When Elliot Ross and Genevieve Allison traveled the 2,000 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border it was the spring of 2017. The post-election climate had presented a stark new context for looking at cultural and political difference in the United States — and so many of these fragmenting narratives had found expression in the border wall debate.
Through an amalgam of portraiture and topographical studies of border security infrastructure, American Backyard looks at the reality of life on the border. Various cultural and political processes, which may be ambiguous elsewhere in the country, are amplified here. In an environment where the movement of both people and goods are vigilantly regulated, examined, and controlled—and where federal laws regularly don’t apply—questions of social injustice and discrimination are matters of resounding consequence.
In many ways a crucible, the border issue brought into focus the processes and ideals that bind this country together, as well as those that divide it. Beyond talk of "The Wall," Ross and Allison found a larger, less transparent story about our southern borderlands to do with acculturation, creolization, surveillance, inequality, diversity and compassion.
Renowned architect and cartographer Thomas Paturet has designed the four maps that describe the path of the journey.