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i35

2018
HD Video | 5:54 min

Video Excerpt






Throughout the 80s and 90s, the US embraced and promoted neoliberalism as a unique response to an increasingly globalized economic and political context. The expansion of neoliberalism came with a political agenda and set of foreign policies that implied the total exemption of governmental interference to achieve a system of natural laws. In this scenario, private corporations took advantage of the absence of regulating state-instruments to empower the individual pursuit of capital. With the Washington Consensus's institutionalization, governments from developing countries, such as Mexico, were persuaded to adopt neoliberalism as a mode of governance and trade policy. Consequently, new economic zones underpinned by international trading agreements, such as the Mexican border town of Nuevo Laredo (Mexico), emerged as a low-taxation and cheap labor paradise.

After NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) passed in 1994, the number of international corporations in Nuevo Laredo skyrocketed, with most exports going to the US. NAFTA facilitated new links of transportation, telecommunication, and interpersonal acquaintances. These connections played a crucial role in the making of Laredo (US) - Nuevo Laredo (Mexico) the busiest trade-port in the US-Mexico frontier, with an average flow of twelve thousand eighteen-wheelers crossing the border every day. NAFTA not only enabled freer transnational trade among North American nations but also accelerated the process of migration and illicit trafficking.

i-35 depicts an ephemeral line made of natural light seeping through the crevice of an I-35 Highway overpass located a few hundred yards from the Laredo (US) - Nuevo Laredo (Mexico) border. As the main ground-trading route connecting North America with Latin America, the I-35 Highway represents a central axis for articulating the operations of international trading agreements such as NAFTA. The presence—and sudden absence—of light addresses a political momentum of contradiction, in which the rise of paternalist politics implying harsh restrictions on international borders confronts the norm of a globalized economic order.


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