On June 3 and 4, 2011, as part of the cross-border conference Political Equator 3: Conversations on Co-Existence: Border Neighborhoods as Sites of Production, an unprecedented public border crossing occurred. Traversing an existing drain recently built by Homeland Security, the conference attendees and audience slipped uninterrupted from San Diego into Tijuana, moving from the Tijuana River Estuary—an environmentally protected zone at the edge of the border wall on the US side—into a slum that is home to approximately 85,000 people that crashes against the fence on the Mexico side. This unique public action occurred inside a corridor of exception where Border Patrol has been systematically building a series of dirt-dams that truncate the many canyons that are part of the trans-border watershed system and beyond.
Working within official institutional protocols, Political Equator sought to designate the specific generic drain beneath one of those dirt berms as a temporary but official port of entry. Conference organizer Teddy Cruz wore a head-mounted video camera to record this unusual border crossing, orchestrating the visualization of the collision between environmental zone, surveillance infrastructure and informal settlement.
Teddy Cruz, Professor of Public Culture and Urbanism
Visual Arts department, University of California, San Diego