TERRITORIUM | TIJUANA
July 31 – September 22, 2019
Ana Andrade, Birgit Auf der Lauer + Caspar Pauli, Miguel Buenrostro, Kate Clark + Sara Velas, Cognate Collective / Amy Sanchez + Misael Diaz, Sofia Dona, Dirk Fleischmann, Margarita Certeza Garcia, Lisa Glauer, Maria Iorio + Raphael Cuomo, Siraj Izhar, Sangdon Kim, Jan Lemitz, Angelika Levi, Mario Rizzi, Siren Eun Young Jung
TERRITORIUM | Tijuana is a point of departure for an exhibition in progress; an open invitation to a shared process of thinking and working together with our friends and colleagues in Tijuana and beyond. The project began with the conception of the exhibition Tunnel below / Skyjacking above: deconstructing the border in Berlin in 2017 and continues in the format of TERRITORIUM, imagined as a fertile ground for artistic collaboration beyond the gallery. We want to make the most of the time here for productive moments of sharing, reflection, and exchange, hoping to develop and explore common threads that extend beyond geographical confinements and site-specific narratives that we plan to carry in the future to other frontiers.
Centered in the nexus of the Mexican-US border region, the many impacts of the contemporary border affect daily lives which are spatially manifested in ways visible across the city and the greater urban agglomeration. Forming connections that tunnel under / network above divisive political rhetoric and geo-political barriers – we aim at opening dialogues with a strong emphasis on the local, the public and the urban context. Located in the heart of Tijuana’s grid-like urban plan this exhibition space, part of the City Museum connects with the City Archive, the Museum of History and a Public Library and thus reaches a broad public audience beyond the art world. The city archive collection reflects the very beginnings of an emerging city settling itself onto complex historic layers and geological formations – the Ocean to the east and plateau of mountains to the west speak of another past and present of (geological + social) registrations, of immaterial border crossings, of militarized regimes and their contestations.
URBAN SPACE AS THE PROTAGONIST
Founded out of informal settlements in response to the newly established frontier in 1889, Tijuana’s center is being shaped by the horizontal cut of the border. Geopolitical swings have been inscribed into the city space since it’s founding 130 years ago. Prohibition fueled the rise of the art déco boom town in the 1920s; the ‘War on Drugs’ in the 1980s and the violence of the early 2000s resulted in flight from the city and an abundance of emptied shops, arcades, theatres and malls across central Tijuana. After the signing of the NAFTA treaty in 1994, the outskirts of the city became a center for industrial production and labor exploitation in the maquiladoras. The sky above downtown Tijuana now features a metal arch donated by Samsung as a symbol of economic engagement, a brutalist testament to global corporate power and ‘free’ markets, whose cost is borne by the poorest and the land itself. The inland warehouses and factories draw flows of workers towards an ever-growing city, connecting informal and formal types of spaces in ever-evolving and complex relationships. Currently, investment money is pouring back into a reviving city, resulting in controversial development projects and various attempts in rebranding.
The exhibition links artistic, spatial and political practices, contributors, participants and audiences from a diverse range of disciplines through a series of curated meetings, workshops, performances, screenings and lectures. We seek to contradict the omnipresence of one-dimensional media representations as we find ourselves in an extremely complex and multi-layered urban/political landscape. Conceived of as a process-oriented nomadic format, the exhibition gathers ongoing and existing work from a wide range of practices into a transient and preliminary constellation. Tracing resemblances and parallels, the findings and results will be incorporated into the continuous process of the project.