performing the border

Ursula Biemann

1999, 43:00 minutes, colour, English/Spanish


A video essay set in the Mexican - US border town Ciudad Juarez, where the US industries assemble their electronic and digital equipment, located right across from El Paso, Texas. "performing the border" looks at the border as both a discursive and a material space constituted through the performance of gender and the management of these gender relations. The drastic industrialization drew mainly young women into the labor force. The video discusses the sexualization of the border region through the labour division, prostitution, the expression of female desires in the entertainment industry, and sexual violence in the public sphere.
Interviews, scripted voice over, quoted text on the screen, scenes and sounds recorded on site, as well as found footage are combined to give an insight into the gendered conditions inscribed .

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Critical Writing

The (im)mobilities of assembly-line work
by Paula Brailovsky. Moving Image Review & Art Journal (MIRAJ), 2015, v. 4, no. 1&2.
Materialist Feminism for the Twenty-first Century: The Video...
by Angela Dimitrakaki. Oxford Art Journal, 2007, v. 30, no. 2.
Video Ground Zero
by Lisa Steele. Toronto: Vtape, 2002.