In Store: The Border

Another instalment of In Store, featuring Lee Rodney discussing her Border Bookmobile project, in the multi-part documentary that our exceptionally talented friend, Daragh Sankey, has been putting together. Here’s his notes on the latest:

Ed. note: Hey, it’s been a while! I did a lot of overtime and also a freelance job and had to prioritize all that cash money work over this project, but I’ve managed to get one more done. This one is about Lee Rodney and her project the Border Bookmobile. There will be two more films after this: one is a mild recut of an earlier short I did, about Andrea Carvalho. The other concerns Leesa Bringas’ Postcards To Indian Road. I have another film coming, about Broken City Lab itself, but it has ballooned in scope and length to encompass events outside of the SRSI residency, so I don’t know if it belongs as part of this series of films. Besides, who knows how long it will take me to finish!

Lee Rodney’s reputation preceded her. She’s a professor at the University of Windsor, and some of the residents of SRSI and Broken City Lab members had been her students, and spoke very highly of her. Sure enough, there were many fascinating things to document during her stay: the bookmobile itself, the tour of Windsor’s forgotten neighbourhoods, and many fascinating conversations, including the one with Justin that forms the backbone of this film.

There are a number of borders crossing through this film. One is the border between Detroit and Windsor, that divides what in many ways should be considered one city. Another is the border between city and suburb. Also there is the border you see in the final shot. Nature borders the city, but not only at the outside edge. It has a way of creeping back in.

Borderlands Symposium: University of Maine

Next week, I’ll be headed to the University of Maine at Farmington to present at the Borderlands Symposium, assembled by our friends, TUG Collective. Here’s the brief on the symposium:

A series of talks, workshops, performances, and films that will illuminate some of the social, economic, political and ecological nuances along North America’s borders, and catalyze our attention to how various individuals, either acting alone or collaboratively, are actively creating transnational communities in which “our destinies and aspirations are in one another’s hands.”

Along with Lee Rodney, curator of the Border Bookmobile and border research extraordinaire, I’ll also be initiating a new project idea based on the legends of Paul Bunyan. It sounds absurd, yes, but so are the border realities that we face. The legends around Bunyan are such that there’s plenty of room to initiate a new conversation around the histories of the North American border – -Bunyan becomes a tool, a lens for exploring a series of histories and geographies.

We are proposing to read between the lines of these histories to see the changing representations of Mr. Bunyan and to propose other stories of how we might re-view him in the 21st century: could he be considered among the early architects of NAFTA ? A subversive border crosser, roaming freely through the Northern territories between Canada and the US ?

Those questions are tied to a number of workshops and group discussions we’ll be giving along with a panel discussion with the always incredible Riccardo Dominguez and Dan Millis.

I’m anxious to share some of our ongoing How to Forget the Border Completely research, it’s going to be a fun three days.