Dentistas en la Frontera / Dentists on the Border Mexico / U.S.A.
by Ricardo Miranda Zuñiga with Kurt Olmstead and Brooke Singer
El Progresso, Ojinaga, Ciudad Juarez, Nogales, Mexicali, Tijuana, are all Mexican towns or cities that sit on the edge of the United States. These are border sites that have established a direct simbiotic relationship with the U.S. economy by providing a variety of services to U.S. citizenry and attracting U.S. dollars. One may easily imagine the multitude of bars, food establishments and the sale of cheap goods that can be found along many borders, but firmly embedded within the entertainment and consumer economy is a hi-tech, knowledge intensive medical service that subsidizes the United State's health care system. Dentist clinics are as prominent as three for a dollar tacos, margarita specials and Mexican panchos.
According to a dentist in Ojinaga, 40 miles south of Marfa, Texas, 90 percent of his clients are U.S. citizens. Dr. Ubaldo Eliaz Paez (626-453-13-16) moved from Chihuahua, a metropolitan city in Mexico to establish a clinic in a tiny border town. This clinic prospers due to U.S. mouths and dollars. Tijuana alone houses approximately 3000 dentists and is popularly considered the dentist capital of the world. Dr. Felipe Alvarez Olloqui is from Mexicali, studied in Mexico City to then set up his practice in Tijuana where he and his wife treat patients from as far as Texas, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles, 70-80% of his patients are U.S. citizens.
What deficits in the U.S. health system is causing this outflow to Mexico? How do the dentists on each side of the border view one another - as competitors or as health collaborators? Where do U.S. citizens prefer to have their teeth cleaned and why? These are just a few of the questions that come to mind when considering the immense quantity of Mexican dentistry practice along the Mexico/United States border - a site of booming medical tourism.
Dentimundo is designed to:
1. investigate border dentistry practice from a variety of perspectives
2. provide a directory of dentistry clinics along the border
3. investigate the U.S. health care and insurance system from a new perspective - that of the Mexican border and its prospering dentistry practice.
4. gather tips on how to be a savvy medical tourist in Mexico
Zuñiga (San Francisco, US, 1971) obtained a BA in practice of art and English literature from the University of California at Berkeley and an MFA from the Carnegie Mellon University. His work has been included in numerous exhibitions such as Counter Culture, New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York, US, 2004); artport gatpage, web initiative of the Whitney Museum (New York, US, 2003); L Factor, Exit Art (New York, US, 2003); Alt Digital, The American Museum of the Moving Image (New York, US, 2003); AIM 23, The Bronx Museum (New York, US, 2003); backup_festival (Weimar, Germany, 2003); InteractivA'03, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Yucatán (Yucatan, Mexico, 2003); Version>03 Digital Convergence, The Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, US, 2003); Race in Digital Space, Lucas Complex, University of Southern California (Los Angeles, US, 2002); and dLux>ART02, dLux media art (Sydney, Australia, 2002). Miranda currently lives and works in Brooklyn.
Dr. Ramon Felix Landeros, Dr. Orlando Acosta, Dra. Cinthia Romo, Dr. Leon Dychter, D.D.S. Demetrio Cárdenas Garcia, D.D.S. Jesus Vázquez M., Dr. Carlos Peralta, Dr. Ubaldo Eliaz Paez, Dr. Felipe Alvarez Olloqui, Margara de Leon, Esmeralda Ceballos
"Corrido al Dentista": Lyrics by Ricardo Miranda Zuñiga with Alejandro Espino Aldana
Music by Alejandro Espino Aldana Recorded, mixed and mastered at: ESTUDIO AZUL
Alejandro Espino Aldana: guitar, bass guitar, vocals, patient
Benjamin Rivera Cruz, Mary-Ann Murnane: accordion
Giovanni Jesus Borquez Carvajal: drums