The Tijuana treehouse that peeks across the border

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The Tijuana treehouse that peeks across the border
A view of the border treehouse created by Japanese art collective Chim Pom, which is titled "U.S.A. Visitor Center." / © Carolina A. Miranda
The Tijuana treehouse that peeks across the border
A view of the border treehouse created by Japanese art collective Chim Pom, which is titled “U.S.A. Visitor Center.” / © Carolina A. Miranda

As Trump talks building a wall, a Japanese art collective’s Tijuana treehouse peeks across the border

As treehouses go, this one offers unparalleled views. To the north are the scrub-covered slopes of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge. To the south are the ramshackle constructions of Tijuana’s Colonia Libertad neighborhood, with its tire retaining walls and patchwork roofs of corrugated tin. Stretching into the horizon to the west is roughly seven miles of undulating steel border wall separating Mexico from the United States.

The U.S.Mexico border is no ordinary place. And this is no ordinary treehouse. It is a work of art built by a collective of Japanese artists known as Chim Pom. The backyard treehouse, on the Tijuana side of the border, also functions as a wry viewpoint over one of the most politicized borders in the world.

“It’s our art,” said Ryuta Ushiro, a member of the collective, “but it’s also for children.”

The installation couldn’t be more timely. Newly inaugurated President Donald Trump has made building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border a high priority — mentioning it Jan. 11 during his first official news conference in months, when he told reporters, “I want to get the wall started.”

But the wall remains controversial. Only 37% of Americans support building it, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released last week. And on Monday, ABC ran an interview with the outgoing head of the Customs and Border Protection agency, who cast doubt on the project’s utility. […]

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