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Walls as a Form of Architecture

Ronald Rael's Talk on the Wall Embraces Social & Political Issues

— February 26, 2019 — Keynote Trends
Architect Ronald Rael delivers a talk on the wall which delves into the cultural meaning of the divide, with a primary focus on US-Mexico relations. The speaker is an experienced professional who writes about and teaches architecture. His keynote is rather visual, as he offers the audience an abundance of images that detail how divided populations socially internalize the wall — from playing "wall y ball" which is the borderland version of volleyball and has been played since 1979 to shotting packets of cocaine and heroin with cannons.

The main question that Ronald Rael explores in his talk on the wall is namely whether the wall is a form of architecture or not. He reaches the conclusion that it is certainly a "design structure" but ultimately it presents a "medieval form of architecture" that is overly simplistic in its nature and fails to answer the issues it seeks to address. For Rael, the profession serves as a means of communication of ideas that are complex; a way to "speak to the disparities between wealth and poverty" in an accessible format.

During his talk on the wall, the speaker shows the audience some creative conceptualizations he has conceived of — from a teeter-totter-style dividing structure to a wall that presents a massive xylophone. Ronald Rael advocates for the public to engage with the borderland to help redefine its origin; to invite people to the wall's "political theater;" to reunite families.