The Visual Absurdity of the Mexican Border Wall

The “wall” along the US-Mexico border has always been more a weapon than a barricade. Since the implementation of Border Patrol’sPrevention through Deterrence program in the mid 1990s—which built up the wall in urban areas to force border crossers into ever more remote and deadly terrain—the effort to stop or control migration across the US-Mexico border has proven to be as patently absurd as it is murderous.

The results—the death and disappearance of thousands of border crossers—are not surprising. In fact, the tragedy was part of the plan—the harrowing experience of crossing the desert was meant to deter further attempts at migration. Instead, with the locking in of free-trade economics, climate change, and abusive US-backed regimes in Mexico and Central America, migrants have not stopped moving north in search of asylum and economic security. Today’s hysterical cries to build a wall across nearly 2,000 miles of treacherous and varied terrain—cleaving through communities, cutting into ecosystems, and severing traditional lands—is as inhumane as it is impossible. But while a 2,000-mile “wall” as a functional barricade is delusion, an increasingly militarized zone with sprouting segments of easily traversable fencing (there are now approximately 700 miles in place) however, is the deadly reality.

A new collaborative book of photography and art, Border Cantos, by photographer Richard Misrach and experimental composer Guillermo Galindo, captures some of the ostentatious absurdity of the border wall and the calamities, cultures, and artifacts that surround it. Bilingual, multi-genre, international, and multi-media, Border Cantos (Aperture, 2016) breaks down the obvious duality of any wall—that you are either on this side, or on that side—and exposes the human and environmental consequences of decades of political recklessness.

Read More at the Nation

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