Tijuana Calling

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From left: Angel Nevarez, Fran Illich, Alex Rivera, and Luis Hernandez at the Tijuana/San Diego border.
Image courtesy of Ricardo Miranda Zuñiga.

Tijuana Calling is an online exhibition curated by Mark Tribe for inSite_05.

Furtherfield review: http://www.furtherfield.org/displayreview.php?review_id=190

Projects

Corridos
-Anne-Marie Schleiner and Luis Hernandez

Dentimundo - Dentistas en la Frontera / Dentists on the Border Mexico / U.S.A.
-Ricardo Miranda Zuñiga with Kurt Olmstead and Brooke Singer

LowDrone
-Angel Nevarez and Alex Rivera

Tj Cybercholos (a project of literatura táctica / un proyecto de tactical literature)
-Fran Ilich

Turista Fronterizo
-Ricardo Dominguez and Coco Fusco

Curatorial Statement

-Mark Tribe

Tijuana Calling* is an online exhibition of five commissioned projects that make use of the Internet to explore various features of the Tijuana/San Diego border region, including cultural tourism, the symptomatic economy of border dentistry, transborder narco-tunnels, vigilante surveillance drones, and the journalistic hype surrounding border crime. Like the inSite_05 Interventions, these projects grew out of a lengthy process of research and investigation. Although all five projects exist on the Internet, they adopt a wide range of artistic strategies, from gameplay to tactical literature.

Artists began experimenting with the Internet in the mid-1990s, when the first web browser became available to the public. Net artists, as they quickly came to be called, saw the web not as a way to publish their portfolios online but as a space for art making. The collaborative duo known as MTAA offered perhaps the best definition of net art to date in this remarkably simple animation:

According to this definition, net art is not merely art that can be found online, but art that happens online. In this view, net art is dynamic and process-oriented, more like a happening or a performance than a painting or a sculpture.

In its early days, net art was fueled by a critical engagement with the market forces that drove the rapid transformation of the web from a research tool for academics into a popular medium for communication and commerce. When the boom ended in 2000, net art fell out of favor. It continued to proliferate, but net artists had to work harder to sustain the sense of social relevance and cultural importance that they had once taken for granted.

Although artists continue to work online in ever greater numbers, net art as a movement may well be over. But to say that the net is just another medium along with video, painting, installation, etc. would be misleading. The net is both a medium and a platform, a set of tools for art-making and a distribution channel for reaching people. The net can still enable artists to reach a global audience without the assistance of art world institutions. Equally important, it can enable artists to reach audiences that never set foot in a gallery, museum, or performance space.

One of my main goals in organizing Tijuana Calling was to support projects that have the potential to reach beyond the art world and into an online equivalent of what has been called the public sphere. If the public sphere is a place where politics happens, then I am looking for projects that transform this sphere, if only temporarily, into a place about which one can say: The art happens here.

  • Note: The title of this exhibition is taken from the intro to "Tijuana for Dummies", a track by Hiperboreal on Tijuana Sessions, Vol. 1, by the Nortec Collective.
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