I’m excited to announce that the Border-Ball movie—which chronicles my recent pilgrimage along the U.S. – Mexico border and shares stories of people I met along the way—premieres October 17-18.
Please join me for the movie screenings anytime this coming weekend on the ArtCenter website. The screenings are part of a multi-phase exhibition of Border-Ball at ArtCenter: first virtually, October 17, 2020 – January 16, 2021, on the ArtCenter website; and then physically, in Autumn 2021, as a 9-channel video installation at ArtCenter DTLA.
ArtCenter College of Design ArtCenter Exhibitions presents
Border-Ball: A 40-day pilgrimage along the U.S. and Mexico Border
Exhibition explores immigration, compassion and hope
Online Exhibition Dates: 10/17/20 – 1/16/2020
On-site Exhibition to follow in Fall 2021.
(Pasadena, Calif.) Sept. 25, 2020 – ArtCenter DTLA launches the online premiere of Border-Ball, the first phase of the culminating exhibition of a 40-day pilgrimage (October 29 – December 7, 2019) along the U.S. and Mexico border by artist Joel Tauber.
Border-Ball explores the meaning of the wall and how it impacts the human race psychologically, ethically and spiritually. Through the shared cultural experience of baseball that extends beyond boundaries, Tauber asks probing questions about immigration, compassion, imprisonment and more.
Tauber began his pilgrimage at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego, California, and walked along the Border Wall before heading north two and a half miles to the Otay Mesa Detention Center. He travelled there and back again daily—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 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!
Tauber wore a custom vintage baseball uniform and backpack in blue, white and red. Tossing a baseball as he walked along, the artist invited people who walked along with him to play catch.
The exhibition will be presented in two phases. The online exhibition presents the trailer of the 20-minute documentary of the project with information and still-images of Tauber’s journey. The first phase will also feature an artist talk (Oct. 23) and a limited premiere of the Border-Ball documentary (Oct. 17 and 18). With the central component of the exhibition highlighting the personal stories of immigration, the online exhibition will feature an ongoing interactive link for visitors to the site to share their own stories on immigration.
The second phase of the exhibition will be the on-site installation of the Border-Ball project in Fall 2021 featuring a video series of interviews of people Tauber met while on his border walk. A collection of personal reflections and stories related to border and baseball, the interviews reflect the complexity of our relationships across demarcated boundaries. Presented as an installation project, Border-Ball will also comprise of photos and documentation of the 40-day pilgrimage along with an interactive piece where visitors are invited to play catch and add their own stories about baseball and the border.
Border-Ball was developed in part through Tauber’s interpretation of Tikkun Olam, a Kabbalistic mandate to do what we can to save the world. By framing his performance and documentation along the border as a pilgrimage, the artist raises the performative gesture to a meditative action of care and opens up the opportunity to share in conversation about the border rather than limit it to polemics.
Tauber was born in 1972 in Boston, Massachusetts, 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 Lake City International Film Festival (Noida, India). He lives and works in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he is associate professor of art at Wake Forest University.
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About ArtCenter DTLA: As a satellite of the College, ArtCenter DTLA provides a platform for dialogue and engagement, intersecting the campus with the Los Angeles community. As an extension of the Exhibition department’s mission, ArtCenter DTLA’s programming will focus on events and exhibitions that are critically engaging from a transdisciplinary perspective. Drawing on the resources of the College and the Los Angeles art community to collaboratively build and contribute to a culture that is diverse, innovative and relevant.
About ArtCenter Exhibitions ArtCenter Exhibitions includes the Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery at its north campus in Pasadena, the Peter and Merle Mullin Gallery, the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography Gallery and the Hutto-Patterson Exhibition Hall at its south campus in Pasadena, and ArtCenter DTLA Gallery in downtown Los Angeles. These curated spaces embody ArtCenter’s institutional will to understand artistic thinking and design strategies as levers in promoting social advancement, the pursuit of humanitarian innovation and use of critical inquiry to clarify objectives and truths. Using the lens of contemporary art and design, the mission of ArtCenter Exhibitions is to ignite emotional resonance, provoke intellectual dissonance and conjure unexpected pathways of thinking.
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I’ve had many amazing conversations with the people that I’ve met so far on my pilgrimage, and I look forward to many more. Many thanks to all those who have walked with me already, and many thanks to everyone who is planning to join me in the future!
I start, each day, at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego, California, and walk along the border wall before heading north two and a half miles to the Otay Mesa Detention Center. I’m traveling 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.
You are welcome to walk with me for as much as you like: for a little bit, or for as much as the full 7 miles.