The Political Equator

The Political Equator is an iterative research and visualization project that links the most contested geographies and border conditions across the globe between the 30-38 degree north parallel.  We believe these regions can learn from each other about civic, economic, and environmental interdependence

The Political Equator traces an imaginary line along the US-Mexico continental border and extends it directly across a world atlas, forming a corridor of global conflict between the 30 and 38 degrees North Parallel. Along this imaginary border lie some of the world’s most contested thresholds, including the US-Mexico border at San Diego/Tijuana, the busiest international land border checkpoint in the world and the main portal for migration from Latin America into the United States; the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean, where waves of migrants and refugees from North Africa and Syria flow across Fortress-Europe, recently thickened to contain the flow of refugees from Lampedusa into Italy and from Lesbos into Greece; the Israeli-Palestinian border that divides the Middle East, emblematized by Israel’s fifty-year military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza; India/Kashmir, a site of intense and ongoing territorial conflict between Pakistan and India since the British partition of India in 1947; and the border between North and South Korea, which represents decades of intractable conflict, carrying Cold War tensions forward to the present day.

While we tend to think of border walls as physical fortresses against the encroaching global south, far from the daily lives of most Americans and Europeans, borders are invisibly reproduced in peripheral neighborhoods everywhere, where public divestment, marginalization, racism and inequality divide communities and institutions, walling citizenship within a space of polarization and hatred.

Public exhibition of the Political Equator
What is radical today? 40 positions on architecture, The Royal Academy of Arts, London, September 2019.

Seoul Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism, Seoul, September 2019.

 Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment traveling exhibition: Crystal Bridges, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2019.

Critical Care: Architecture and Urbanism for a Broken Planet, Architekturzentrum Wien, Vienna, April 2019

Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival, XII Triennale Milano, Milan, March 2019.

Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment, Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, September 2018.

U.S. presentation of Dimensions of Citizenship: Architecture and Belonging from the Body to the Cosmos, Wrightwood 659, Chicago, February 2019.

Dimensions of Citizenship, U.S. Pavilion, The 18th Venice Architectural Biennale, Venice, July 2018

Visualizing Citizenship: Seeking a New Public Imagination, solo show, Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman with Matthias Görlich, The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2017)

Moving Images, M+ Hong Kong, April 2015.

Left Coast: California Political Art, The Graduate Center, CUNY, April 2015

Fonna Forman and Teddy Cruz, The Political Equator: Unwalling Citizenship. London: Verso, forthcoming.

Fonna Forman and Teddy Cruz, “Nation Against Nature: From the Global Border to the Cross-Border Commons,” Architectural Design, forthcoming

Fonna Forman and Teddy Cruz, “Access all areas: the porosity of a hostile border”, Architectural Review (May 2019): 18-23.

Fonna Forman and Teddy Cruz, “Citizenship Culture and the Transnational Environmental Commons,” Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment, eds. Karl Kusserow and Alan Braddock. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018.

Fonna Forman and Teddy Cruz, “Un-walling Citizenship”, Avery Review: Critical Essays on Architecture, No. 21 (Winter, 2017): 98-109; reprinted in Architecture Against a Developer Presidency: Essays on the Occasion of Trump’s Inauguration, ed. James Graham, New York: Colombia University Publications, 2017.

Fonna Forman and Teddy Cruz, “Cross-Border Citizens”, essay for Insecurities exhibition, Museum of Modern Art, New York, January 4, 2017

Fonna Forman and Teddy Cruz, “The Wall: The San Diego-Tijuana Border,” ArtForum (Summer 2016): 370-375.

Fonna Forman and Teddy Cruz, “Localizing the Global: The Political Equator and the Cross-Border Citizen,” in Border City: Documentation of an interdisciplinary project in San Diego (US) and Tijuana (Mexico) by the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar and the University of California, San Diego. Published by Bauhaus Universitätserlag, 2015.

A cross-border city? Apartments for San Diegans in Tijuana? How architects defy Trump’s wall, The Washington Post, Ian Volner, April 17, 2018.

“Visualizing Citizenship,” Domus, May 31, 2017

 “Сan we imagine cross-border cities?” Olga Baltsatu, Strelka Magazine, June 9, 2017

“Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman: Visualizing Citizenship,” e-flux Architecture, April 25, 2017

“The Problem With Beautifying a Border Wall: Donald Trump’s wall is meant to divide the U.S. and Mexico. Sustainable, pretty, and subversive designs won’t remedy that,” Natalie Delgado, Citilab, from the Atlantic, March 20, 2017.

‘The Border Is a Way of Reinforcing Antagonism That Doesn’t Exist: Architect Teddy Cruz and political scientist Fonna Forman want to turn the line between the U.S. and Mexico into a site for creative problem solving.’ Citilab, from the Atlantic January 11, 2017.

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