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Men build too many walls and not enough bridges. Isaac Newton (1643-1721)

LAKINO BERLIN Director Martin Capatinta Auca EXHIBITION Curator PhD Élisa Ganivet Co-Curator Teobaldo Lagos Preller Assistant Curator Daniela Hermosilla Zuñiga Press Adriana Todó Bargalló Charlotte Praetorius

On the occasion of celebrating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Lakino presents Border-Bridges, an exhibition of works of Latin American artists. It explores the wall as a symbol of the division between worlds and emphasizes the ruptures and stitches related to the contemporary migratory processes. The exhibition confronts the visitor with the historic interpretation of the German territory and the public space of Berlin. Taking these topics as a starting point it establishes a similarity which demonstrates the paradox of the so-called “globalized world” in which we live in and which is full of geopolitical barriers (among others, the fence that separates the USA and Mexico). Using a subtle language and through different formats (manifest, photography, video and sound), twelve Latin American artists lay out new approximations, reflexions and questions around the concept of the border.


On November 9th 2014, the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall will be celebrated. A wall that symbolized the obvious geopolitical division between two worlds. Its fall marked the end of the Cold War, the dismantling of the Soviet Block, and a Western block’s legitimacy. What kind of traces do remain today? The picture of a so-called globalized world confronts us, paradoxically, with an increase of separating barriers. We have never seen so many. The globalization as an exchange of interests does not seem to capitalize on human values. Rather, these new walls tend to widen the abyss between countries and their citizens. Objectives are defined by laws and can cross pollinate: to control a conflict zone (1), to control a territory (2), strategies against terrorism (3), against smuggling (4), and of course they can have an anti-migration role (5)... Today, in comparison to the era of the Iron Curtain, it is the governments in power who build barriers. These barriers that are seen as the obvious solution in fact symbolize a sort of weakness, don’t they? Let’s recall some facts. The state is comprised by its people, its government and its territory. It is governed by a legal and fiscal body of political authority. The use of violence is legitimate by its moral rights. However, if its borders are seen as a way to give states international recognition, natural boundaries do not exist (due to the

geographic territory). They are then the creation of relationships of power (more or less close to our contemporary times). The problem with these new geopolitical walls is the anachronism, the false solution provided, a defined temporality (the walls always end up falling) as well as the negation of the other. There is no doubt that we require the Other to exist, the idea of difference to define oneself. It would be an illusion to think that cultural identity is fixed on the borders of a nation state, and even less with the artificial creation of the wall. It is also important to remember that those who can and want have all the new technologies integrated into this globalization dynamic to access any type of information needed. If we focus on the American continent, obviously we can think about the border fence which was built in 2006 between the United States and Mexico, and whose official goal is the anti-terrorist protection (6) but whose anti-migration intention is relatively obvious. This barrier as a possible crossing of immigration for socio-economic candidates from Mexico and Latin America puts them in danger. In 2012, 463 lost their lives there.(7) The function is also symbolic seeing that if after many tries, and not having gone missing before, between 92 and 97 percent of bordercrossers get to the other side.(8) There is no doubt that, on both sides, this new barrier

[1] Berm of Western Sahara, Kuwait - Iraq, Green Line in Cyprus, Uzbekistan – Kyrgyzstan, Korea DMZ [2] Russia - Chechnya [3] Saudi Arabia - Iraq, Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt - Gaza, India - Burma, India - Cachemira, Israel - Palestine, United States Mexico [4] Egypt - Gaza, United States - Mexico., Kazakhstan - Uzbekistan, India - Birmania, Iran - Pakistan [5] Uzbekistan - Afghanistan, United States - Mexico, United Arab Emirates - Oman, Turkmenistan - Uzbekistan, Greece - Turkey, Saudi Arabia - Yemen, South Africa - Mozambique, Israel - Sinai, India - Bangladesh, Ceuta - Melilla, China – North Korea, China - Hong Kong, Brunei - Limbag, Botzwana - Zimbabwe [6] Source : Department of Homeland Security (DHS) / U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) <www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/border_security/ti/about_ti/ti_history.xml>“the primary goal remains the same: to help the Border Patrol prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons, including weapons of mass destruction, from entering the United States.”


