On Oct. 14th I met with Justin who was visiting the gallery for the first time. He was very candid about his experience with traveling and spoke about the barriers and the necessity of acquiring passports and visas. This was reminiscent of my first conversation with Robert Boyd (please see entry 1 in Blog). Justin would visit particular areas along the US borders to Mexico and Canada and made the interesting observation of our physical and psychological sense of national boundaries. When one is actually looking at a Canadian border crossing the boundaries could be just a narrow street with a patrol officer in a booth; In the case of Mexico, particularly along the Texas border, it is just a river. Justin was comparing the various discrepancies and “holes” or porous spots. Obviously there are legal, political and racial policies that mold the physical character of our northern and southern borders. We didn’t have to mention the various “walls” along Mexico and the US. But he pointed out how our concepts of the national demarcation psychologically shape our sense of what the boundary looks and feels like. WE are not far from each other. WE live just next door. In many ways, its about understanding that the other place is just over there, close by, a short walk or a stone throw away. The real “wall” exists in out minds.
Then he observed, that while some places may seem physically impenetrable, why then it could be so difficult for some and simpler for other? We recognized that for some people (the 1%), traveling to another country is no effort at all, in either the cost or labor. They can pay others to do all the work for them, have someone pack their bags, book a flight, get the visas in order, charter the flight and all they need to do is get on the plane. These people are not encumbered by nationality or commitments to other countries. They can live where they wish whenever they wish. A word to describe these people are, “Supra-nationals”. It would be different that Thomas Friedman’s simplification of these one-percenters; “super empowered individuals.” It is not “supranational” like a multinational body (EU). Perhaps adding the suffix “individual” would help differentiate.
Other questions we considered: Comparing Texas voter registration to New York State; In NY, you can register online. In Texas, registration forms must be mailed. Why not get a passport or visa as easily as registering to vote? We talked about EU passports for citizens to travel wherever in the continent. What about one day having a North American Hemisphere or South American Hemisphere passport?