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Racial Borderlands: Suburban Plantation Culture and 'Rancho California (por favor)'
Unformatted Document Text:  Racial Borderlands/10/9/03, p.16 an either/or question defined by digital technology. Analog narrative interactivity in Project Cosecha Nuestra shifted the terms—not of authorship—but of authority. Thinking interactively can allow community members to ignore the neat, and needlessly delimited, categories defined by media and computer products, by creating instabilities in the social relations that implement power. III. Activist Politics 1: Local DMZs Many who own property consider such things as the earth and soil to be unremarkable possessions. But those without land or earth—in California—have always been largely invisible. Donated land and earth (in the form of the vacant lot in Escondido) was the first place I had seen that was not effectively segregated; where indigenous migrants mixed and worked—publicly—with others. Indigenous Mixtecos Sergio Mendez and Arturo Gonzalez organized and worked in the garden lot, as well as elsewhere. It was also through the garden project that I met Victor Gomez— an indigenous Kanjobal-dialect speaker, who became the second community garden coordinator, and who organized Guatemalan migrants across Southern California as part of a project called “Mayavision.” In many ways, the La Cosecha Nuestra garden space really turned out to be a “DMZ.” It functioned, in effect, as a “demilitarized zone” or cultural “safe-harbor” that allowed forms of social interaction that were non-existent in the zoning status-quo that preceded it. 26 This land was set-aside by de-facto truce (an institutional consensus between NGOs and city government) for one objective, but it ended up grewing several other Frente and Kanjobal projects as well. A separate project named “Pro-Familia,” for example, involved small workshops on domestic abuse in the community that was networked around the garden. Videotape, improvisation, and non- actors were used to create improvisational scenes on issues of domestic abuse. Coordinated by Devora Gomez, these video workshops allowed women and men in the community to tangibly express, in a safe environment, their thoughts on and experiences with domestic abuse. The garden was also a site used by the Kanjobal (Guatemalan) and Mixteco (Oaxacan) “Indigenous Interpreter Projects” as well. With the assistance of CRLA these groups used the spaces for

Authors: Caldwell, John.
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Racial Borderlands/10/9/03, p.16
an either/or question defined by digital technology. Analog narrative interactivity in Project Cosecha
Nuestra shifted the terms—not of authorship—but of authority. Thinking interactively can allow
community members to ignore the neat, and needlessly delimited, categories defined by media and
computer products, by creating instabilities in the social relations that implement power.
III. Activist Politics 1: Local DMZs
Many who own property consider such things as the earth and soil to be unremarkable
possessions. But those without land or earth—in California—have always been largely invisible.
Donated land and earth (in the form of the vacant lot in Escondido) was the first place I had seen
that was not effectively segregated; where indigenous migrants mixed and worked—publicly—with
others. Indigenous Mixtecos Sergio Mendez and Arturo Gonzalez organized and worked in the
garden lot, as well as elsewhere. It was also through the garden project that I met Victor Gomez—
an indigenous Kanjobal-dialect speaker, who became the second community garden coordinator,
and who organized Guatemalan migrants across Southern California as part of a project called
“Mayavision.” In many ways, the La Cosecha Nuestra garden space really turned out to be a
“DMZ.” It functioned, in effect, as a “demilitarized zone” or cultural “safe-harbor” that allowed forms
of social interaction that were non-existent in the zoning status-quo that preceded it.
26
This land
was set-aside by de-facto truce (an institutional consensus between NGOs and city government) for
one objective, but it ended up grewing several other Frente and Kanjobal projects as well.
A separate project named “Pro-Familia,” for example, involved small workshops on domestic
abuse in the community that was networked around the garden. Videotape, improvisation, and non-
actors were used to create improvisational scenes on issues of domestic abuse. Coordinated by
Devora Gomez, these video workshops allowed women and men in the community to tangibly
express, in a safe environment, their thoughts on and experiences with domestic abuse. The
garden was also a site used by the Kanjobal (Guatemalan) and Mixteco (Oaxacan) “Indigenous
Interpreter Projects” as well. With the assistance of CRLA these groups used the spaces for


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