increases criminality, violence and transgression of human values find a fertile ground. In this part of the world, the walls, either geopolitical or any other type, transmute and do not leave one indifferent. In response to the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, we want to focus on the topic of migration. What are the new walls of migration and immigration? How do the artists interpret the walls that exist in Latin America and those, who are in Europe, especially in Berlin, whether they are physical or mental ones? How do the artists, potential sensors of sensitivity, analyze these phenomena? Are we talking about engagement in art or a simple observation? Are we talking about a melting-pot and interbreeding generated by immigration? Can this be a valid bridge between borders? As Anzaldúa asks: “Una lucha de fronteras. A struggle of Borders because I, a mestiza continually walk out of oneculture and into another; because I am in all cultures at the same time, alma entre dos mundos, tres, cuatro, me zumba la cabeza con lo contradictorio. Estoy norteada por todas las voces que me hablan simultáneamente.” (9) Is the interbreeding the new global force, rather than these geopolitical walls?

USA, Other Reality? y Focus Berlin, are three different spaces on which a maps are created where borders, displacements and expansions coexist. The barrier has different forms according to its context: the concrete and solid wall that separates two territories, the wall that is composed of voices and sounds through the interaction of bodies or the absence thereof, the borders that dilute in the immaterial, the wall that is left as the absence of the original division. PhD Elisa Ganivet

We bring together artists who reflect on immigration as a potential bridge and / or not as an impenetrable wall. Focus Mexico-

[7] Source : U.S. Border Patrol <www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/border_security/border_patrol/usbp_statistics/usbp_fy12_stats/border_patrol_fy.ctt/border_patrol_fy.pdf> Source :Washington Office in Latin America < www.wola.org/ > [8] Source : Congressional Research Service, Baltimore “In the UCSD surveys, 98% of intending migrants from Jalisco, Mexico, eventually managed to enter the United States before 1986, and 97% eventually succeeded in 2002-2009. Overall, the UCSD researchers recorded eventual success rates of 92% or higher in four different surveys conducted between 2005 and 2009.” p.29 Source : United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime <www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-anAlÿsis/tocta/3.Smuggling_of_migrants.pdf> [9] ANZALDÚA G., Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1987, p.99


OTHER REALITY? 1

MUNDO INFLABLE DESINFLADO, 2009 Marco Montiel Soto, VE, 1976 Photographs Marco Montiel Soto lets the air out of the globe. He smothers it in order to give us a breath of air. Crushed and flattened, it is like a world of changing shapes with no control over its borders. No outlines can be made out. We barely recognize the cardinal points. These are some of the difficulties and true intention of the project. We can only associate the outlines with our previous knowledge in order to recognize them. Each photograph focuses on one specific continent. But here, the evidence of historic and natural borders is disputed. The issue of borders is clearly raised. We understand that the work is based on the denial to illustrate the boundaries of sovereign and territorial jurisdiction that all governments establish. Borders constitute the balance between the pressures and powers that separate two countries. By making the inflatable globe change shape, the artist turns the idea around, he is creating a model contradictory to a new apocalyptic symmetry

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KEEP ON CROSSIN’, 2003 Victor Payan, Perry Vasquez, USA Manifesto Created in the year of 2003, the manifesto “Keep on Crossin’ ” by Vîctor Payan and Perry Vasquez is an ode to the mobility that facilitates the complete liberation of the human being. This border story is an old one… the loss of Mexican territories after the Treaty of Guadalupe of 1848 and the further development of the United States’ infrastructure and its immigration policy. This manifesto has a tone of activism, written as a result of what took place on September 11, 2001; it is a prediction about the Borders of Security of 2006, implemented by the government of G.W. Bush, and aims to leave the mind open to the hope of change.

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PSYCHOGEOGRAPHIC MAP, 2007 Perry Vasquez, USA As a Psychogeographer Vasquez studies “the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.” [Guy Debord, 1955] relies on the pragmatic observation of the California border. Indeed, more than one million Latin American immigrants are living south of highway 94. So this border should “simply” be moved 10 Miles further north. Recalling maybe a controversial historical fact which is also included in a corrido of the norteña music group Los Tigres del Norte : “I want to remind the gringo that I didn’t cross the border, the border crossed me. “

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THE WALL OF SOUND, 2014 Alejandro Moncada, MX, 1974 Sound Installation “The Wall of Sound”, a tragic allusion of the technique created by Phil Spector is a sound piece that makes reference to the beast; the ‘train of death’ that runs between the border of Mexico and the United States causing multiple accidents daily. Most of the passengers are immigrants originally from Central America. Some of them carry a simple standard radio. Here the elements collected close to the train of Moncada in September 2014 are transposed in mono sound. This unedited piece is a loop that transmits the vibrations of an uncertain destination

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CAR POOLERS, 2011-2012 Alejandro Cartagena, DO, 1977 Photographs The photo series “Car poolers” which was created by Alejandro Cartagena between ​​ 2011 and 2012 was taken from a highway bridge in Nuevo Laredo, adopting an angle of 90 degrees. We become witnesses to a double perspective: on the one hand, a pragmatic reality, as is the daily movement of workers (Mexicans amongst others)


towards the United States, and on the other hand, an aesthetic composition formulated by the lines of the highway; cars; individuals and their working tools... This variable repetition of images is a fragment of a specific principle of territoriality, which creates the networks and the flow of this border

passport is literally what he makes of himself, like a DNA code that represents a person. The passport is also his guarantee for support. Diaz Bernal uses the cactus, a symbolic emblem of the Mexican coat of arms, as an ironic metaphor for the exhausting journey experienced by the artist.

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PENETRAME, 2009 Franklin Collao, MX, 1982 Video-performance With a provocative tone of sexual character, Franklin Collao’s artistic proposal from 2009 plays with the idea of liberation that lives in hope of ‘the other side’. Reaching the orgasm, meeting the death or a new life? The corrugated metal border between Mexicali and Calexico was painted with a huge “PENETRATE ME” in blue capital letters. This imperative tone reminds the artist of the instructions given to Alice such as “eat me” or “drink me” etc. that guide her to make decisions and take risks in order to discover the so-called Wonderland.

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BORRANDO LA FRONTERA, 2010 Ana Teresa Fernandez, MX, 1981 Video-performance In the year of 2010, the performance or social sculpture by Ana Teresa Fernández titled “Erasing the border” took place in Tijuana, on the San Diego Beach. It is precisely here where steel columns are immersed in the sea. Elegantly dressed, the artist climbs up a ladder that leans on the barricade, a ladder that is painted blue. In this way, the columns are confused with the sky, making it possible to pass through them. During a moment of poetic illusion, the artist makes the crossing possible.

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COLCHÓN-PASAPORTE, 2006 Rive Diaz Bernal, MX, 1975 Video-performance The artist spent ten years in Europe, three of which as an undocumented immigrant. From this experience, his work became an act of resistance that raises issues about the rights of the citizen, of the human being. In 2006, he went back to Mexico and made this performance where his

Circuit Berlin The process, then, opens two views that coexist simultaneously: one view seeing itself as the image of a line of passengers before being, preparing their coats, hand luggage and passports: booklets that document everything. A camera records the process of getting in or out. The other view is the gaze in process, which faces the landscape, steps on a map, on a living topology, and wanders –a practice more usual inside the city that looks for textures. Time gone through is gathered and decoded. So, the territory is living, it is volume and digital topology. Luciana Lamothe, Marcela Moraga, Israel Martínez and (10) Isaac Torres visit Berlin. The exercise they do is, at times, substance: The city torn apart, the debris as a part of the natural landscape; each monument, brick, stone or clod is a trace for an archeology of the present. The land of Berlin is continuous shifting, ground motion, backhoeing. Entering this unsettled and uneven territory implies turning the view and observing a sort of intervention. One that recovers the representative motive of the landscape and, thus, attempts to make appear another potential: an image, which registers layers of time from which the urban web is organized. They intervene in the public space generating images, mediated worlds, and the language in the screen expands towards the production of a different knowledge: recognizing the city as strange, in which the natural process of destruction, dismantling and new construction, replaces the physical space. The impermanent space is one of the human gaze, the one of the day after day, after all narratives fell. (8) Luciana Lamothe witnesses the disa ssembly of a stage: the Palast der Republik, referring to a Dziga Vertov’s cine-eye, the old parliament of the GDR is disassembled with


