Teddy Cruz master class 2007
«From the Global Border to the Border Neighborhood», in Arxipèlag d'excepcions. Sobiranies de l'extraterritorialitat, Urbanitats núm.18, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona 2007, forthcoming March 2007.
The New Global Border
The Master Class is directed at addressing critical issues in architecture and urban design. As a workshop, it examines through a project or proposal current urban questions in Barcelona from the interpretative stance of a designer, artist, or critic. The Master Class provides an opportunity to debate the present direction of changes in cities, Barcelona being regarded as its permanent subject of research and design. The Master Class is a one-week design workshop directed by Teddy Cruz.
It will take place during the first week of June, 2007.
Tracing an imaginary line along the US-Mexico border and extending it directly across a map of the world, what emerges is a political equator that roughly corresponds with the revised geography of the post-9/11 world according to Thomas P. M. Barnett's scheme for The Pentagon's New Map, in which he effectively divides the globe into "Functioning Core," or parts of the world where "globalization is thick with network connectivity, financial transactions, liberal media flows, and collective security," and "Non-Integrating Gap," "regions plagued by politically repressive regimes, widespread poverty and disease, routine mass murder, and chronic conflicts that incubate the next generation of global terrorists."
Along this imaginary border encircling the globe lie some of the world's most contested thresholds: the US-México border at Tijuana/San Diego, the most intensified portal for immigration from Latin America to the United States; the Strait of Gibraltar, where waves of migration flow from North African flow into Europe; the Israeli-Palestinian border that divides the Middle East, along with the embattled frontiers of Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, and Jordan; the Line of Control between the Indian state of Kashmir and Azad or free Kashmir on the Pakistani side; the Taiwan Strait where relations between China and Taiwan are increasingly strained as the Pearl River Delta rapidly ascends to the role of China's economic gateway for the flow of foreign capital, supported by the traditional centers of Hong Kong and Shanghai. These are only a few of the critical thresholds of a world in which the politics of density and labor are transforming not only the sites of conflict but also the centers of production and consumption, while unprecedented socio-cultural demographics rearrange flows of information and capital.
So, it is also along this imaginary border that the most dramatic socio-economic global dynamics are witnessed as a series of two-way hemispheric crossings. On one hand, the increasing migration of people across this border represents an illegal flow from the non-integrating gap in search of the "strong" economies of the functioning core setting in motion a sort of "reverse colonization." On the other hand, the redistribution of centers of manufacturing moves in the opposite direction, as the functioning core targets the non-integrating gap as the site to enact its politics of outsourcing and its search for the world's cheapest labor markets. Furthermore, as migrant communities from Latin America, Africa, and Asia move northward, settling illegally within the strong economies of the United States and Europe, they unleash a southbound flow of capital -- informal subsidies -- to support the fragile economies of their countries of origin. In Mexico alone, these informal subsidies amount to US$ 16 billion annually, becoming now this country's first largest source of domestic revenue.
The dramatic images emerging from the political equator are intensified by the current political climate in which terrorism and its opposite, fear, set the stage for the current confrontations over immigration policy and the regulation of borders worldwide. Along the newly reconstituted global border that this post 9-11 world has produced between the first and third worlds, we are witnessing how societies of overproduction and excess are barricading themselves in an unprecedented way against the sectors of scarcity they have produce out of political and economic indifference. The result is an urbanism born of surveillance and exclusion which casts these geographies of conflict as anticipatory scenarios of the 21st -century global metropolis, where the city will increasingly become the battleground where control and transgression, formal and informal economies, legal and illegal occupations meet.