eat ice cream and to the aquatic park, the local zoo and what not, Hermosillo was a small town but had a lot of things to do as a kid. M: What was it like to come to Tijuana? S: I didn't wanted to come, because I was very happy in Hermosillo, I loved the hot weather

and my friends and my surrogate family, so it felt like they were taking my life away. It was very lonely and cold in Tijuana, I didn't have neighborhood friends because my mother and I constantly moved a lot and I couldn't go out freely. My mother worked at her private practice and the hospital so she had little time for me and my grandmother used to take care of me, but she used to be very violent, I remember one time we were at a roller skating parlor and I fell, and asked her to help me get up, she did so but grabbing me from my hair and pulling me up, to the day I don't know why she did it. Another thing I remember of my first years in Tijuana were the Sunday trips to USA which meant getting asked about my new name, my mom being moody because of the long line and the Home Town buffet, also In Tj I knew television, in Hermosillo I only watch the Rugrats and Banana in Pajamas a 30-40 min. of tv a day and in Tj that's all I could do, I remember watching Malcolm in the Middle, Lizzie McGuire, and Bewitched. M: It sound like Hermosillo was this magical place, do you feel it that way? S: Hermosillo represent my childhood, a more sincere me without emotional problems, maybe I'm giving Hermosillo a lot of credit, maybe I just grew up in Tj, when you are 10-12 years and puberty kicks, it's horrible, anyone can relate to that, you feel like nothing fits you, like a no place kid, you are no longer a child that can play and eat candy at parties and you are not yet a grown up because you don't have liberty, you can't decide for yourself. So I also think that Hermosillo and Tj are my two periods of life: childhood and puberty. M: Have you return to Hermosillo and how does it feel? S: Yes, it's always nice to return to Hermosillo, I'm actually certain that one day I will have a house there, I still think it's a beautiful place, it still gives me a warm feeling, like a safe place. I feel very identified with Hermosillo especially with the people, There is my surrogate family Ana, Frankie her husband, Cynthia, Cesar and Carlos. In any case it is weird to come back because it's different, some of my old friends are married and have kids (my best friend is getting married in August), it's funny to see what has happened with my childhood friends, and with the old places I used to play at, like the house where I used to live in Palo Verde street. And my neighborhood, strangely they look quite the same. ..continues

UABC is Autonomous University of the Baja California region, most states have one and is run with Federal funds, students pay less than $300 dlls. per semester in a 4 year bachelor degree.

1

Art material in the form of a stick, consisted of color pigment and a dry binder, giving the feel of a colored chalk, used mainly for sketches and fast color drawings. 3 In the career you have practical and theoretical subjects, the practicals: painting, sculpture, drawing, printing, etc. and theoretical: Art history, semiotics, aesthetics, ethics,etc. 4 This older students made a club, named “the indestructibles”. They once gave a chat to the students about how is it to make a bachelor degree at an old age on a cultural week held every year in our Art Faculty. 5 To be clearly represented or to be recognizable as what is supposed to be (If we are drawing an apple, the drawing must look exactly like the apple that we are seeing). 6 I'm really into Rick and Morty, and the new Zelda video game, what a huge game!! I can't find the time to play!!!! 7 In Mexico if a math subject teacher knows something minimal of art (plays somewhat the piano, knows a little about painting or dance folklore music) he will teach the art subject, because there is no one prepared to do so. 8 47 x 39 inches 9 In UABC all bachelor degrees requires 2 social community services, the first is any type of activity that helps your community (cleaning the beach, helping with acquiring funds to the Red Cross, food recollection etc.) The second must be associated to your degree, and it has to serve your community free of charges and with no money involved. 10 A typical summer midday in Hermosillo can go to 116.6 Fahrenheit, because of that, the city comes to life past 6:00 pm. 11 Studying medicine in Mexico is hard, you sometimes get to be in the hospital in 48 hrs. watch. 12 When I was 10 years old $1 U.S. dollar was 10.90 Mexican pesos, right now $1 dollar is 18.00 pesos, and a minimal wage is $80.00 Mexican pesos a day. 2

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for another interview conducted by Martha Salazar Cintora along and to download the full collection of 82 interviews i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


56

INTRODUCTION The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or the dispossessed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers. - Homi Bhabha

