fran ilich on 28 Jul 2000 21:18:22 -0000

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<nettime> borderhack! (mx-usa, sep 1-3) english version

Countdown to Borderhack!
by luis humberto rosales and fran ilich
translation by blás valdés

In 1997, during a European event called "Documenta X", an idea for a
Germany/Poland border festival was put forward. The festival was make a
camp where activists and artists could express their outrage towards the
treatment of illegal immigrants at the mentioned border. The camp became a
reality in 1998, under the name kein mensch ist illegal (no one is
illegal). In spite of several attempts by the police to cancel and
sabotage the event, cyberculture personalities, artists, musicians,
activists and human rights supporters successfully organized marches,
talks, concerts and workshops. 

Three years have passed since "Documenta X" and kein mensch ist illegal
has grown enormously. It¹s no longer confined to one place. Several camps
are now organized along the borders that separate the European Union with
the former soviet countries, borders where migrants are often the victims
of abuse. This year¹s camps are about to take place, but with an added
feature.  Kein mensch ist illegal has migrated to America, more
specifically, to the city of Tijuana, Mexico, considered by many the most
physical and intense border area in the world. 

Headed by Laboratorios Cinemátik, a mixmedia group experienced in the
promotion of cyberculture and electronic music, the Tijuana kein mensch
ist illegal camp takes the name of "Borderhack!". Instead of trying to
dissolve the border, the goal of the camp is to apply to it a little
reverse engineering, in other words, to try to understand its structure
and to discover its workings. 

Excerpts from the Borderhack! Manifesto:

"That is why we propose this Borderhack, a camp that does not pretend to
destroy the border, but, in a worst case scenario, only to make us
conscious of it. In the world of computers, Hacking is understood as the
penetration, exploration or investigation of a system with the goal of
understanding it, not of destroying it, and that is exactly what we are
trying to do: to understand the border, to know what it represents and to
become aware of the role that we play in it. All this with the goal of
improving the relations between two worlds (the first and the third),
Mexico and the US. We not only want to understand why this relationship
has been severed by the influence of certain sectors of society, that have
fostered a climate of violence and racism, but also to understand the
strange attraction that unites us. And what better way to accomplish this
than by doing it right on the physical border?, spending three days trying
to get to the bottom of the problem and really understand what is it that
unites us and what is it that separate us. 

For Laboratorios Cinemátik, a group that has always lived on the border
(physically as well as electronically), the camp is the logical step to
take. In a way, it serves as an upgrade to the work they have been
carrying out since 1994, which includes the First International
Cyberculture Festival in Latin America: Cinemátik 1.0 (1998) as well as
the <> events done in collaborations with Calarts and
Natalie Bookchin. It also serves as an excuse to celebrate the third
anniversary of the Cinemátik cyberculture online forum. And maybe even to
promote the nettime-latino mailing list. 

Borderhack will take place in Tijuana on September 1, 2 and 3 of the year
2000. The location of the camp will be in the Playas de Tijuana (Tijuana
Beach) part of the city, in front of the actual border fence that divides
the third and the first world, just beside the Pacific Ocean. The camp
will offer net art, border cinema, isdn connections, conferences and
workshops, not to mention the participation of the global hacktivist and
net-media art community. 

"The idea to synthesize the camp is born out of our condition of
dilettante border kids, out of many years of crossing the border and doing
a little window shopping, pretending that we could be part of the American
Dream of wealth, happiness and freedom. We are confused, we accept it. On
one side the Malls are filled with happiness, and on the other, the wrong
side, we are forever condemned to produce goods that we will never enjoy
ourselves.  That is, unless we are lucky enough to come by a green card.
This is the border. Our border. A place where we earn pesos and consume in
dollars.  Where we almost live in the US. Where we can smell the future
coming from the freeways, from Silicon Valley, from Hollywood, but yet we
are trapped in a muddy hill with unpaved streets. To reach the freeway we
need a car, something that we could never afford. The only way for us to
cross the border is by foot, without a penny in our pockets. We resign
ourselves to earn minimum wage thru our whole lifetimes, to looking
through store windows as if they were postcards from Europe (it could be
jupiters or earth´s, for us is the same), knowing that we could only reach
the other side in our dreams. We are the good neighbors of the US, always
here, always smiling, ready to serve the next margarita. 

The border is one-sided, only when going from Mexico to the US. The other
way around is a free zone: with no need for visas, tune ups, secondary
inspections or paid permits. The border exists only when going North. The
wall is "one way". Our exchange rate is 10 to 1 in favor of the dollar, of
the Americans. And then, at the end of the day we ask ourselves, kein
mensch ist illegal (no one is illegal)? Or are we all simply condemned to
be illegal?" 

Tj mailing list

nos vemos en el futuro.

editor sputnik bits.
co-editor sputnik atomos.

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