The Cloud (2000) was created by Alfredo Jaar from repeated visits to the Mexican Border area and involved numerous interviews and discussions with activists working on both sides of the border. The US-Mexican border embodies an enormous social inequality and an astounding disequilibrium of political and economic power. The work was made as the border between Mexico and the United States had seen implemented the most draconian military measures in its history designed to prevent immigrant workers from crossing those newly ‘open frontiers. Jaar discovered an intolerable situation and an unacceptable tragedy: in the 21st Century where people were dying trying to simply cross a border between two countries. These deaths have been the result of shootings by US Immigration Officials, drowning, extreme climatic conditions, and automobile accidents, some of them caused by high-speed chases by the Border Patrol. With Trump now in power and his wish to ‘Build a wall’, The Cloud is ever more poignant and beautiful. As Jaar has explained ‘I created The Cloud as an ephemeral monument in the memory of those who lost their lives trying to cross the border. The Cloud lasted 45 minutes in which we offered a space and time of mourning. Music was played on both sides of the border, symbolically uniting a divided land and people. Poetry was read and a moment of silence was observed. Then the balloons were released. Contrary to normal wind conditions, the wind that morning took an unexpected turn and pushed the balloons towards Mexico. Catalina Enriquez, Felix Zavala, Guadalupe Romero, Trinidad Santiago, Aureliano Cabrera and the others went back home’.
gestures of resistance