Solar powered immigrant shelter provides Internet access

Picture 2-86

Kyle says:

Robert Ransick has completed a 6 month Residency at Eyebeam developing Casa Segura (Safe House).

The artwork combines a sheltered room on private land in the Sonoran desert in Southern Arizona with a bilingual web space that facilitates creative exchange and understanding.

Casa Segura proposes private property owners on the border to create a life-saving beacon in the desert, a platform for engaging with the anonymous individuals crossing their land in search of a better life, and a non-aggressive means of protecting their homes.



  1. Show us something you’ve created that’s 1/10th as interesting, Looneytick. I can’t wait to see what your superior intellect has made.

  2. Most property owners I knew on the border just kept a shotgun handy, but the illegals generally kept a distance from ranches.

    The worst part about the border runners were the ones that would kill dogs.

  3. This is the biggest waste of 6 months in the history of counting time. Robert Ransick should be forced to spend the rest of his idiotic existence jammed inside this heartbreaking work of staggering idiocy– as punishment for building this tin-roof travesty. Who is supposed to clean the place and re-stock the drinking water Rob? The private land owner? You? Who is footing the bill at Eyebeam- that would allow something this completely stupid to be physically BUILT by Rob himself? Give him an A for Asinine.

    Casa Segura = Texaco Bano. That would be the start and end of the visionary “safe house” – use the bench to perch yourself just right and take a big crap right beneath the solar internet interface (where you can then thank the private land owner for helping you take a relieving dump in the shade and then steal all of the shit that Rob kindly left on the shelf for you (with the last of his Eyebeam allowance). About a week later- the safe house will smell so bad that it will simply function as a solar powered hazardous waste disposal site. Of course by then- someone will have smashed the internet interface with the toilet bench and stolen the solar panels to sell at the closest pawn shop. At this point, the private land owner will have to get up off his non-agressive ass- go down to the local Home Despot- and round up a bunch of former guests of Casa Seguro to help him tear down the stinky safe house and remove the fetid scrap material for good. Brilliant Rob… Surprised that it only took SIX MONTHS to come up with this one.

  4. Eh? It looks like you posted your own comment, Henry Krinkle. Why do you want me to post them for you? I don’t know who you are.

  5. It’s an illegal immigrant shelter, right? Odd how that word always gets left out, and anyone who’s against illegal immigrants is immediately painted as “anti-immigrant” and “racist.” But hey, the concepts of obeying the law and national borders are soooo uncool and farrightwingneoconbushnazi, right?

    Ransick probably fancies himself to be creating the 21st century equivalent of the Underground Railroad that helped slaves escape to freedom. Hey Ransick, could you please invest the same amount of effort in doing something to fight poverty and corruption in Mexico, so people won’t feel the need to stream into the US and depress the wages of working class Americans?

    FWIW, my mother was a legal immigrant.

  6. @ PHASOR3000,

    FWIW, my ancestors were illegal immigrants – snuck over during the potato famine.

    FWIW, my wive’s ancestors were legal immigrants – brought over on a slave ship.

    You have a problem with people trying to make a better life even though we have some of the most restrictive immigration standards, go find out how a Native American feels about enforcing legal immigration.

  7. Sorry Mark–

    My comments usually don’t get posted… I assumed it was the same old story.

    I would- however- like to get the address of the Eyebeam foundation- as I have a brilliant idea (and I would love Robert Ransick’s help) to create hot-air hostels ” los desamparados aerostáticamos” for the fleet-footed illegal immigrants- to help them float up above the U.S. immigration laws (while getting a bird’s eye view of the Sonoran Desert). Take your average birthday party bounce-house and fill it with helium (tie it down with a bow) and leave it on the border line of any non-agressive property owner’s land and then wait to help the visiting masses seek aeronautical asylum.

  8. frow, so you’re saying that because we took over from the Native Americans, we have no right to enforce our national borders? Basically anyone who wants to walk or fly in and declare themselves to be an American can do so without any restrictions whatsoever?

    The whole “they’re just trying to make a better life” argument doesn’t hold up, either. There are hundreds of millions of people all over the world who would love to come to America and have a better life here. Should we let them all in and double or triple our population? Or are Mexicans, Guatemalans, etc. just lucky because their geographic location makes it easier for them to sneak in? Although I suppose if anyone can get to Mexico, then they can sneak in from there (this is already happening to some extent). Of course, people in Darfur can’t afford a plane ticket to Juarez, so in reality they’re SOL.

