Turista Fronterizo

by Coco Fusco and Ricardo Dominguez


Project website: http://www.turistafronterizo.net





We propose to design and produce a bilingual virtual board game about daily life bicultural negotiation in San Diego/Tijuana for InSite 05. This game will be designed using basic HTML, and thus will be simple to use, so that populations unaccustomed to gaming will not be deterred by lengthy instructions or complicated maneuvers. The game will look like a board game, such as Monopoly or the Mexican version Turismo, and the movements around the board will be simulated through "point and click" interaction with the screen. It will be a game to be played individually, like solitaire, in order to allow people who are not gaming devotees to partake of the game with ease.



Players will have the option to enter the game in English or Spanish and will choose from among four player personae. The language and personae chosen will determine the particular perspective on life experiences in the border region that each player will have - so that the more conversant one is in various idioms of the border, the more one can know about all the angles of the game and the more one has access to "insider" information on both sides of the border. The paths of each player will be allude to actual experiences that are typical of real life regular border crossers, from elderly Americans who go to Tijuana to buy cheaper prescription drugs medicine, to Mexican day laborers who make their way on foot along Route 5 each day and peddle their skills and trades in San Diego's suburbs.

In creating a virtual board game that acts as a refracted mirror of the sociocultural space of the US-Mexico border, we retrace the steps of the Surrealists and the Situationists . The Surrealists interest in games derived from their belief that creativity could be a shared experience, and that group game playing could function as a mode of exploration.


Situationist Guy Debord's "The Game of War," designed with his wife Alice Becker-Ho in 1987, foregrounds the structural connections between games, warfare and art. We propose to create a game that allows people from many walks of life and from many different places to "take a trip" through the border zone by playing our game, and to step into the roles of others around them who they might see regularly but never speak to. At the same time, by identifying the ways that pre-fabricated identities shape experiences in the game, we seek to show how forces outside the control of individuals, whether they are geopolitical laws, the rules of a game, or the entrenched structures of feeling of a given community, delimit the scope of one's experience.





Artists' Bios


Ricardo Dominguez

Dominguez (Las Vegas, US, 1959) received his BA in theater studies from the University of Southern Utah and an MFA in acting from the Asolo Conservatory in Sarasota, Florida, and an MA in performance theory from Florida State University. He is co-founder of The Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT), a former member of the Critical Art Ensemble, and is currently senior editor of The Thing, an online journal. Domínguez has held performances and presentations in diverse venues, including the Museo de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid, Spain, 2004); the Tate Modern (London, UK, 2003); the Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain, 2002); and the Finnish Contemporary Art Center Kiasma (Helsinki, US, 2001). He has also participated in diverse arts festivals and biennials such as the 29th International Krakow Theater Festival (Krakow, Poland, 2004); In-Transit Performance Festival (Berlin, Germany, 2003); International Theater Festival (Lublin, Poland, 2002), and the Whitney Biennial (New York, US, 2000). Domínguez currently lives and works in San Diego.


Coco Fusco

Fusco (New York, US, 1960) is an associate professor at Columbia University's School of the Arts. Her video and performance work have recently been featured in the Shanghai Biennial (Shanghai, China, 2004); Transmediale Festival of Electronic Arts (Berlin, Germany, 2003); The Time Based Arts Festival at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (Portland, US, 2003); and The International Center of Photography's 1st Triennial (New York, US, 2003). Fusco's work has also been shown at such venues as the Museum of Modern Art (New York, US, 2005); the Itau Cultural Center (Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2004); the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain, 2002); and The Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum (Rotterdam, Holland, 2001). She currently lives and works in New York.