Jeffrey Aaronson

Trailer to Mexico, Nogales, Arizona, USA, 2007

Photograph 102/135 cm

Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Kashya Hildebrand, Zurich

Jeffrey Aaronson is taking a shot of a baby cot, mattress, shabby armchair and bathtub carried by a rickety two-wheeled platform. These are the contents of a home, the belongings of a family on quest for new life in an unknown place and uncertain future – the epitome of a whole life. To survive, without looking back, only forward, is the name of the game. What kind of a reality awaits these immigrants beyond the hope that strengthen them as they cross the border between Mexico and the USA? Sophisticated fence equipped with cameras, strict border patrols, intelligence and canine units on call day and night.

From among the people trying to cross this long border, approximately 5,000 are caught on any given day and face a fate not dissimilar to that of drug runners. Most of the Mexican border population is extremely poor. According to recent statistics, in 25 years time about 40% of Mexico’s population will have moved to this area. Even now, this region is actually a quasi-independent state that abides by the rules of the cops and rubbers game played by those seeking a better future in a neighboring country, and those in charge of stopping them. “The borderland, the zone existing near the frontier, is an area of messy vitality by virtue of the collision of cultures living within its boundaries,” says Jeffrey Aaronson. “To live in the borderland is to live at the end of the country, the last place before another place starts. “I created this body of work on the northern side of the border where the human tide has flowed and what is most prevalent is the diversity of people. A great fence is being built to stop the flow, but fences are full of doors when dreams move people. “In this work, I pursued the vernacular, the original, creating visual folktales that mirror a collective longing for a home and cultural identity. My intent was to photograph the manifestations of those within and those without.”