The wall has become an extremely politicized symbol of the region, of SD/TJ. Twenty minutes away from our home in San Diego 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians cross the US/MX border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry daily.i You can stand at the closest beach to that port at the International Friendship Park and be a part of the surreal image of three different layers of border divisions. La Mojonera, or Western Land Boundary Monument No. 258 is a 9-foot high obelisk which sits completely out of place at the beach like a tomb marker from a historic cemetery. It marks the start of the 1,952 mile line separating Mexico and the United States. In 1851, representatives of the Boundary Commissions from each nation placed the marker together in a collaborative effort that seems difficult to imagine today.ii A foot away from the territory marker is a sight impossible to fully understand. There is a 10 foot steel fence that divides the concrete, then the sand along the beach and continues on into the ocean for several hundred feet as if to attempt to divide that as well. This is a security border wall to prevent the passing of people from Mexico into the United States as a result of the 1994 Operation Gatekeeper.iii The wall is made of steel military landing mat and has small gaps between slats.iv Separated families have used those spaces to see each other, talk and hold hands between the bars for years.v The latest wall is a double reinforcement, first built after 9/11 when more federal legislation allowed for increased security at the border.vi This secondary wall built in parallel, several feet away from the first, also put an end to the possibility of physical contact through the fence. It created a further strange division of a policed no entry zone between the two fences that is occasionally opened for cultural events and often increases the pain of this division. If you go there today, you will see the barren US beach of Border Feld State Park under watch of a border patrol officer. On the MX side, you can see the lively festivities of the Playas beach front, food vendors, live musicians, seafood restaurants and children playing. What we see here is a landscape that separates families, creates tension between nations and instills fear of each other. The wall is a constant reminder of war, failed humanity and the incessant power play for the 1%. President Trump’s scheduled 21 billion dollar border wall will only reinforce and reassure us of all of many years of tension. The interviews transcribed in this publication share a Mexican-American border patrol officer reflecting on illegal immigrants, a criminal sketch artist profiling the accused inside the court, first hand observations of how the legend of Tijuana, the dangerous city, continues to haunt families over 3 generations, a self described racial identity fading away from racial tension, the resolution of an internal struggle caused by external violence, a pathway from religious crisis to the questioning of freedom and much more. These stories are tragically frustrating, violently unforgivable, some cringe worthy, or confusing at times, are all warmly exchanged, immensely complex and most surprisingly, they are strikingly honest and personal. They ignite the border from the inside rather than from the outside reminding us that the border does not start at the line between US and MX but it is here, embedded in our lives, in every one of us.

b o r dveerr sFaO U R

P REFACE & THAN K YO U

17

We are humbled and grateful to have had the honor and privilege to cross back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana, listening to the experiences of people living in these borderlands, over these last several years. Those who have shared their personal stories, for others to read, have inspired this rich publication. We thank you all for extending your sincerity, labor and trust in each other and to us—two complete strangers—during our Globos Workshops*. The generosity extended by each participant opened a space to consciously engage together, reflecting on the complex close(d) relationship of living within the region of the most frequently crossed border in the world—And all the mess, beauty and challenges that are a part of it.

tions

with residents of Tijuana-San Diego

56

The resulting 82 conversations on the subject of border were produced via four seminars from an experimental Art & Ethnography course series: HOT AIR BALLOONS and INTERVIEWS from 2015-2017. The seminars were held in conjunction with the Culture, Art & Technology Program, University of California San Diego; the Transdisciplinary Program, Woodbury University at the School of Architecture; and the concluding seminar, Transnational Edition was held in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to multiple sites in both border cities. MCASD hosted the seminar extending access and content to the their permanent collection and enabling the seminar to exist between multiple colleges, allowing joint participants from Southwestern College, University of California San Diego and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. This interview collection and artwork consists of a series of transcribed interviews conducted and edited by millennials working collaboratively with each other and with us.

Tra n s na t io na l s

O u t s i de Pe rspe ct ive s Shelbi e Pe t t iford

Shelbie is a current student at Southwestern College, working on transferring to a four year university, she lives in Tijuana, Mexico with her family that includes her mom, one dog and five cats.

* Globos Workshops were developed to produce a fleet of 25ft unmanned hot air balloons to be launched over the US/MX border at Friendship Park, TJ/SD. Balloon construction workshops were held at both sides of the border within many different communities and cultural centers.

