Bordertown is a study in conflict, social partition and border construction in Australia. The investigation is centred on a community that straddles two states, a place renowned for historic conflicts. For those living in Bordertown today, existence consists of daily confrontations with an impassable barrier; a wall being constructed along the border at the frontier of two Australian states that divides the community into two territories: North and South.
Bordertown was presented in two solo exhibitions in 2008, at Artspace, Sydney, and at Conical Contemporary Art Space, Melbourne.
A sound installation comprised of two voices in dialogue documents the experience of two women who live on ether side of the wall dividing Bordertown. A 10-speaker surround sound array projects two voices, embedded within a large black curved structure that emulates the wall in Bordertown as well as a giant loudspeaker.
Each of the two women tell a story from their side of the wall. One has been dispatched as migrant labour to an internment camp on the outskirts of South Bordertown; the other is a young local from the poorest part of town. Both are witness to escalating antagonism and the social exclusion of women and other minorities in the community. The wall, as such, acts as both the divider and the container for border politics.
Presented in three parts, this illustrated artist book starts with a journal kept during six months of fieldwork on Bordertown’s social and political landscape, based on frontier histories between the Australian states of New South Wales and Victoria. The central part of the book features a series of 80 photographs documenting significant sites and scenes around Bordertown. The third part of the book contains the script for the sound installation, which pivots on a dialogue between two women on either side of the Bordertown wall.
The book is available for download here.