    Do you leave the doors to your home unlocked, so that homeless people can wander in and live there? They just want a better life, after all.

    btw, my problem isn’t with the people who are trying to get in — I would probably do the same thing in their situation. My gripe is with the US business community and government (both parties, for the most part) who are letting them in to provide a supply of ultra-cheap, fearful labor. With employers unwilling to pay a living wage to people who wash dishes or mow lawns (unless they’re willing to live in overcrowded conditions), they can proclaim that “no Americans will do these jobs” and give them to illegals that are grateful to make minimum wage. Meanwhile, the Mexican government is happy, as their most poverty-stricken citizens leave the country, get their health care at US emergency rooms, and send huge amounts of money back to relatives in Mexico. It’s clearly a huge scam being perpetrated by both governments and their business communities.

  9. That’s a cool idea, Henry. I imagine it would generate the same kind of lively conversation that this artist’s work has.

  10. Okay, I can understand giving illegal aliens water in the desert. They’re criminals, but they shouldn’t have to die of dehydration. But why the hell do they need internet access? I’m all for saving their lives, but affording them luxuries like this is insane.

  11. The conversation would be lively until the helium runs out.

    Then some jerk like me would have all sorts of nasty things to say about how dumb, cruel, racist and inhumane my “Los Desamparados Aerostaticamos” endeavor really was…

    I’d end up sueing the Eyebeam foundation (for the rest of their laughably disposable assets) for “degredation of character” (via supporting/encouraging my barbaric plan to begin with)– and hit the talk-show circuit (in hopes of some sad form of public redemption).

    At the end of the talk show- perhaps “Montel” or “Rachel Ray” (they’d be the only shows that would have me), Robert Ransick would make a surprise guest appearance- hobbling out of forced retirement- to help me mop up my televised tears. We’d become best friends (because now I’d be rich and could support all of his insanely stupid inventions for all of time). We’d build a supercompound somewhere on the southern border of the Sonoran Desert and use illegal immigrants for slave labor to build our fantastic and whimsical hobo-huts and flying machines from “scratch”. The immigrants would all be forced to dress as Stormtroopers from the “Star Wars” film franchise (and could not take off their ridiculous costumes- no matter how hot it got). The end.

  12. I find interesting that (presumably) conservative comenters don’t think Eyebeam should be allowed to spend their own money how they like, nor that private landowners should be able to erect what structures they like. Whatever you think of illegal immigrants, insisting other must not help them avoid dying of dehydration is pretty low.

    My own opinions on imigration begin from the premise that God did not draw the US border. Whatever right I (born in Virginia) have to live in Colorado that someone born in Chihuahua does not, there is nothing fundamental or moral about it. Further, were our positions reversed, and I perceived a choice between feeding my family or crossing a line someone else said I shouldn’t? I wouldn’t hesitate.

    Economics, politics, and the desert are conspiring to kill people. It would be nice if economics or politics would change. In the meantime, kudos to Ransick for suggesting we change the desert.

  13. Ditto what TwoShort said.

    Also, perhaps it’s also worthwhile considering the role that the US and other developed nations have had in making the rest of the world so terrible.

    Part of the reason why many European nations are doing so well is that they spent centuries plundering the natural resources and labour of countries in the developing world. US prosperity is built on, among other things, slavery, genocide (or something damn close, in the case of Native Americans), a series of military interventions in states in South America and elsewhere, and a willingness to use their predominance in international affairs to push “free trade” policies that, arguably, make the lot of poor people worse.

    It seems like the main argument for “border security” is: why should I have to give up my comfortable life? I don’t want to!

    I don’t see how having the good luck to be born in a certain place, with a certain level of intelligence, into a certain family, &tc, makes you any more worthy or deserving.

  14. Dear TwoShort

    Just because you had one hit single “Gettin It” in 1996 does not mean that you can shout at the rest of us from your lofty, liberal mountaintop kribb. Your sanctimonious, wordsworthless Biblical Colorado scolding is a far cry from your 1995 gangsta hit: “Only tha Strong Sur-Vive”…

    Perhaps a sampling of the lyrics might remind you of your former viewpoint:

    “I know you never would settle for the minimum snaps
    Have to live in the ghetto where the blacks be at
    And send your kids to a school that don’t really teach
    I give a fuck about a motherfuckin college degree, beeotch!
    You think I wanna get cha?–
    Take you to the motel, and straight raw dick ya? You must be crazy, smokin that chronic
    I take you to the motel, and put my rubber on it
    and hope it don’t bust, so I can stay alive
    Cause only the strong survive, you little shithead bitch”

    Music & Lyrics: TOOSHORT, “Only tha Strong Sur-Vive” 1995

    So what happened to YOU, Man?! You used to be so dangerous– now you just sound like a sensitive, confused pussy-on-the-mountain!