¿Qué Eres? | Self - Interview

Q: Where were you born and why?

con

A: I was born in San Diego by a race bound reason. My grandfather wanted me to born in the United States because my father is a mixed race man between a German Caucasian mother and an African American father. My grandfather thought that if I were to be Black or even blackish, I had to be born in the U.S. because they were “over the racist stuff” and Mexicans could be quite racist, at least he thought that. Of course that my granddad did not tell this story to my mom, apparently I was the first one to know the real reason behind him wanting me to be born in San Diego but apart from being born there, my life never took place in the United States, a few days after my birth my mother and I returned to live in Tijuana and when I was eleven months old, we moved to a small city in Northern Mexico called Hermosillo, “far away” from San Diego and thinking that my name was Natalia Viridiana Pio Villaseñor until the age of four that we returned to Tijuana and crossed the border for Sunday shopping (people in the border between Tijuana and San Diego shop almost everything in San Diego), right before getting to the boot of the crossing border patrol, my mom told me that (if anyone were to ask) my name was Shelbie Natalia Pettiford Pio and I replied “Tu nomás quieres que diga puras cochinadas” which means (you only want me to say nasty words). Q: Seems like your first experience crossing the border was confusing, how did you cope with the border once you came back to Tijuana and how was it for you to hold an Anglo-Saxon name? A: I can barely remember that name-changing incident; I think I hold the memory through my mom telling it. But life in Tijuana was light years away from my small town childhood. There I was introduced to fear of hijacks, strangers, to usual border crossing and to play inside my house. What I recall the most of the Sunday shopping in the U.S. is my mom being in a terrible mood for the long line and the Home Town Buffet dessert table. I was also introduced to school trips to Legoland, Knott’s Berry Farm, San Diego Zoo and Disneyland. But I never stopped feeling relieve once I got back to Mexico, not for any political or nationalist reason, but because I felt like I belonged in Tijuana, I felt in my place. And as for my name, I had to constantly explain it to everyone, from the assistant of the doctor’s office to the convenience store cashier. At one point I even consider my two sets of names to define me as two different people, one was Natalia Pio, the calm and lively and the other one was Shelbie Pettiford, the crazy and brave one. I believe that it had something to do with the two national identities that were sort of fighting within me, I couldn’t cope with those two so I choose the Mexican and left the American in a drawer, stored, until I could face it again which I did not too long ago.

Border is perspective from the outsiders to form an identity.

This publication is a four part series of conversations about the border. Preface & Introduction by Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas of Collective Magpie. Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña. Copyright. 2015-2018 All authors. . Printed at Diego & Sons, SD. Complete free download of 82 interviews can be accessed at www.collectivemagpie.org/book

These are the stories that are here and remain here as a memory and history. These are the stories of the border residents. These are the stories of our border—the border that matters.

READ ALL 82 CONVERSATIONS

Shelbie Pettiford was born in Chula Vista, stayed there for two days and went to live for eleven months in Tijuana (hich is right next to Chula Vista geographically). She turned one year old in a small town of northern Mexico city called Hermosillo where she lived until age eight. She went back to Tijuana and her puberty and the start of adolescence is blurry. She discovers herself again near the age of fifteen and everything went smoothly from then on. She is currently in Southwestern College preparing to transfer and study International Affairs.

Q: How do you think it affected you being raised in Mexico as a mixed race person? A: People always wanted to touch my hair. By growing up in the northern part of Mexico in which curly hair is not very common, people were and still are really attracted to my type of curl. When I was three, and attended church with my mother, there was an older girl who would stand up by me and place her hand over my head, and won't put it down, I could whine, call my mom, release my head from her hand but she would put it up again, over and over. As soon as I could actually speak, my first demand towards my body was that my hair should not be touched, much to the despair of my close friends and family. The funny thing is that no one ever questioned my status as a mixed raced, I actually never thought about it until I stepped on U.S. soil. In Mexico I was just a curly hair girl, a curly hair teenager and a curly hair young adult. In the U.S. I am mixed race and the people who surround me constantly ask for my ethnic background. As I try to think about myself from an outside perspective, I can understand the riddle that much of the people that I had the opportunity to meet at Southwestern College go through. I am a self identified Mexican born in the United States who has an Anglo-Saxon name, with a German father and a Mexican mother. As it turned out, my grandfather was completely wrong in his predictions of racisms towards me in Mexico, my self conception as someone without a clear ethnic appearance began as soon as I started having a daily relationship with my place of birth. Q: What had to happen for you to come to good terms with your American side? Did it help that you lived in the neighboring country? A: As an inhabitant of the Tijuana-San Diego border and a double citizen the logical next step after graduating from high school in Mexico was seeking a Bachelor’s in the U.S. My mom and I discussed this possibility but I didn’t wanted to live in the United States. So I outsourced my possibilities and ended up in Santiago de Chile. That city became a space in which I could be completely Mexican without being questioned about it, I could present myself from my cultural experience and people did not took attention to my phenotypical formula. It’s my most Mexican and comfortable time, I could finally define myself as what I always felt like I was, Mexican and that’s it. It was sort of an escape from the others. After one semester of clarification, I felt ready to take the next step and come to the United States to study, with my refreshed self identification I could immerse in a culture that I never really knew and do it comfortably, my American citizen side was finally flourishing but in baby steps, and with a new perspective. ●

