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THE WALL: THE SAN DIEGO–TIJUANA BORDER

United States–Mexico border, Border Field State Park, Imperial Beach, CA, 2014. Photo: Tony Webster/Flickr.

THIS PAST SPRING, an anonymous group of architects, designers, and artists announced an international competition to design a new border wall between the United States and Mexico. But this was no Trump-inspired anti-immigration gambit; it was, rather, a supposedly objective response to the politician’s incendiary proposal for a cross-continental barricade, and the brainchild of the Third Mind Foundation, a consortium dedicated to experimental forms of interdisciplinary collaboration. The foundation began its challenge with this paradoxical statement: “Let us be clear: We take no position on this issue. We remain politically neutral.” It claimed, in fact, to be “moving beyond politics” by simply bringing the expertise of architecture and design to bear on current sociopolitical realities rather than making these fields into political agents.

The Third Mind’s approach presents a

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