The United States and Canada are unique and distinct from one another, but we are connected as neighbors and nations that share a common history. One of the largest things we share, contend, and cross is our border. A border can be physical or abstract; it could be marked by fences or terrain, or by a political, cultural, or even language divide within or between societies. Is a border a means of inclusion or exclusion, and can societal differences easily traverse these boundaries? Our concept is a narrative of a hard drawn out line on the landscape as metaphor for things that the border has shaped, and it speaks of how easily a boundary can be crossed.
The visitor can experience the border rendezvous at many levels. The edge or “border” of our site is undefined as it incorporates the existing turf around our defined plot, but as the visitor approaches the center it is defined as a strict line in the landscape as trees are sheared off and the ground plane drops to form a border line. The main pathways or entrances are 2 feet (610 mm) wide creating an encounter that is uncomfortable for two people to pass in opposite directions; this physical meeting is not unlike most border crossings where lines are encountered and there is a sense of confinement. The pathway opens up at the crossing to allow a moment of reflection, and bodies move from being insiders to outsiders, from natives to foreigners. They are faced with crossing the 6 inch (150 mm) trough cut into the landscape, which is a physical indication of depth and separation, but metaphorically shows how close we really are in the distance of the divide between countries. Above ground this border line opens up a vista that is reminiscent of looking down an allée. The border line will incorporate a glowing light that during the day will be visible in the shade of the 1 foot (300.5 mm) deep trough and at night will continue up and backlight the translucent walls, creating subtle mood lighting. To keep with the proposed budget we have selected readily available and affordable materials. The retaining walls will be constructed from 4”x4” (100x100) posts and plywood and skinned with translucent acrylic or polycarbonate panels which will also create the above grade walls or “border.” Low voltage rope light will be incorporated below a translucent acrylic strip in the trough below grade.
Despite any cultural, political, or language differences, our connection to each other is clear and can traverse any border. In this garden we can come together on common ground, communicate with each other, share our cultures, and our values. We are relating to the context of the theme “Meetings and Encounters” as an international neighbor posing the question, do fences make good neighbors?