What are you? | Author/Participant to Author/ Participant Martha was born in Mexico City but has been living in Tijuana since she was nine years old. She completed her Bachelor's degree en Artes Plasticas; she has a master in Arts and is currently a faculty at Universidad Autónoma de Baja California in Tijuana where she spends most of her time and energy educating and working on artistic projects for the students.. She is also initiating her doctorate in education. Shelbie Pettiford: Have you ever thought about yourself as an artist? Martha Cintora: No, actually during my bachelor my professors would constantly remind us that we were not artists. It was a really weird thing because you could never call yourself an artist our credibility was questioned constantly. My professor’s interpretation was that you could only receive the title of artist from the outside; you had to be recognized by the

someone’s of the artistic world. I don't share that view, for me artist is the one who really gets involved in their work and that do it with a strict work ethic and a responsibility. For me an artist is almost like a scientist, someone who researches and explores, in the case of art an artist perceives something of this reality that he finds fascinating or interesting and in his work he


57 will try to materialize in whatever mean possible, by doing so, the work of art will solidify a vision or idea of the artist that allows us to understand reality in a more complex way. So I am really interested in that type of art and in that type of artist one who work tirelessly in their studio night and day achieving the grasping of reality. So I think that calling yourself an artist is a completely ethic related experience, you need to call yourself an artist when you really believe you deserve the title, you don’t need to wait until somebody acknowledges you. So in the end that is why I cannot call myself an artist, because I don’t have the time or space to do that, produce everyday and in a studio because all my time and energy is spend in my teaching activities. S: So, you believe that an artist by definition is that one that stays locked in from dawn to dusk producing art? M: What happens is that I am really annoyed by the idea of art as an inspiration driven phenomena, expression like an enlightening muse of the bohemian who goes out to the streets looking for inspiration, all that to me is very unpleasant and unreal. I think that art is a real profession, it requires hard work, it requires investigation and the constant reminder that not everything that you produce will be art, you need to see what works, the aesthetics, the composition of your piece and the importance within the world and how you want to express that importance through it. And I think that someone who paints for one hour and proceeds to continue with another type of non-artistic job hardly can call themselves artists. S: Have you ever tried to stay a whole day producing art? M: That requires a super intense discipline, and I sometimes feel like I am not that disciplined, so through that I realize that I greatly admire people who can accomplish that. I can lock myself down and paint all day and I enjoy it a lot and I get excited and the hours pass by and I don’t realize but I don’t see myself doing just that everyday rigorously. I found that very hard to do, and I believe that it has to do with my personality because I rather be on exteriors, talking to people, I rather doing more dynamic activities than being locked down in front of a canvas. S: If money factor wasn’t involved in the picture and someone told you that you have to produce four paintings a month and that all your living expenses were covered, do you think that your perspective would change?

and actually right now is the moment in which I am finally being able to manage my artistic and academic persona. I am finally getting to realize that not everything has to be as black or white regarding art production and the definition of an artist. S: I understand that you completed an artistic intervention at UABC and at UCSD; do you think that that action wasn’t artistic and academic at the same time? M: I do! And that is just what I was saying earlier that I am discovering that maybe art educators and artist could coexist in one person because at the end I do realize that what I am doing. It’s not easy, it requires a lot of work and I am beginning to realize that you don’t need to be on a lock down to produce art, that I can also accomplish it in open spaces, with people, talking and creating pieces. So right now, I am blissfully getting to know that I can play between the two maintaining my rules for artists. S: What is your favorite art technique? M: Watercolors, because is a technique that allows a lot of freedom and spontaneity. It reminds me of Bob Ross when he said that sometimes we could encounter ourselves with “happy accidents” So I like the tranquility of using watercolors, to not worry about water running over. That is something that I enjoy very much when I am working, the satisfaction. S: Do you believe that there are several types of artists? M: It’s hard because for example, I do see a difference between a chef and a cook and I also see a difference between someone who is a good painter and someone who is an artist. To handle an adequate technique does not make you an artist. When you really discover something about reality that no one else had seen before, a new observation or idea and you offer that something new to somebody else to experience by any means, that makes you an artist. So for me being an artist could come in very different shapes like someone who knows how to work with hair, or a fashion designer or a chef all of those people could be artist because they bring very interesting proposals of something they want to say and how they want to tell them. S: What does loving art means to you?

