At the Heart of the Border, or on the Perpetual Infinitude of Limits

Susana Asensio Llamas

Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Madrid

The border as a geographical space is an osmotic and porous place that defines the identities of the people and culture it delimits. It is a very interesting place in terms of the development of artistic and ideological currents and, generally, of hybrid phenomena. The Tarifa African Film Festival features many of the contemporary characteristics that the perpetual changes in borders and limits produce in cultures, their people, performers, representatives and related ideas, as revealed by Eva de Andrés Castro’s study Una alfombra roja para África. Etnicidad y espectáculo en un festival de cine, published by CSIC in 2022. It questions many of the stories that are intertwined in the festival and explores several related lines of analysis.

When we speak of borders, we usually think of geographical spaces of division and exchange, places that, without an identity of their own, define the identities of the people and cultures they delimit. This is how, among cultural and natural changes throughout the planet, the internal borders that delimit some differences and the external contours that share, at the very least, spaces and, very often, cultures and lifestyles have historically been forged. The border is always osmotic, filtering between the sides some of its more or less exclusive characteristics and is, therefore, porous, absorbing part of what passes through it and making it its own, in a diverse and unique mixture on each occasion. Therefore, borders are places of special interest in the development of artistic and ideological currents, of new approaches to old problems and hybrid phenomena in general.

In this way, and for the purposes of this discourse, we will regard the border as a significant conceptual place in itself, an expression that goes beyond what it demarcates, a crossroads and an ideational structure representative of mixing and hybridisation. The border as a limit, as a margin that lends meaning to what is outside its existence and nature, what surrounds it. The border as a place of transit and reflection.

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