fran ilich on 10 Sep 2000 04:51:38 -0000

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> 'Borderhack' Festival a Call to Action

'Borderhack' Festival a Call to Action,9955,10407,00

Hackers and activists gather in Tijuana to protest violence and draw
parallels between physical and electronic borders.
By Annaliza Savage
September 6, 2000
PLAYAS DE TIJUANA, Mexico. Activists from across North America descended on
the border between the first and third world, protesting the inequalities
and dangerous conditions that would-be Mexican immigrants face. Borderhack,
a three-day event that took place over Labor Day weekend, promoted
hacktivism as a means of protest.

Playas de Tijuana, or Tijuana Beach, is an unlikely setting for one of the
world's most heavily guarded borders - or for a three-day protest that
emphasized civil disobedience. The festival was held on the beach.
Beach-goers sun themselves and vendors peddle balloons and cotton candy.
Shacks sell coconuts. 'Those names on the fence are there for a reason, and
the reason is that people are dying, some are children.'
-- Luis Humberto Rosales, festival organizer

Next to all this beauty, however, a massive wall protrudes from the ocean
and extends across the US-Mexico border. Along the wall, the desperately
poor line up looking for a way into the country. On the other side, a small
stretch of desert is punctuated by the tall buildings of San Diego
glistening in the sun. Parked on the US side is the border patrol, looking
rather bored. (This may change when the sun goes down, as most attempted
border-crossings happen after dark.) A group of dolphins is spotted in the
crystal blue ocean. They pass from Mexico into the United States. No one
asks for their papers.

Take a closer look at the fence and you'll see row after row of names, all
of them in Spanish. "Those names on the fence are there for a reason, and
the reason is that people are dying, some are children, two or five years of
age," said festival organizer Luis Humberto Rosales. "We're not trying to
say that borders are bad or wrong, we are trying to show people what's going

Hacking for change

"We don't want to destroy the border, only to make us conscious of it,"
festival organizers wrote in the Borderhack Manifesto. "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." 'The hacker
and the activist are very intertwined.'
-- Lucas, festival organizer

Borderhack is an extension of Documenta X, a festival of musicians, artists,
and human-rights supporters that was held on the border between Germany and
Poland in 1998 to express outrage toward the treatment of illegal
immigrants. Borderhack's organizers decided to take the principles behind
Documenta X and bring them to Mexican soil.

The aim of the event was to use technology and activism to bring attention
to the border crisis as well as to bring hackers and activists together. The
organizers see hacking and activism as a natural combination.

"Hacking is nothing if it's just for kicks or ego, all activists need to
learn how to hack!" said Lucas, a festival organizer. "It's a powerful tool.
The hacker and the activist are very intertwined. I don't know why it's been
taking so long to come together. They're made for each other."

nos vemos en el futuro.

┐alguna vez so˝aste un borderhack?

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: contact: