Laura Kim Meckling
Photographer, Artist and Writer
Born in Seoul, South Korea
Lives in Tampa, Florida, USA
“Art is a corner of creation seen through a temperament.”
― Émile Zola
Borders are physical and psychological. Reports on immigration, family separation and building a wall between the US and Mexico are propagated by news organizations from opposing ideologies, causing passionate divisions within our nation. Lines of demarcation and systems of division are prevalent throughout the world. Beyond physical barriers, borders can be formed from emotional and ideological structures that prevent people to extend beyond similarities, familiarity and comfort. I utilize walking to investigate the physical environment of borders and as a tool to process the anxiety resulting from xenophobic conditions seeking to define difference. There is a long and rich history of walking practices, extending from political gestures of demonstrations, strikes and marches, to the Surrealists’ unplanned wanderings through the streets of Paris, and Guy Debord’s “Theory of the Dérive.” Walking art is available to most as a medium to consciously investigate and transform the everyday experience.
In June 2018, I utilized my privilege as a United States citizen to walk across 44 legal points of exit and entry along the US-Mexico border, and was successfully processed through 39 US Customs and Border Patrol Stations, placed in secondary holding only once. I extended my investigation of border crossings to other countries, challenging my privilege as a US citizen, and crossed illegally between Greece and, what is now referred to as, North Macedonia (formerly the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), as well as Greece and Albania. Hiking through the mountains and along the shore of Lake Prespes, I made an arduous walking journey to cross an imaginary, yet critical, line between three nations. Detained briefly by the North Macedonian Army, who graciously allowed me to return on foot to Greece, the experience allowed me to gain empathy for those crossing illegally, and a deeper understanding that privilege is defined by having a place to return to.