Sunset Through the Slats: Border Barrier Suite       Mixed Media. By the author


Before our…umm…discussion about the..Wall…fence…”wence”…barrier —

on our southern border…I knew virtually nothing about what goes on down there.

And even though I was buried in an avalanche of work around a treatment for a streaming series on spies….I was fascinated like everyone else.

These images are my response. They’re drawn from the area around El Paso/Juarez…where more urban styled approaches are taken. Actual walls and slats.

I get that most Creatives don’t want to weigh in on walls. It’s not a popular ideological stance to most and between social media and group think—you could generate some problems for yourself.

But barriers aren’t going anywhere soon. There’s a global surge in building them.

So I took an ideological-agnostic view– one that left me free to create the images here.

They deal with utilitarian, design and artistic modes. My feeling is this is a way to round out the edges of the barrier discussion– take it from the bottom of Maslow’s primal needs…and elevate the concept by subjecting it to humanizing expression.


Sunset Solar Collector: Border Barrier Suite

Though I’ve heard of some discussions about using solar at the barriers I’ve yet to see an actual image suggesting what it can look like.

Here you see the solar collectors mounted so they don’t show on the Mexican side. This way no one’s tempted to destroy or steal them.

On the U.S. side the solar arrays generate energy and experiments with new energy distribution approaches.


Sunset Urban Wall: Border Barrier Suite (FROM MEXICAN SIDE)

Designers are also absent in popular discussions of the barriers. Too bad. It seems like there would be a lot of opportunities around materials, shapes, patinas and colors…aesthetics…that offer a great arena for designers to play in …actually add something beautiful to the landscape on both sides.


Sunrise glimpse of nirvana: Border Barrier Suite (FROM MEXICAN SIDE)

It would be a shame if in this age of branding…image…and avatars…if all we were to do was put up gray concrete walls and industrial grade slats. What kind of image do we want to project….a gulag?

Why can’t we have a look to our barrier that suggests something great on the other side? Something that kindles not crushes dreams. If we take more aesthetic approaches we’ll not only polish our brand but also create a visually appealing object for the Mexican landscape…like land art does.

You could even have cross-border mural-painting barrier parties where Mexican muralists do something on the US side and our artists on the Mexican side…

My feeling is…

If you can re-contextualize the barrier you can re-frame the challenges.


Dean Balsamo


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