About

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. Share some hot dogs and salsa. 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 participate 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 is producing a movie and an art installation that chronicle his pilgrimage and share some of the many stories he heard along the way. The 9-channel video installation premieres at ArtCenter DTLA in Los Angeles, California. The exhibit will run from June 13 – August 29, 2020.

Tauber was born in 1972 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA and comes from a long line of rabbis. His work focuses on generating conversation and facilitating change. Most recently, Tauber’s “The Sharing Project” movie was named “Best International Documentary Film” by the Vintage International Film Festival (Kolhapur, India) and “Best International Documentary Short” by the LakeCity International Film Festival (Noida, India). He lives and works in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA; where he is Associate Professor of Art at Wake Forest University.