November 24, 2007

The Political Equator 2




Champaign, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Tijuana, and then back again. I was really tired when I got home.
The idea of this event was truly fascinating: “an exploration of the intersection between sociopolitical and natural domains, foregrounding the notion of collective territory, but also a territory of collaboration that transgresses hemispheric boundaries. At the core of such trans-hemispheric sociopolitical and economic dynamics is the conflict between transcontinental borders and the natural and social ecologies they interrupt and seek to erase.” So many interesting folks came together for this mobile symposium, but the end result was disappointing. It took a lot of energy just to move 80-100 people around, and the logistics of being able to hear, have time to pee and eat, and still have time for dialogue were too much. So maybe Political Equator 3 will allow for more time, more silence, more women, and less strutting. The highpoints for me were the show that Nick Brown and Ava Bromberg put together at LACE, “Just Spaces,” and then the bus tour of Tijuana, which was a city I had never seen before. But I came home still wanting to know about the community of San Ysidro, just on the border, and what actually might be happening with the Tijuana River and the watershed in that area. There were no specifics; just a lot of architects and artists networking in what Sarah Kanouse rightly called “transnational intellectual stars.”
On the flight home I read T.C. Boyle’s Tortilla Curtain, a chilling and powerful depiction of undocumented workers nose-to-nose with the wealthy folks who live off their labor.

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