desert borders

An Oasis makes water accessible in an extremely dry desert area. Oases also have historically been decisive tools for political, economic and military control of an area, which trading routes should depend on. But an oasis can also be created to go beyond military barriers.

The US/Mexican border has experienced over 1,000 deaths of migrants between 2000-2007 venturing themselves into the desert in a life-or-death flight to a dreamt future. [map below] In a season where Spain suffers from a similar drama of Subsaharians dying in sea waters while fleeing into Spain, ElPaís brings the example of Humane Borders volunteering association to its pages. They take care of 100 drinking water stations in Arizona to help migrants survive, once they have crossed the border.

While some extreme right radicals Minutemen have been recently reported to being patrolling the same area but with fire weapons, some other ranches agree on having free water tanks on their plots, and the organization will check the water quality and filling on weekly or even daily basis. By providing information of walking distances in the desert, as well as signaling where these water points are located, they aim to reduce the everyday tragedy of nomadic migration and imposed boundaries.

As Teddy Cruz stated in his SanDiego/Tijuana Borderwall: Urbanism of Transgression:

“The border’s transformation from light to solid is exactly opposite the trend in recent architecture, which has moved from solid to light.

Contemporary architecture is searching once more for nomadic strategies of lightness and freedom, less interested in objects of imposition and more interested in territorial strategies. It is engaging the boundaries that simultaneously delimit and blur the diverse socio-cultural geographies of contemporary life.

Maybe this suggests, once more, that the dreams of architecture are at odds with the actual socio-political and economic realities in which they exist.”

[images 1-4> volunteering and water stations via Humane Borders] [image5> Urbanism of Transgression by Teddy Cruz]

Leave a Reply