The Otay Mesa Port Of Entry

Border-Ball is a 40-day pilgrimage along the U.S. - Mexico border, a movie, and an art installation by Joel Tauber. Tauber begins each day at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego, California.

I’m getting ready for the 17th day of Border-Ball: a 40-day pilgrimage along the U.S. – Mexico border. I start each day at noon at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego, California. It’s wonderful to see so many people cross the border, even in the middle of the day – both into the U.S. and into Mexico. There are distinct pathways for trucks, cars, and pedestrians; and each of these pathways are always busy.

I find the fluidity of movement at the port to be extremely beautiful. The constant flow of people from so many different cultural and ethnic backgrounds reminds me that the United States is a place of immigrants and diversity. And, so, I’m often moved to declare:

Oh, say, can you see, our country’s gorgeous dream: an endless field of green, where everyone can live and play? Our star-spangled banner yet waves, over the land of immigrants and the home of us all!

I spend most of my time at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry on the pedestrian bridge, tossing a ball. I introduce myself to people I meet and ask them to share their stories, experiences and thoughts about the border and baseball. Then, we play catch.

The borders between us disappear when I’m listening to their stories. And our connections deepen when we play catch. It’s amazing to me how, even after sharing incredibly sad and heartbreaking stories, people start smiling and laughing once we play catch. All of a sudden, we are friends, playing and laughing together.

We are all on the same team, after all.

People thank me. And, I thank them for connecting with me and for giving me strength to continue my long 7 mile journey each day: from the port of entry, along the wall, and up to the detention center – and then back again.

Story about Border-Ball in Wake Forest News

Many thanks to Kim McGrath and Wake Forest News for the wonderful story about Border-Ball

WFU artist Joel Tauber will ‘play ball’ on the U.S.-Mexico border

It’s a whole new ballgame for artist, filmmaker and Wake Forest associate professor Joel Tauber who will undertake a 40-day pilgrimage along the U.S.-Mexico border to build community through baseball…. 

Read the rest of the story here: https://news.wfu.edu/2019/10/22/wfu-artist-joel-tauber-will-play-ball-on-the-u-s-mexico-border/

Border-Ball: A 40-day pilgrimage along the U.S. – Mexico border

Hola compañeros!

I’m very excited about my new project Border-Ball: a 40-day pilgrimage along the U.S. – Mexico border. If you’re in the area, I would love to walk with you. Info below.

Nos vemos luego!

Joel

Border-Ball is a 40-day pilgrimage along the U.S. - Mexico border, a movie, and an art installation by Joel Tauber.

Joel Tauber is undertaking a 40-day pilgrimage along the U.S.-Mexico border to build community through baseball.

Growing up, Tauber went to Fenway Park to watch baseball. He dreamed of playing professionally. Baseball, for him, stands for openness and a belief in a welcoming, diverse America. He hopes to encourage conversation and togetherness rather than division and separation.

The journey will begin on Oct. 29. Tauber will start at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego, California, and will walk along the border wall before heading north two miles to the Otay Mesa Detention Center. He will travel there and back again each day – a six mile journey that connects legal entry to the U.S. with the border wall and the detention center holding those who might be in the country without all legal permits. While walking, he will be declaring, in English as well as some Spanish, an adaptation of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”:

Walk with me along the border. Play catch with me in front of the wall. Share some hot dogs and salsa. I don’t care what part of the world you’re from. Let’s root, root, root for teamwork. If we don’t find some, it’s a shame. For it’s one, two, three strikes, we’re out at the old ball game.

He is also proclaiming, as an adaptation of “The Star Spangled Banner”:

Oh, say, can you see, our country’s gorgeous dream: an endless field of green, where everyone can live and play? Our star-spangled banner yet waves, over the land of immigrants and the home of us all!

Tauber will be wearing a custom vintage baseball uniform and backpack in blue, white and red. He will be tossing a baseball as he walks along and inviting people who walk along with him to play catch.

As part of the border walk, Tauber will be filming people he meets and gathering personal reflections and stories related to baseball and the border. He will produce a film and art installation, called Border-Ball, about the experience.

Tauber was born in 1972 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA and comes from a long line of rabbis. His work focuses on generating conversation and facilitating change. Most recently, the Vintage International Film Festival in Kolhapur, India, named Tauber’s “The Sharing Project” movie “Best International Documentary Film.” He lives and works in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA; where he is Associate Professor of Art at Wake Forest University.