Individual Work
Turista Fronterizo

The work 'Turista Fronterizo' (Border Tourist) (2012) by Ricardo Domínguez and Coco Fusco is a work that remediate the famous board game 'Monopoly', or its Mexican version, 'Turismo' (Tourism), making a clear criticism of the international migratory situation and the US immigration policy, where Mexicans risk their lives every day trying to cross their borders. In this sense, it is interesting to emphasize the different simultaneous spatialization exercises that the work does: on the one hand, we have the reference to space and the mobility processes of individuals across political borders, on the other, we find a spatialization through a “game board” that has rules and a route, and, finally, we find different fragments of stories related to different spaces that are linked to parts of the map or the board.

The game thus becomes a map, an instrument that facilitates and guides the journey through the narrative space, and the map is constituted here as a form of representation as well as a space for exploration. Tourist border, on the one hand, is a general image of the border, which also functions as a narrative structure connecting some squares with others and thus generating a hypertextual history. On the other hand, it also has that last ambiguous function of been a symbolic construction performed by the player/reader, who in this case has to relate concepts such as "board", "game", "chance" or "luck", to connote the journey through the tremendous socio-political reality that characterizes the border between the US and Mexico. The map is interesting here not only as a resource in the work, but as a text itself.

The work has a first screen formed by an illustrated image that represents two realities, the one at the bottom represents a police checkpoint on the Mexican border plagued by rows of traffic jams waiting to move forward, while the one at the top represents a western urban environment riddled with surveillance cameras and people in suits walking around. The title of the work, “Turista fronterizo”, acts as a border between the two halves, and it is through the click, from which the reader/player accesses a screen that gives the possibility of choosing between four characters to interpret the game, two in Spanish, and two in English. Thus, depending on the characters chosen for the game, the story will be coherent. As Coco Fusco explains, the narrative drifts are associated with common circumstances related to these characters who represent archetypes. The virtual game that is generated has little to do with the video game, since it rather points to the traditional space of the board and the rules of board games. However, the programming supports the narrative plot, the evolution of the game, and articulates the relationship between the die −which is rolled with a click and returns a random number−, the squares and the story that unfolds.

In effect, the map is the narrative, a circular structure that points to a no-win situation, since there is not even a square of arrival, as if there were no real solution to the problem. For this reason, the map is a graphic instrument of interpretation and discourse that refers to a situation and a real territory, but it is also a spatial itinerary and an organizer of the narration through which one path or another can be taken. In this sense, Coco Fusco's work is an exercise in hypermedia narration through a board or a map, where the jumps are not made by links that redirect us to the lexias, but are made based on what happens in the game itself.