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by Christine Leclerc
After repeated exposure to Guillermo Verdecchia’s Fronteras Americanas, Vancouver-based author and activist Christine Leclerc came up with an intriguing poetic theorem for this exciting drama. You can play along at home.
Frontier: a form of wilderness.
Spiral frontier: a shape that deborders adjacent states.
There are many kinds of wild.
Reading Fronteras Americanas was an experience of frequent reorientation to an ever-revolving scene-space. The characters, Verdecchia and Secundo, played by a single actor, are distributed across time, physical space, and generic reality. An encounter with this motion compelled the imagining of a spiral frontier in place of the idea of space that poses as pre-determined and with impermeable borders, a version of space that does not explode with explanatory power in this play.
Draw a spiral and try not to trace a path to its centre with your mind. Now draw a closed border state and try not to focus on the shape. This exercise is about space and motion, and space in motion.
The spiral frontier frames a shepherded distance. Thought can travel as far into the centre as a thinker’s talent for the infinitesimal will take them. And thought can stalk the infinite on its way out. This is in math world. In Earth world, actual size places a real limit on the spiral frontier’s footprint (unless the spiral is imagined as being perpendicular to the earth’s, which would place the Earth’s depths, surfaces, and skies in relation—not a bad idea).
Even with a limited footprint however, the size of the spiral frontier is infinite in that its centre is ever-coiling, robbing the spiral of space by adding to the frontier.
The spiral frontier is all line until the first revolution is completed. After several revolutions, the spiral is spacious, more and more spacious until its maximum footprint is reached. And when the maximum footprint is reached, the spiral gets more line-filled, as the line thickens. The spiral frontier becomes more and more line, the line itself becoming a frontier as its scope makes it unwieldy. Finally, there is a moment of pure frontier and then the algorithm that controls this fantasy spits space from its centre, and the space unfurls, at first like a line—indistinguishable from what earlier appeared to be a line of line, and not of space.
Border: a line that separates two political or geographical regions.
Also: the relationship between two or more perimeters.
The second definition raises the question of whether a closed border state could recognize itself without having its identity confirmed and validated by other such states. The spiral frontier cannot confirm or validate the closed border state, with its constant spacial revolutions, at times an extension of the closed border state, and vice-versa.