Off-Base: Points of Ambivalence on the Struve Geodetic Arc and U.S.- Mexico Border


land surveying
Struve Geodetic Arc
U.S-Mexico Border
international boundaries
boundary monuments
location Agrimensura
arco geodésico de Struve
frontera mexicana-estadounidense
frontera internacional

How to Cite

Monte, P. (2020). Off-Base: Points of Ambivalence on the Struve Geodetic Arc and U.S.- Mexico Border. InForma, 12, 42-43. Retrieved from


This essay visually analyzes two nineteenth century photographs of spatial monuments: a postcard showing the Meridianstotten in Hammerfest Norway, the northernmost point of Struve Geodetic Arc, and a photograph of Boundary Monument No.258 on the border between San Diego and Tijuana included in a 1880s land survey of the boundary between the United States and Mexico. Visual analysis of the photographs is paired with historical and scientific context from UNESCO nomination documents and goverment land survey documents accordingly. I then elaborate on metaphysical issues at stake in the spatial dynamics of the and their respective historical contexts. Refering Homi Bhabha's concepts of the pedagogical, the performative, and ambivalence from The Locationof Culture, I argue that these photographs highlight transitions from relative to totalizing systems of spatial production with implications for human subjectivity and spatial agency. I conclude with a discussion of the issues raised by the photographs in relation to the contemporary border situation and architectural discourse


Download data is not yet available.