The Border Turner Project

Jackie Urrutia and Hector Montes

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The Border Tuner Project is about bringing two communities together, El Paso and the sister city Ciudad Juarez.

The Border Tuner project is an installation by Mexican-born, Montreal-based artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer that uses six stations with sets of spotlights, three in Juarez’s Chamizal park and three at Bowie High School. When the lights meet, people will be able to communicate with each other from across the border once the lights intercept with the other lights from the Chamizal.

The Border Tuner will be taking place from Wednesday, Nov. 13 to Sunday, Nov. 24 with entertainment and food every night.

There will be a different event each night, such as tribute bands Friday Nov. 15 to Juan Gabriel and Selena. On Sunday, Nov. 17, they will hold Indigenous Night, Wednesday, Nov. 20 will be High School Night, Thursday, Nov. 21 will be LGBTQ+ Night, and Sunday Nov. 24 will be Border as Division.

“The Border Tuner project is a project that this famous artist started and he is bringing this project to Bowie High School and across the border to the Chamizal area and basically it will have to do with lights and have stations,” said Juan Adame of community schools.  

Adame works with community schools, who helped get Lozano-Hemmer set up at Bowie and said that this specific project goes to Bowie High School. Because of the school’s connection to the border, this idea was very unique and Lozano-Hemmer wanted to give that special power to the school, people and most important to the community.

“You know it’s really a unique story, Bowie being in the border so it’s very unique and he wanted to do this so he wanted the school and the people to get involved. This is actually coming on national news and there is going to be like a documentary about it and stuff. So, he really wanted to give this power to the school, to the people and to the community,” Mr. Adame said.

UTEP has been part of the project collaborating with Lozano-Hemmer, and came up with the idea to put the lights. Mr. Adame has been trying to collaborate with schools, community members and entertainers to help make this as enjoyable as possible.

“Basically the artist Rafael Lozano Hemmer was the one with the idea, I believe he was born in Juarez but raised in Canada and he has been back and forth coming to the area and it started with him and by UTEP and they brought it here to Bowie and we’ve been trying to as much as we can,” Mr. Adame said.