Performing the Border, 1999

Ursula Biemann documents female labour issues in Ciudad Juárez, a border city that attracts many teenage girls from central Mexico hoping to cross the border into the adjoining city of El Paso, in the U.S. state of Texas. Trapped, and forced to work as cheap labour in the numerous maquiladoras companies, many supplement their income with prostitution. Assembling electronic and digital equipment, these American industries are located in Mexico adjacent to the border with the U.S. to take advantage of the Maquila decree, which allows them to avoid paying taxes in Mexico, employ cheaper labour than in the United States and to export their products without border tariffs. Biemann exposes the dangers, abuses and fragility in which these women live, caught between factory work in the IT industry and life in the slums. For the artist, the border is a discursive construction articulated through the border crossing and the power relationship between the two nations. Biemann also addresses the serial murder and rape of young women in Ciudad Juárez that has been ongoing since 1993.

Technical details

Original title:
Performing the Border
Registration number:
Biemann, Ursula
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Object type:
Audiovisual recording
Single-channel video, colour, sound, 43 min
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation. Work purchased thanks to Taller de la Fundació
© Ursula Biemann
It has accessibility resources:

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Ursula Biemann "Performing the Border", 1999
Ursula Biemann "Performing the Border", 1999
Ursula Biemann "Performing the Border", 1999