Fronteras que revuelven: A Filmic Study of “La Línea” in Tijuana

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Mael Vizcarra


This article rethinks the concept of border through a spatial and phenomenological ethnographic film study of “la Línea” (the Line) in the city of Tijuana. La Línea is a term used by residents to refer to the San Ysidro border checkpoint between Mexico and the United States, the most transited border in the world. This is a site composed of varied and contradictory lines and movements, with commuters waiting in line to cross the border and vendors walking around to sell their products to stationary cars. For crossers, the checkpoint represents a liminal space of waiting as they stand in long lines to enter the United States. For vendors, the site is a destination where many have worked for generations. While crossers are mobile in the sense of daily movement across borders, they remain relatively immobile in this site as they wait in line. Vendors do not generally cross the border and are perceived to be permanent fixtures yet are hyper mobile compared to crossers in the context of this space. By using the method of walking with a camera to follow vendors as they work along various paths or lines, we learn how people perceive and understand their place in the world along the border. I propose act of revolver (to mix, to stir) as an essential force that expands the concept of border, as well as reflexivity in ethnographic filmmaking.


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How to Cite
Vizcarra, M. (2016). Fronteras que revuelven: A Filmic Study of “La Línea” in Tijuana. Visual Methodologies, 4(1), 41-51.
Special Issue: Participatory Research
Author Biography

Mael Vizcarra, Emory University

Doctoral Candidate | Institute of Liberal Arts