So, I made it back from another jaunt to the border, this time – my very own little border zone down south, of new places filled between San Diego and Tijuana, and I have to say – I really didn’t feel like coming back! Seriously, it was so nice down there. I had a ridiculously amazing time, so let me just say thanks to Catherine Herbst for inviting me, having me (I’m glad you thought I came across like an old pro!) how cool. And to Andrea Dietz, for taking such good care of me, setting me up, shuttling me around, and for setting me straight on my lack of history in regards to the precarious relationship architects have always shared with political power – much needed insight, and I will have to dive deeper before making future assertions about architects relationships with the clouds – so thanks again!
Also, a huge thanks goes out to Erre for the opportunity to present at his incredibly cool space Estación Tijuana, which was perfectly enough totally surrounded by cops just as I got there (apparently they knew I was coming into town and cordoned off the entire neighborhood!) – great time, great conversation afterward, and I can’t wait to get back down there and hang out some more.
And of course, a super huge thanks to Rene Peralta – whom I call The Architectural Mayor of Tijuana – seriously, if you ever want to get a tour of the city (which I am thoroughly in love with at this point), roll around with Rene. I can’t imagine getting a more contextualized urban lesson in the making, unmaking, and remaking of the Tijuana landscape. Not only did I get to climb wicked vantages over the outskirts of the city in his gutsy little truck, or roam the strange securitized maquiladora districts along the border with all their corporate logos, or check out Mona! and a sweet little look out spot over the fence; not to mention the tunnel house or that sexy salsa club, or a brief history of old TJ jazz bars, and even the birth spot of the Cesar Salad!; there was also that vintage little sidewalk Cuban cigar shop, and Dandy’s Del Sur, and of course the fact that I had the best mole probably ever prepared on the planet – man, I feel like I have a new little family down there now, a new comuna! I mean, my very own little border-watching network, that looks both ways!
What a great time. THANKS TO EVERYONE who came to hang out (Jesie all the way from LA, I'll be in touch soon!), MOST appreciated y'all. And thanks for the good questions and conversation after, and for ganging me around for beers, and those tasty tacos on the roof!
Damn, it’s over, went by quick. Man, I need to learn Spanish ASAPS (that's for sure), and I need to learn to Salsa! But, who knows, there may already be some plans in the works to get my ass down there again real soon. Stay tuned.
For any new readers looking to get a bead on what this Subtopia thing is all about after hearing my long winded tour of the globe’s borders that was described “as opening Pandora’s Box”, here are a few links to get you started.
Floating Prisons, and Other Miniature Prefabricated Islands of Carceral Territoriality
Tracking Border Ghosts with Ronen Eidelman
A Dialogue on Walls with Jay Isenberg
Urbanization of Panic
The City in the Crosshairs: A Conversation with Stephen Graham (Pt. 2)
The City in the Crosshairs: A Conversation with Stephen Graham (Pt. 1) . . .
The Military Planks of Capital Accumulation: An Interview with Neil Smith
Subtopia Meets Lebbeus Woods
Migrant Housing (extended play)
One Small Project: Wes Janz
Hitching Stealth with Trevor Paglen
Designing for the Homeless (Book Review)
Compared to What? (editor)
Blinding At The Border
An Exceptional Paradise
A Camp Called Justice
"Fenceland" (The Greatest Show On Earth!)
Border to Border, Wall to Wall, Fence to Fence
Circus of Detention
Call it 'Border Ball'
Washington's New 'Survival City'
Architects of Nebulous Detention
The Panoptic Arcade
Virtual Police State
Globalization of Forced Migration, and the nomadic fortress (pt 1)
The Saudi's Immigrant-hunting Border Fence (the nomadic fortress (pt 2)
'Tactical Infrastructure' and the 'Border Calculus'
fortress urbanism: Superbowl City (Detroit)
Good Buildings, Bad Buildings
The Entomomechanophilic Army
[Images: Subtopia / Bryan Finoki, 2008]