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Home » An Architect’s Subversive Reimagining of the US-Mexico Border Wall: Ronald Rael (Transcript)

An Architect’s Subversive Reimagining of the US-Mexico Border Wall: Ronald Rael (Transcript)

Ronald Rael

Ronald Rael draws, builds, writes, 3dprints, and teaches about architecture as a cultural endeavor deeply influenced by a unique upbringing in a desolate alpine valley in southern Colorado.

Ronald Rael – TED Talk TRANSCRIPT

Isn’t it fascinating how the simple act of drawing a line on the map can transform the way we see and experience the world? And how those spaces in between lines, borders, become places.

They become places where language and food and music and people of different cultures rub up against each other in beautiful and sometimes violent and occasionally really ridiculous ways. And those lines drawn on a map can actually create scars in the landscape, and they can create scars in our memories.

My interest in borders came about when I was searching for an architecture of the borderlands. And I was working on several projects along the US-Mexico border, designing buildings made out of mud taken right from the ground.

And I also work on projects that you might say immigrated to this landscape “Prada Marfa,” a land-art sculpture that crosses the border between art and architecture, and it demonstrated to me that architecture could communicate ideas that are much more politically and culturally complex, that architecture could be satirical and serious at the same time. And it could speak to the disparities between wealth and poverty and what’s local and what’s foreign.

And so in my search for an architecture of the borderlands, I began to wonder, is the wall architecture? I began to document my thoughts and visits to the wall by creating a series of souvenirs to remind us of the time when we built a wall and what a crazy idea that was.

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