    And the correct reason why you have a “right” to live in Colorado Hippypants is because you PAY FOR IT WITH YOUR TAXES you hirsuit idiot! So sit down and listen to your own miserable, hateful, moronic, sexist, capitalist lyrics and start thinking about the hard-line gangsta economics behind your former idealz Mr. Sensitive.

    BTW: As a card carrying Athiest, I am deeply offended by your concept of “God” NOT taking sides (it is why I chose mine). I am also deeply offended at the concept (and/or reality) of you having a hairy, cowardly shoeless nomad family on the run to and from Mexico (when you can’t even afford to feed them). Oh well. The planet will be (burnt) toast in 40 years anyway. You and Robert can build as many Casa Stuipdas as you fucking want.

    PS, Too Short- I never bought any of your crappy records! (I just downloaded them for FREE)!!! (in case you are wondering why you can’t afford to feed your borderless kids).

  15. Dear Sky

    I barely have anything to say about your coat-tail riding Too Short’s chicken-shit viewpoint. He’s the star- well, former gangsta star of this talk-back. And you- well, if you don’t like it here Sky, then perhaps you should float your transliminal way South of the Border and cleanse your dirty conscience with some old fashioned poverty and uncomfortably miserable livin’. Be sure to stop by Robert’s solar shit-shack and email me before you are killed for your tennis shoes in Chihuahua.

  16. Wow, never before have I wanted a disemvoweling so badly…

    Who is this guy and why won’t he leave Boing Boing?

  17. Well DCulberson

    It is because I am sitting here bored out of my mind in the Casa Segura — deep in the Sonoran Desert and I thought I’d type a little before I start running again. Though- as I understand it, the lands of Boing Boing are free for us all to run through ?no?

    I’ll be sure not to write any more- as it upsts yr lw IQ so mch.

    Buenas Noches Fck Stck.

  18. Henry Kringle: Thank you for that thoughtful and well thought-out response, which got to the heart of my argument and addressed the issues that were raised.

  19. Dear Mister Krinkle –
    I am not “TooShort” the rap musician
    (note the different spelling), and your post is the first I’ve heard of him, so you’ll just have to judge my opinions by what I say rather than your preconceived notions. Based on the lyrics you provide, and a bit of the clip on his myspace page, I think he sucks. But for gangsta rap, that was hardly surprising.
    I am, like you, a card carrying atheist, which might explain my certainty regarding Gods lack of involvement in drawing the US border.
    You are correct that I pay taxes in Colorado. I propose to let anyone else who can get a job here pay taxes here too. Well, actually, a lot of illegal immigrants do pay taxes here, they just can’t get refunds or earned-income tax credits, so they pay more taxes than the rest of us.
    In contrast to Sky, I don’t feel much personal guilt for the less fortunate circumstances of other nations. I was lucky to be born in the US, and I’m OK with that. I’m also smart and hard working; I just don’t need stupid protectionist BS trying to keep out the competition. I can handle it.
    Our restrictive immigration policy is out of alignment with economic reality; as long as that’s the case, people will violate it, and problems will ensue.
    I find it depressing: Yet again people react with horror at the idea we might want to change a societal system that is causing all sorts of problematic side effects while failing spectacularly at its actual goals. Call me a liberal hippy all you want (I am, after all), but what’s your suggestion? More restrictions and enforcement, since that’s working so well so far?

  20. I applaud the spirit of Casa Segura. I’m a fan of all small-scale architecture, and particularly that aimed at addressing and providing solutions for (or probing the possibilities of) real human needs.

    Robert Ransick’s work does not aim to solve nor address the entire complex and highly polemicized issue of cross-border migrations, but rather addresses the immediate individual-scale need for shelter, water, and human connection.

    I believe that many that would like to see larger-scale political and sociological solutions at the national levels also want to do something immediately and at a smaller scale to stem the hundreds of deaths occurring annually along the border. Between October 2006 and August 31, 2007, 222 bodies were found in Southern Arizona. Regardless of one’s views on immigration, it’s possible and laudable to try to ameliorate that. Ransick’s work is part of that effort. If others feel they can affect the situation more effectively by engaging in vigilantism, then that’s there prerogative. If still others feel they can aid the world by casting aspersions upon those trying to do positive and hopeful things, well that’s their right as well.

    Here’s a great article about Ed McCullough, a retired geosciences professor from the University of Arizona, who’s been making maps of migration trails in order to understand where the heat, thirst, and exposure deaths are occurring and why. It’s his bit in the larger effort to address the needs that exist now while others do their part to sort out the longer-term issues.

    People have a right to express disagreement, and even be disagreeable. That’s why political solutions often take decades to emerge. But the great thing about human beings is that they’re each free to do their own part – to contribute help, to offer a different small-scale solution, to aid one other person, to provide maps and weather information, to offer water to the thirsty. We’re a highly distributed and individually creative and resourceful species.

