POLITICAL BORDERS: THE AESTHETICS OF GEOGRAPHIC DIVISION

The New York Times has just published a fascinating article titled “Eight Ways to Build a Border Wall” that looks at various construction prototypes for a new border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. See screenshot above.

The idea of a border wall running the full length of the U.S.-Mexico border is controversial. The construction of a wall was at the core of recent U.S. presidential campaign rhetoric and a promise to supporters on the part of Donald Trump. These prototypes are a result of the U.S. President’s effort to make the wall a reality.

The Times articles examines each of the prototypes, documenting the costs, materials, architecture, pros and cons and design associated with each.

Looking at photos of the prototypes altogether, one can’t help but be aware of the aesthetic and architectural design of each. Each prototype is of a single segment of a would be wall. These are geometric, almost perfectly square objects, as if made to fit the format of Instagram. The colors and tone are mostly neutral, bland and muted — grays and beiges —  and unexpressive in a style typical of U.S. governmental institutions and things made for the most utilitarian of public uses.

These wall prototypes represent what the architecture of geographic and political division looks like. It’s not pretty and there is no motivation or incentive on the part of the architects to express a style, and yet looked at together, a style pattern emerges.

And it kind of creeps us the fuck out.

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