Border-Ball is a 40-day pilgrimage (October 29 – December 7, 2019) along the U.S. – Mexico border, a movie, and an art installation by Joel Tauber.
Tauber is troubled by the rise of racist rhetoric and how we’re treating immigrants and refugees. Old stories about the Holocaust—and how his paternal grandparents survived it—play over and over again in his mind. Yet… not all is lost. There is always hope that things will change.
So, with a patriotic prayer, Tauber puts on his blue, white, and red baseball uniform and makes his way to Southern California, where he lived for 12 years, to begin his pilgrimage. Tauber hopes to rekindle and celebrate what he loves most about the United States of America: its dream of becoming a compassionate, welcoming, diverse home for all. An openhearted, expansive dream that baseball—played without a clock on endless, hopeful, green fields—can embody.
Tauber starts each day at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego and walks along the Border Wall before heading north two and a half miles to the Otay Mesa Detention Center. He travels there and back again each day—a seven mile journey that connects legal entry to the U.S. with the Border Wall and the Detention Center holding those who might be in the country without all legal permits. While walking, he declares, in English as well as some Spanish, an adaptation of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”:
Walk with me along the border. Play catch with me in front of the Wall. I don’t care what part of the world you’re from. Let’s root, root, root for teamwork. If we don’t find some, it’s a shame. For it’s one, two, three strikes, we’re out at the old ball game.
He also proclaims, as an adaptation of “The Star-Spangled Banner”:
Oh, say, can you see, our country’s gorgeous dream: an endless field of green, where everyone can live and play? Our star-spangled banner yet waves, over the land of immigrants and the home of us all!
Many people participated in Border-Ball by walking with Tauber and playing catch with him, and by sharing their thoughts and stories about the border, the Port of Entry, the Wall, and the Detention Center.
Tauber created a movie and an art installation that chronicle his pilgrimage and share some of the many stories he heard along the way. The movie—which has won 71 film festival awards—is screening now, online, on the Spring Time International Film Festival website.
The 9-channel video installation will be shown next at the Adamski Gallery (Berlin, Germany) (tune in for dates!).
In addition to experiencing Border-Ball through the movie and exhibitions, there is an ongoing opportunity to participate further: