Sponge Borders

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Title: Sponge Borders
Author: Cimadomo, Guido; Martínez Ponce, Pilar
Abstract: The latest expansion of the EU towards the East has again modified its borders, showing once again the intangibility and flexibility of the latter. The very definition of border acquires different meanings depending on which theme is being discussed: an impenetrable barrier against migratory flows and the introduction of goods, transforming itself into a strainer for the exporting of national products. The new Internal Affairs Commissioner for the EU, Rocco Buttiglione, affirms on the one hand that migratory flows cannot be blocked manu militari, although he also believes that Europe decides who can enter and who cannot. Even within Europe, and despite the Schengen Agreements, borders are taking shape in concrete situations, reminding us that their disappearance is not definitive. We should differentiate between natural borders and those erected by man; in reference to the latter we will focus on walls, such as the one no longer standing in Berlin or that illegally erected by Israel in the Occupied Territories, scoffing at the international bodies dedicated to the defense of human rights and freedoms. In reference to natural borders, in direct opposition to those made by man, and due to the dramatic events that are taking place, we will concentrate on the oceans, true black holes in which the dreams of immigrants come to a tragic end. The absence of man-made elements can be more powerful than the presence of the very same barriers. The interesting thing about the Berlin Wall, having certain similarities to the Great Wall of China, is its slow (but deliberate)transformation from Cold War symbol to souvenir and finally its disappearance altogether in favour of urbanistic exploitation. The best analysis of this condition, as R. Koolhaas states (encloses free space, leaving outside the enclosed city), resides in its mutable situation, sometimes improvised evolution, and others detailed planning. It seems unfathomable that after the disappearance of one wall someone could construct another, especially under considerations so stingy such as those carved out by Israel. A proposition for the borders of the future: In agreement with J. Deridda, although arbitrarily applying his thinking to our reflections, it will consist in constantly questioning the relevance of the limit/boundary, equilibrating the pressure between the interior and exterior, as if it were a permeable membrane. That way we would recognise that marginality is not on one side, but rather on both, inside and out, expanding this way the boundaries of mere vertical elements in strips, that would be enriched by their own state, no longer the soil of anyone, but rather a place in constant state of redefinition, in agreement with the existing pressures, the situation and conformity of the border. In essence a sponge that absorbs and repels human demands depending on its capacity (unlimited), becoming a meeting place instead of an element to be crossed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10630/7267
Date: 2005
xmlui.dri2xhtml.METS-1.0.identifier.citation: Sarai reader 05. bare acts. Delhi: Sarai Media Lab, 2005. p. 150-153
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