Ursula Biemann Performing the border
On the gendered dimension of migration.
The Swiss artist Ursula Biemann has an artistic practice that is strongly research oriented and usually involves fieldwork in remote locations. The work she produced in the late 1990s focused mainly on the gendered dimension of migration.
This is also true in Performing the Border, set in Mexico's, Ciudad Juarez, on the Mexico-USA border. Here, US industries have established duty-free assembly plants (Maquiladoras) for electronic and digital equipment. Assembling these micro objects are young women, who have gradually introduced a new technological culture into this desert region, but have hardly benefitted from its rewards. Biemann looks at the sexualization of the border region through the prism of the increasing feminization of its labour force, prostitution, the expression of female desires in the entertainment industry, and sexual violence.
Interviews, scripted voiceover, quoted text on the screen, scenes and sounds recorded on site, as well as found footage, are all combined to give insight into the gendered conditions inscribed in the border zone.