the help of typical machines of the present: drills, jackhammers, tow trucks, are the subjects of a deconstruction. The narrative of the present without a future is only comprehensible by looking at the past. (11) Marcela Moraga Millán operates from an imaginary place: the concretion of the nonfuture. Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx are two actors on a set. They look at the camera in the middle of the dismantling of the stage: a utopia is decomposed and recomposed in the time being. Tourists, pedestrians, birds on the tree crowns. A ghetto blaster reproduces, in a sequence, the messages of the past: international capitalism, the route outline, the ideas, the desires and assets of mankind. The radio. Listening to the manifesto is a body wandering by the fissure. (9) Israel Martínez opens a solid river, icy, almost rock: the air, the silence and the sound of the city. In the infinite scheme of frequencies and silence, the Prussian landscape, once; the Cold War landscape, once; the future-of-Europe landscape, once. On the video installation screen, it is sounding space. It shows, then, the matter of present: time, people who pass by, people who stand up and sit down. In the present time of the digital projection, two borders go through: a journey by Rio de los Remedios between the State of Mexico (territory of hope) and Federal District (territory of the city) –it is the narrative line that links to another non-place: A history museum, built where there was an SS building during the Third Reich and where, today, underground ruins are exhibited. The canal of black waters in Mexico City is the other side of the mirror, in a different latitude. Over the visual band, a sounding band prevails: the song of a mojado, someone who trespasses a river, who crosses the Mexico-USA border illegally, a ludic transgression of a limit between the natural and the cultural. By means of different ways and forms of reception that generate difference, the artists in the exhibition go in and out of German territory: Incorporating the experience of landscape transformation, reconstructing it by ways of melancholy, irony or consternation. Berlin is, then, a crossing space, a space lived and imagined. Teobaldo Lagos Preller

DOCUMENTARY FILMS A

OF KITES AND OTHER BORDERS Yolanda Pividal, ES USA, Mexico, Spain 2013, Documentary, 58” Edie is a young boy that crosses undocumented people to the United States whilst he promises himself that he would never break his back on a factory. Carmela is 9 years old and although she knows more about rubbish tips than tales, every afternoon she travels to see the sky and look a the kites fly. Adrian and Fernando struggle for their family’s well being whilst they dream to go around the world as lucha libre idols.

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MOJADO Jorn Threlfalll, UK Mexico, UK 2011, Lenaray Films Ltd Fiction, 30” Raul leaves his family in Mexico to join a group of ‘mojados’ who make the desert crossing to the US. When most are caught, Raul is alone. Then he comes across a young ‘gringo’ boy in the vastness and his journey takes an unexpected turn

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THE INVISIBLES Gael García Bernal (MX) & Marc Silver (UK) Mexico 2010 Documentary, 24” The Invisibles exposes the truth behind one of the most dangerous journeys in the world and reveals the untold stories of the people who make the journey north through Mexico on their way to the United States. Every year thousands of migrants are kidnapped, raped and sometimes even murdered in Mexico. Driven by grinding poverty and insecurity back home, they travel through Mexico in hope of reaching the USA with its promise of a better life. All too often their dreams are turned to nightmares. The hidden horrors of the journey are uncovered by Gael Garcia Bernal as he follows the migrant trail. Along the way Gael meets the migrants, their helpers and reflects on their bravery and determination to risk everything for a better life.


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Border Bridges - Art Exhibition Catalog  

25 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Contemporary Mirrors On the occasion of celebrating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Ber...