Alfredo Jaar «The Cloud» 2000.
The Cloud, Valle Del Matador, Tijuana-San Diego, Mexico-USA Border, October 14, 2000.
The US-Mexican border embodies an enormous social inequality and an astounding disequilibrium of political and economic power. As economic globalization is being celebrated as the triumph of international capitalism across frontiers, the border between Mexico and the United States has seen implemented the most draconian military measures in its history designed to prevent immigrant workers from crossing those newly 'open frontiers.'
An obscene amount of resources has been poured in recent years in an effort to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants. More than 3,000 Border Patrol agents are patrolling today the 66-mile border in San Diego County alone. They have implemented military-style tactics to seal the border and erected miles of high-security fencing, buried thousands of motion sensors along border trails and deployed dozens of helicopters equipped with infrared detectors. In the last decade alone, it is estimated that more than three thousand people have died trying to cross the border. These deaths have been the result of shootings by US Immigration Officials, drowning, extreme climatic conditions, and automobile accidents, some of them caused by high-speed chases by the Border Patrol. In repeated visits to the area and in numerous interviews and discussions with activists working on both sides of the border, I discovered an intolerable situation and an unacceptable tragedy: in the 21st Century people still die trying to simply cross a border between two countries. I created The Cloud as an ephemeral monument in the memory of those who lost their lives trying to cross the border. The Cloud lasted 45 minutes in which we offered a space and time of mourning. Music was played on both sides of the border, symbolically uniting a divided land and people. Poetry was read and a moment of silence was observed. Then the balloons were released. Contrary to normal wind conditions, the wind that morning took an unexpected turn and pushed the balloons towards Mexico. Catalina Enriquez, Felix Zavala, Guadalupe Romero, Trinidad Santiago, Aureliano Cabrera and the others went back home. ~ Alfredo Jaar, Notes on The Cloud, 2000.
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