DIALOGUE IN TRANSIT: EVOLUTION OF A LINE // DIALOGO EN TRANSITO: EVOLUCION DE UNA LINEA
There are inherent connections and separations made when drawing a line across a plane. A line, after all is a link between two isolated points. But, if the distance between the points is large enough, the line drawn causes a separation in the plane, dividing it into two parts: a “this side” and “the other.”
Connection and separation often occur simultaneously. On Saturday March 15, Cog•nate Collective organized a mobile conference to reflect on one such line: the U.S./Mexico border.
“Dialogue in Transit: Evolution of a Line // Diálogo en Tránsito: Evolución de una Línea” brought together researchers and artists from San Diego and Tijuana, to reflect on the evolution of the border’s ideological and physical manifestations 20 years since the implementation of NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) and three years after redevelopment began at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Unlike other conferences held to “celebrate” the anniversary of NAFTA, this conversation critically reflected on the ramifications of its implementation at both the national and local level. The conversation traced intersections across the different scales represented by these milestones, engaging both the abstract dimension of borders on a macro scale and their palpable experience in micro-sites like the San Ysidro Port of Entry – the busiest land entry in the world, with over 50 thousand cars, 54 thousand pedestrians and $1 billion dollars in commerce crossing every day.
The conference took place in a caravan of vehicles as they waited in line to cross the border from Tijuana to San Diego, and was live-broadcast on a pirate radio frequency (87.9 FM) at the Port of Entry from inside of the “Cognate Cruiser”– a station wagon painted as part of a previous intervention at the border by Peru Dyer of En Masse (Montreal), Eric Wixon (San Diego) and HEM Crew (Tijuana). Speakers included Professor Norma Iglesias-Prieto, Professor Victor Clark Alfaro, Tijuana Artist and Poet Omar Pimienta, and long-time border shop-owner and vendor Juan Manuel Torres. As part of the intervention, Sonidero Travesura, played a live musical set from the roof of the Mercado de Artesanías de La Línea as well.
The final phase of the “Dialogue in Transit” project was the publication of a workbook featuring bilingual transcripts of the conversation, distributed to pedestrians waiting in line at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in September.