Performing the Border

Ursula Biemann

1999 | 00:42:00 | Switzerland | English, Spanish | Color | Stereo | 4:3 | Hi8 video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Activism, Migration, Politics

A video essay set in the Mexican-U.S. border town of Ciudad Juarez, where U.S. multinational corporations assemble electronic and digital equipment just across from El Paso, Texas. This imaginative, experimental work investigates the growing feminization of the global economy and its impact on Mexican women living and working in the area. Looking at the border as both a discursive and material space, the video explores the sexualization of the border region through labor division, prostitution, the expression of female desires in the entertainment industry, and sexual violence in the public sphere.

Candid interviews with Mexican women factory and sex workers, as well as activists and journalists, are combined with scripted voice over analysis, screen text, scenes and sounds recorded on site, and found footage to give new insights into the gendered conditions inscribed by the high-tech industry at its low-wage end.

Pricing Information

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Prizes + Awards

Prix Palmarès, Biennale of the Moving Image, Geneva, Switzerland


Clock Tower
New York, NY

Exhibitions + Festivals

Kasseler Dokfest, Germany, 1999
Biennial Havanna, Cuba, 2000
Latin American Film Festival, London, UK, 2000
L.A. Freewave, Los Angeles, 2000

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