57

M: I think it definitely would change, my position regarding producing art nonstop has a lot to do with money and actually trying to make a living out of it and here in Mexico is a really hard task. So if somebody came up to me and told me that I don’t have to worry about money when producing art full time, it would be a dream come true. But then again I love to teach, I love the university environment, I love the fact that I get to share experiences and working space with fellow professors that enjoy art as much as I do and that we can work together to solve issues that have to do with art production. So it’s really weird because I really like both experiences

M: I don’t know what it means, but what I can say is that I can spend day after day after day and forever talking about art, researching artists, talking about my understanding of art or hear what other have to say about it. I can do all of that all day long and I don’t get bored, it does not weigh heavy on me, I never get sick about it! I believe that the chip is already on my system, because whenever I learn about other topic, I immediately related it to art, for example if I see a documentary about chefs I would think about composition of the plate or his interpretation of cheese or vegetables. I don’t know, it’s just something that I can no longer take apart from me and I think that answers the question. ●

visit: www.collectivemagpie.org/book for another interview conducted by Shelbie Pettiford and to download the full collection of 82 interviews

DRAW YOUR THOUGHTS

i

U.S. General Services Administration, San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Statistical Information. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/regions/pacific-rim-9/land-ports-of-entry/san-ysidro-land-port-of-entry

ii

Charles W. Hughes, ““La Mojonera” and the Marking of California’s U.S.-Mexico Boundary Line, 1849-1851” https://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/v53-3/pdf/Mojonera.pdf

iii

Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the "Illegal Alien" and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002)

iv v

Patrick J. McDonnell, “What does it take to secure a border? Lessons from the wall dividing San Diego and Tijuana” LA Times, August 13, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-tijuana-border-20170813-story.html

http://www.friendshippark.org

vi

Peter Andreas, “A Tale of Two Borders: The U.S.-Mexico and U.S.- Canada Lines After 9-11” https://ccis.ucsd.edu/_files/wp77.pdf


Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

This publication was developed with the binational project Globos by Collective Magpie Published on the occasion of the exhibition In A Close(d) Relationship at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, January 25- April 8, 2018 Collective Magpie = Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas + Participants

Preface • Tae Hwang & MR Barnadas Introduction • MR Barnadas & Tae Hwang Contributing Essay • Melissa Fisher Copy Edit • Lissa Corona, Cris Scorza

Border One | 14 Conversations Conversations • Marina Kleit, Gianna Zamora, Clint Evangelista, Nicole Gonzalez Copy Edit • Hot Air Balloon A Team Chapter Design by Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña Copyright • 2015 all Border One Authors

Border Two | 15 Conversations Conversations • Kevin Lau, Michelle Johnson, Shawn (Yuxuan) Zhang, Dan Qiao, Devin Sheridan, Gabriel Maldonado Copy Edit • Hot Air Balloon B Team Chapter Design • Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña Copyright • 2016 all Border Two Authors

Border Three | 36 Conversations Conversations • JP Falstad, Audrey Borger, Luis Espinoza, Marcelle Rico, Amy Kittisoros, Patrick Yip, Christian Linney Arturo Martinez, Estefany Gonzalez, Maria Poblete, Paul Esteban, Jonathan Gonzalez Copy Edit • Hot Air Balloon C Team Chapter Design • Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña Copyright • 2016 all Border Three Authors

Border Four | 17 Conversations Conversations • Valeria Ortega, Grant Chinn, Joel Goldsmith, Ulyses Ramos, Shelbie Pettiford, Martha Salazar Cintora Copy Edit • Hot Air Balloon D Team Copyright • 2017 all Border Four Authors

Cover Design • Adrian Orozco & Abigail Peña Supplementary Design • Collective Magpie Print and Bound • Diego & Son Printing Inc., San Diego Copyright • 2018 All Authors ISBN • 978-0-692-04998-3


ISBN 978-0-692-04998-3

9 780692 049983

90000>

Profile for Collective Magpie

82 Border Conversations with Residents of Tijuana-San Diego  

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