Walled In | Walled Out
Mixed Media with Photography
Our current president’s obsession to build a wall upon the border between the United States and Mexico made me think about what concrete and steel walls do physically, as an alien barricade dividing the ecology and geography of a place, and psychologically, as an intangible impediment constructed of rancor, fear, and misinformation, which separates families and friends.
Walls and barriers have been built throughout human history to little permanent effect (excepting the Great Wall of China, which has become a tourist destination). They may keep intruders out, or a population within, but in due course they fall or fail through the entropic forces of nature, or by means of advancing technology that renders them ineffective. As the poet Robert Frost noted, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” whether that “something” exists in nature, or in the human spirit, or both, the ultimate outcome is the wall’s demise.
I made Walled In/Walled Out as I contemplated the damage that is done to both sides that are segregated by it. Rejection and disconnection felt by those excluded—walled out; and the fear of “the other,” as a construct of political manipulation of a population who have become through their paranoia—walled in.
Certainly this will not be the last wall built for political purposes. As a symbolic and tangible tool for keeping two populations apart it’s too powerful, too tempting to use. We can only hope that once they are built, that natural forces or our better instincts will continue to dismantle them.