fran ilich on 28 Jul 2000 20:54:39 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] 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
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

"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

Tj mailing list

nos vemos en el futuro.

editor sputnik bits.
co-editor sputnik atomos.

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