As the words of Donald Trump’s inauguration speech echo thinly on the radio repeating the refrains of his election campaign and inspiring only American believers, one word rises above all others: NATION. A word that was repeated by Marie Le Pen and others at a far right meeting in Koblenz, the status of the ‘Nation’ and ‘National interest’ were repeated, with defence of these interests and defence of the boundaries and borders of these interests, the threat of immigration as the attack on these borders being at the fore.
A nation state requires boundaries or borders.
Now there is a process: ‘New-Old’ borders and boundaries, seen and unseen are being recreated. The US Mexican border is one, with a porous history now about to be refashioned, hardened and enforced, the ‘Israeli peace wall’ and act of invasive brutality or self defence, depending on what side you live is another. In the Uk, the Irish border may be remade in the broken pieces of brevet, possibly with a risk of calling back all its tragic history. Meanwhile the cliffs of Dover or the Calais ferry port become a symbol for taking back control or denying freedom. My most local – the English Scottish Border – almost transparently thin after peaceful centuries of unified free movement, may yet be summoned back to being in Scottish independence.
The threat of borders can be seen as a denial of space. If landscape is freedom, borders are jail bars.
Ana Teresa Fernandez attempted to erase the US – Mexico border with a paint brush
Borrando la Barda: Erasing the Border – PERFORMANCE DOCUMENTATION AT TIJUANA/SAN DIEGO BORDER) by Ana Teresa Fernandez
Pieter Hugo documented the border town of Messina/Musina (South Africa/
‘In his photographs of individuals, families, interiors, landscapes and incidental details, Hugo reflects on the wounds and scars of race, class and nationality that persist here, on the border of Zimbabwe, a country in the process of self-destructing. The circumstances of Musina can be also be seen as broadly reflective of any community that is confronted by transition.’ (From the cover description of the exhibition catalogue)