I spent the first days of 2017 “traveling” the United States-Mexico border via Google Earth, staring intently into a glowing computer screen as if it were a physical portal into a tangible place. I sat for hours alone at my desk clicking obsessively through these digital terrains. Initially, I was drawn to the border to better understand the campaign mantra “build a wall”—the words that spiraled across the internet.

In Google Earth, I often came upon street posts bent from faulty uploads, blurred out faces, masking human identities, and large portions of the wall and sky that vanished into digital aberrations. Even so, the US...

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