Border Cultures Diversions

While Detroit’s urban legacy is widely recognized, the city is rarely regarded as a part of a cross-border metropolitan environment. Across the US-Canadian border, Windsor’s urban character has been closely tied to Detroit’s rise and fall.

With continual changes in the security and economic climate, these two cities are increasingly separated, subject to border policies imposed from their respective national security mandates. Nevertheless, the Windsor-Detroit region is largely absent within the rich discourse on borders that has emerged from the US-Mexico borderlands and regions elsewhere in the world. Likewise, the substantial artistic and intellectual activity from Detroit focuses on the city’s internal divisions, yet the international boundary on its southern edge remains ignored.

This symposium addressed ways to consider the obstacles and mobilities that have emerged in this urban locale, and included a bus tour of Windsor and Detroit, conducted by Métis artist and activist Dylan Miner, guided us through the regions’ other borders and modes of circulation from indigenous perspectives. Organized by Lee Rodney (Border Bookmobile), Michael Darroch (Interminus Research Group) and Srimoyee Mitra (Curator of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of Windsor). March 8-9, 2013.

about Frontier Files

The Frontier Files is an online archive of visual and material culture relating to geographic borders in North America and elsewhere. This site documents the Border Bookmobile Project (2010-2013) which served as the beginning of ongoing research into the relationship between contemporary borders and the western, historical concept of the frontier. Images and documents chart the shifting aesthetics and politics of borders over the last century. This archive is organized by Lee Rodney, Associate Professor of Media Art Histories and Visual Culture at the University of Windsor, Canada.

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