Wesley Thompson
Architectural Designer
Brooklyn, New York, USA

Josie Baldner
Architectural Designer
Brooklyn, New York, USA

Hiroshi Kaneko
Architectural Designer
Brooklyn, New York, USA

PROJECT STATEMENT:

what is this? / it used to be a part of a wall 

why was there a wall? / it was the border that used to divide Mexico and the United States / what’s a border? / it’s a line in the ground that separates one country from another / so a wall helps to show where the boundary of the countries are? / yes

what happened to the wall? / it was taken down and replaced with this park, a binational park / but you can’t tell where the border is anymore / that’s true and that’s one of the reasons why it was removed / I don’t understand / walls create a distinction between one side and the other, a divide / ok / no more wall, no more border, no more divide

is that a good thing? / the divide created separation and it created pain / pain... / people crossing the border in the wrong way were deemed illegal and if they were caught, they were detained, and if they ran they were sometimes killed / killed! / crossing the wall was hard and dangerous 

why were they trying to cross the wall if it was so dangerous? / there were ideas that the other side of the wall offered something better, perhaps more opportunities and higher paying jobs / and that wasn’t happening on the side the people were already on? / correct 

why didn’t the other side help them with the opportunities and jobs? / many people wouldn’t say it, but people from the United States had a stigma against people who were foreign / what does that mean? / people wrongly stereotyped foreigners and feared they were all the same, that if there was one bad person then everyone was bad / so the people on the other side of the wall were scared? / perhaps some had good reason to be scared, perhaps some were told to be scared, perhaps some were scared simply because the people crossing looked different and spoke different and dressed different and acted different / but lots of people look and speak and dress and act different / that’s true, but perhaps to some there was a distinction between being different on the same side of the wall and being different on the other side of the wall / but why would a wall change that? / because it is a powerful symbol

a symbol? / yes / a symbol for keeping people out? / yes / a symbol for protecting one country from another? / yes / a symbol against difference? / yes

is that how all countries used to be? / how is that? / protecting against differences / that’s what it seems like doesn’t it / was the whole world walled up? / well no / no? / the United States and Canada did not have a wall between them / oh... / I think you understand why / I think I do

so what happened? / the United States reached a pivotal moment, there were a lot of people who wanted to fortify the wall and make it bigger and stronger / but? / but there was also a movement for a park, this park... / and the park won! / yes, the park did win

what does the park symbolize? / this park is a symbol for unity, a safe place for people to cross, to camp, to hike and be outdoors, to exist / unity / it also brought park rangers from both countries together to maintain one piece of land / the animals like that, don’t they / yes they do, and now they are protected, rather than isolated / and we get to be here, too / yes / and everyone else, too? / yes / i’m glad that everybody gets to be here / me too