THE TROLLEY SOLUTION
Danger. Violence. Drug Wars. These were the terms that dominated stories of the El Paso-Juarez border. For Peter Svarzbein, the border was so much more than these things: it was also home. Reaching back into the past to construct a future that seemed impossible, even preposterous, in 2010 Peter began The El Paso International Trolley Project, the final thesis for his Masters Art degree, in which he re-imagined an existence for the historical trolley that connected downtown El Paso to downtown Juarez.
It was a social practice art project which combined reality and fiction, civic memory and aspirational dreams. For the next three years, in sketchbooks and digital darkrooms and on walls and spaces on the Border, the Trolley Project conjured a vision of a world where El Paso and Juarez were connected more than separated, where everyday stories were reanimated with communal meaning, and where citizens of a shared geography went about their business in peace. It was a long-time truth but a new border story, from the perspective of a border citizen, a fronterizo.