Up Against the Wall, 2002-Present
Using the southern United States border, Israel’s walls in Palestine and the Spanish/European Union-controlled barrier at Melilla, Up Against the Wall offers a visual investigation of nation state-imposed borders as they become physical and evolve and their effects on the people and the land.
Up Against the Wall first sparked a nerve in 2002 as I watched Israel begin construction on what is now a nearly 500 mile long, largely 25 foot high concrete wall inside the West Bank of occupied Palestine.
At the time, the idea to build a physical and militarized structure, that displaces and separates as a solution to something deemed a problem, blew my mind. So I began looking around. And I came to realize, building a structure to keep the Other out or lock Them in was not so unusual a reality. And that in many cases, people by the scores were willing to risk imprisonment or death in attempt to cross.
As I looked around it seemed that ample documentation exists of the people impacted by these structures yet little visual documentation seemed to exist of the structures themselves and even less that set side by side all of the structures together. So I set out to help fill this documentation void and thus began Up Against the Wall.
Being able to juxtapose these images gives us space to visually comprehend global relationships of power. Considering these structures allows us to ask why these structures exist, who builds them, to what ends and who is impacted. Visualizing these structures offer those of us not forced up against the walls in this world a glimpse of the reality we are building.
But Up Against the Wall is also about making community connections and it becomes a canvas for collaboration across our various social movement work. I utilize exhibitions of Up Against the Wall as a space local grassroots organizations, communities and activists can host events. This type of collaboration helps to highlight and build from our social justice intersections, expose a broader audience to the involved organizations and to Up Against the Wall, which in turn offers exhibition visitors a means to get engaged with local social justice work. In this way, the reality of that which divides us is subverted into bridges that connect, and through these collaborations, solutions can be offered.
For information on hosting Up Against the Wall, please check out the Exhibition Proposal