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Border wall prototypes become canvas for light graffiti

Border wall prototypes become canvas for light graffiti
Ladder image projected onto border wall prototype. (Jill Marie Holslin)

A collaboration of artists and activists lit up the Trump administration's border wall prototypes last weekend with a ladder and other images critiquing the barriers.

The first political activism that the prototypes have seen, the project was part art, part performance and part action, according to Jill Marie Holslin, one of the artists involved.

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Using three trucks parked on the Mexican side of the border, the group — including members of Overpass Light Brigade San Diego, People Over Profits San Diego and a group of UC San Diego graduate students led by Andrew Sturm — on Saturday night projected images onto the walls using a theater light.

"You can think of it as power games, but you can also think of it as the long tradition of the clown and clowning around, using humor to deflate the power of an over-leaning government," Holslin said. "That's something that has been a tradition in politics for centuries."

She designed the ladder image that appeared.

This image is a play on words between "¡Llegale!," meaning "come in," and "illegal."
This image is a play on words between "¡Llegale!," meaning "come in," and "illegal." (Jill Marie Holslin)

"The ladder is this simple, simple thing — you can buy a ladder for $50 and you can climb over a wall that they spent $500,000 to build," Holslin said. "It's this simple technology that defeats every effort of the government to create this massive image of impermeability and absolute power."

Another image used a play on words: "¡Llegale!" It means "Come in!" in Spanish, but looks like the word "illegal."

While the projections lasted about 25 minutes — the length of time the light's battery lasted — the images taken by the group have since drawn reaction online.

Holslin said she received thousands of messages in response to the images she posted on Facebook. After "trolls" began to attack her, she said, she changed the settings so that they were no longer public.

"What I've seen in my comments is people are overwhelmingly moved and in agreement with the sentiment of the messages," Holslin said. "American values are welcoming immigrants, welcoming refugees and not crying to create this stonewall face of pushing people away."

Morrissey writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune

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