See the record for "New Television, Episode 505 (1989)" for descriptions of videos containing this work.
"Borders" was created using the facilities at the Experimental Television Center and Film Video Arts of New York City. It was presented on Episode 505 of the 1989 season of "New Television," along with "Buddha's Door."
A 5 X 7 black-and-white photographic print of a still from the work exists. See the record for "New Television, Episode 505 (1989)" for descriptions of videos containing this work.
"Borders" begins with a short dramatic piece that introduces the issues of complicity, resistance, and boundaries. This work continues to investigate these themes in the style of a documentary. In the prologue, actor Steve Buscemi plays Ted, a young scientist who goes to work at a large scientific research facility. Here he develops ideas that, much to the dismay and rebuff of his jealous fellow researchers who gather around a vending machine, are embraced by his supervisors. The young scientists are contributing research on nuclear activity and their findings are ultimately militarized. At home, Ted's girlfriend Jane packs her bags and leaves, unable to live with what she perceives as Ted's culpability. In the course of their discussion, we learn that Ted actually hopes to make medical advances and that he sees his current position as a necessary evil. "Sometimes, you have to join them to beat them," implores Ted, but Jane doesn't buy it and drives off, leaving him dejected in the driveway. The remainder of the work consists mainly of interviews with a diverse group of individuals who discuss the concept of crossing borders, be they literal or figurative. Many of the interviewers deal with contentious political issues, such as immigration or the defense industry's Star Wars plan. Writer, performer, and subcultural hero Robert Anton Wilson discusses a wide array of subjects, including influences on his work, science fiction and perception, and possible conspiracies. Journalist and thriller writer Brian Freemantle speaks of being banned from some countries due to his investigative work. He tells harrowing tales of entering militarized border zones in Czechoslovakia and Bangladesh. Both Freemantle and Wilson discuss the possibility that the CIA and the Vatican have been involved in drug trafficking and related money laundering. Dr. Michio Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics, speaks of his experience as a bright scientist who received a Hertz engineering scholarship and worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under the direction of Edward Teller, one of the developers of the atomic bomb, and the pressures that came with this arrangement. Kaku goes on to analyze weaknesses in the theories behind the Star Wars plan and to outline an alternate theory of the universe, the "super string" theory. The American-born writer Margaret Randall discusses her inability to achieve citizenship in the United States after living as a citizen of Mexico for many years. Randall was denied citizenship twice based on the political nature of her writings, which were perceived by one judge as "advocating the doctrines of world communism." Juanita Kreps, the first woman to serve as Secretary of Commerce, talks about the differences in policy and perception as revealed through the process of reaching a Chinese and American trade agreement. Another interviewee is Rene, a painter and sculptor who, inspired by Duchamp's Society of Independent Artists, named an air vent at the Museum of Modern Art and invited friends to an unofficial opening. Footage of this event is incorporated. Interviews and footage document the movement of illegal aliens at the Mexican-American border. Customs officials, patrol agents, and individuals attempting to cross the border are interviewed. Footage of customs officials investigating vehicles and people attempting to escape are incorporated. A hacker is interviewed about phone tapping, in tangent with remarks by Wilson. Paintings by Hillary Hill Burnett are included. It is approximately 54 minutes long.
Original music by Fred Reed provides the score for "Borders."
New York State Council on the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts
Boone, Mark, Jr.
Wright, Rae C.
Wilson, Robert Anton
Emigration and immigration
Politics and culture
New Television, Episode 505 (1989)
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