Jumping the Mexico-USA Wall with Art, Light and Sound

By Awasqa.

Mexican-Canadian electronic artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, with the Border Tuner Project, has managed to connect Chamizal Park in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and Bowie High School in El Paso, Texas beyond the wall that separates these two communities. This is a deep connection, of the soul of two cities through intangible but susceptible materials: Light, Voice, and the Heartbeat.

Ciudad Juarez in Mexico and El Paso in the US were born together. Back then the place was called Senecú and was inhabited by the Piro-Coahuilteca peoples. Upon the arrival of the Spaniards, this large town crossed by the abundant waters of the Rio Bravo was renamed El Paso del Norte. When the United States invaded Mexico, the Rio Bravo scarred and divided both territories, leaving families and stories stranded on both sides of the border. The river which was anciently known as Tó Baʼáadi (Female/Midwife River in Diné language), became the Rio Bravo on one side and on the other, the Rio Grande.

[penci_video url=”https://twitter.com/BorderTuner/status/1196911052270841861″ align=”center” width=”” /]

Two sister cities were born on that site with a history that cannot be severed. For this reason, is quite moving to see efforts made by their its people to maintain and strengthen the links between their populations, beyond institutional endeavors or obstacles. The Border Tuner project features “three interactive stations on each side of the border that will control powerful searchlight beams using a small dial wheel. When lights from any two stations are directed at each other, microphones and speakers automatically switch-on to allow participants to talk with one another, creating cross-border conversations. ”

[penci_video url=”https://twitter.com/i/status/1196603807263870976″ align=”center” width=”” /] The Light sets a favorable, warm, and cordial stage, in the middle of the night. The Voice carries itself from both sides of the wall, inviting people to imagine their listener and enjoy the timber in their voice, connecting words as one were speaking on the phone illuminated by large searchlights in the horizon. It moves us to tears as words create bridges of closeness, understanding, and tenderness between peoples. There are also sensors where people can place their hands and seeing a light, feel the other person’s heartbeat, on the other side of the border, also placing their hands on the sensor. The Heart Beat accelerates with feeling and hope.
 Border Tuner ‏ @BorderTuner Nov 20 What's your border story? You can share your story until Sunday, November 24. Plan your visit today at https://es.bordertuner.net/visit . And don't forget to visit "Remote Pulse" a project within the Border Tuner site. ?: Mariana Yañez #BorderTuner #SintonizadorFronterizo


This work brings people on both sides of the Mexico-United States border in a spiritual closeness, accompanied by people from the Native American communities who have visited the site. The exhibition is open every night, from 6:30 to 11:00 PM from November 13 and will last until the 24th.