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Nogales pairs a single 35mm slide-image of the walled town of Nogales, divided along the US/Mexican border, with an audio recording of Ronald Reagan's famous speech at the Berlin Wall, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

On June 12, 1987 President Reagan, standing in front of the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin,   condemned the wall as "the brutal division of a continent" and the "restriction on the right to travel, an instrument to impose upon ordinary men and women the will of a totalitarian state." Twenty years later, Reagan's own country, including his home state of California, is erecting a border wall to keep out 'illegal' immigrants from Mexico and Latin America. The result is a series of divided towns, with family members, neighborhoods and entire communities cut off from one another. Following a strategy I first explored in my work Siege of Khartoum, I have deleted specific names - Berlin, Europe, Mr. Gorbachev - but kept the rest of the sentence structure intact. The image shows the town of Nogales now divided into Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Mexico. The image also reveals the economic interdependence of the two zones. Factories in Nogales, Mexico provides the cheap goods that stock the malls of Nogales, Arizona and tourist thrills such as low priced alcohol and strip clubs which are conveniently dotted along the streets closest to the border wall.

Update 2017: I made Nogales in 2008 as a response to the militarization of the US-Mexican border, a buildup that most politicians, including Obama and Clinton, voted in favor of. Violent disenfranchisement has always been part of the American body politic, but is now being implemented on a scale that makes earlier administrations seem almost benevolent and the work has a new (and unfortunate) relevance. Nogales is also the town where the current administration is deporting people to, perhaps because the wall makes a good photo-op to whip up support among its core voters and promises more to come…Whether or not they can keep that promise, will be up to the rest of us.



2008, 35 mm slide installation w/synchronized audio track, 3.25 min

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