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Other possible walls

Resistance is not exclusively about denying the oppressor’s power but also on creating new ways of existing, including ways of feeling, thinking and being in a world that progressively constructs itself through varied insurgencies and irruptions. 

Nelson Maldonado-Torres

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The experience of being raised in Buenos Aires, a South American city with a deep-rooted European legacy, established my interest in borders, cultural hybridity, and the space in-between -a metaphorical territory in which different subjective worlds overlap. 

My perspectives on these subjects have been broadened and enriched by my experiences as an immigrant -first living in the UK and now based in the US- adding layers of complexity and acknowledging diverse foreign perceptions of ‘Latinx’ identities, influencing and inquiring about my positionality. 

As a result, I became interested in exploring other ‘borderlands’, particularly to bring alive multiple forms of crossings -geographic, gendered, and social dislocations. Gloria Anzaldúa, a Chicana writer, poet, and queer activist, informed my practice through her groundbreaking book Borderlands: The New Mestiza, in which she expressed a series of raw and intense recollections of her individual and family experiences in the Texan-Mexican border. 

Expressing my concern for estrangement, uprooting, and cultural transition, the wall sculpture Other Possible Walls addresses the immigration conflict and current political turmoil in the US. It stages a section of the country’s southern border disrupted by a strip of a delicate lace-like net that cascades through the floor suggesting expansion and regeneration. 

The work is visually and allegorically built upon contrasts, bringing up oppositions that distinguish classical from the baroque: “linear versus pictorial, plane versus depth, closed-form versus open form, form that is weighed down versus form that takes flight, and unity versus multiplicity” (Heinrich Wölfflin). This set of oppositions are meant to visibilize and question binary constructions but also to highlight the existence of the liminal space. 

I address the idea of resistance as an interwoven pattern conveying interconnectedness and interdependency. In contrast with divisive narratives that call for segregation and hate within communities, the soft structure of the web acts as a political gesture strengthening the social fabric, dialogue, and integration. 

– Paula Córdoba

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