Kate Clark (Parkeology) + Sara Velas (The Velaslavasay Panorama), 2017 Materials: Particle Board, Acrylic Paint, Enamel Paint, Surveyor's Tripods, LED Light, Stamped Metal Plates
Over the past 150 years, the stretch of land between San Diego and Tijuana has transformed from farming land into a territory laced with steel and concrete. From a removed perspective, it is easy to take a historic view and say that mechanisms of tourism, government land grabs, and U.S. militarism have instigated these rapid shifts. Yet for locals and visitors alike, it is more difficult to read these developing layers of time and control within a single landscape. As we move through our streets, parks, and neighborhoods we are more prone to read our worlds as one fixed plane. Yet, as the anthropologist Kathleen Stewart writes, “we are caught in a present that began some time ago.” For example: imagine we were walking down San Ysidro Boulevard to get a milkshake. As we walk past the countless money exchange houses and mounting car traffic as we near the final US McDonalds before the border, it would be quite difficult to imagine that only 100 years ago, the sidewalks below us would have been dirt and grass, and our milk would have been coming from the cows grazing on it. If we were taking this walk 170 years ago, we would have been Mexicans taking a stroll. 194 years ago in the exact same location, we would have been Spaniards. 476 years ago, if we were treading the same path, it would have meant we were Kumeyaay, the people indigenous to the land. This walking exercise is not typical, yet it can be quite helpful, particularly when considering the physical and political presence of the world’s most trafficked border. "Permanent" structures become malleable and unfixed, like any other material or idea as it undergoes processes of time. As a collaborative project between Parkeology and The Velaslavasay Panorama, the Border Peepshows were designed as tools to help this exercise: to mark the physical development of the line that divides San Diego/Tijuana. In a larger sense, the peepshows serve as conversational tools to discuss borders worldwide, their effects upon the people and the land they surround, and their dissolution.