    Robert Ransick is a Happy Mutant. May Bob grant him much slack.

  21. I’m all for humane sheltering of illegal immigrants trying to cross the desert, even if I’m not for illegal immigration per se, dying of dehydration and sunstroke is not to be wished for anyone. But I have to question how much use solar-powered Internet access would be, given a high percentage of illegals who are functionally illiterate. Wouldn’t a tamper-proof cellphone that could only dial some relevant aid agencies and rescue organizations be much more useful?

    The bottles of water lined up next to the computer screen will be immensely more useful to any lost illegal who finds the shack.

  22. …and a non-aggressive means of protecting their homes.

    That’s the part I find revealing. Noting that otherwise, property owners homes will be threatened. Perhaps with burglary, theft, breaking & entering, etc.

    So the artist is suggesting that in order for property owners to remain safe they should “pay for protection” and offer up this gift to the criminals instead? Please Mr. Criminal, take this shelter instead of robbing my house? That just strikes me as odd.

    Regardless of which side of the issue you’re on, there is some interesting reading at the Casa Segura page linked to in the original BB post. I’d suggest browsing through it.

  23. This is stupid. I doubt there are many private landowners willing to spend their money on feeding the illegals.

  24. How did I know that this post would bring out
    the trolls?

    I like the idea of providing water for people
    crossing the desert, but the first thought
    that crosses my mind is that a permanent
    structure like this would be too easy for
    the Minutemen or some other xenophobic
    yahoos to ambush.

    All the Mexican people I’ve worked with are
    really hard and diligent workers. I don’t
    care how they got here. Their employers are
    better off for having them. They help American
    businesses to do better and they contribute
    to our economy. And a lot of Mexican people
    are employers!

  25. Typical liberal insanity.

    There will be a family of eight living in this thing within a month. I hope they actually follow through with the project and post the results.

    If this thing is placed on a heavy route I have no doubt it will be all but destroyed withing two weeks.

    These “nice hardworking immigrants just looking for a better life” destroy fences, break into homes, kill pets and livestock and steal anything which is not bolted down.

  26. “All the Mexican people I’ve worked with are
    really hard and diligent workers. I don’t
    care how they got here. Their employers are
    better off for having them. They help American
    businesses to do better and they contribute
    to our economy. And a lot of Mexican people
    are employers!”

    Were they legal or illegal immigrants? How much were they paid? It puts a strain on our economic system to have underpaid immigrant workers in the country. Sure it seams like a lot of money to them so they do it for less. However this brings down the pay for everyone in similar jobs.

  27. Thank goodness that there are some people with sense left in the world.

    I have no problem with people putting whatever on their property. However, if this is aiding illegal immigration (or other illegal activity), then there is a serious problem. There is a legal way of coming to this country and it is this process that should be followed and respected. I’m not in favor of putting water fountains up or other items to facilitate illegal activity, as it only encourages it. Projects like this definitely help to cause the volume of people to increase.

    I’m sorry the conditions in your country are not what they should be and I welcome all who would want to come to the United States with open arms…but only if they follow the legal process for immigration! Those who seek the greatness and opportunities of this country with a willful violation of our laws should have NO helping hand. If there are people dying in the desert trying to illegally enter the US that serves as a deterrent to others who might follow their path. I’m sorry that our immigration process is a time consuming one but if you want to come here then that’s the path you need to take.

    Same with the illegal rallies they have held in the past few months/years. If a bunch of illegals are protesting inside the US about unfair immigration, I’d like to see INS at every rally loading these people onto buses/planes and taking them back home.

    I’m sorry if you feel guilty but appease your conscious in some other way. Join a lobbiest group and try to get the laws changed, start a grass roots movement, but don’t willingly violate the law because you don’t agree with it. And if you’re caught I hope for nothing but the harshest punishment. Perhaps an all expense paid trip to Club Gitmo?

  28. It’s scary, the level of hatred I see on the interwebs everyday. The Mexicans are the new Jews.

  29. RE: ZOUR
    Most every business thrives on illegal immigration, either directly or indirectly. Regardless of legal status, people need to earn and spend money to live here. Contrary to popular belief, people who are here illegally are not eligible for welfare.

    The article you cite seems particularly biased against illegal immigration. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that illegal immigration has existed since well before the 1950’s. Seems like maybe illegal immigration isn’t the dire threat to the country that some make it out to be.


    “Most every business thrives on illegal immigration, either directly or indirectly.”

    Please qualify this.

    And why is being ‘biased’ against illegal immigration bad? I don’t think anyone is in favor of illegal immigration. It is a horrible practice:
    – it is a bad situation for migrants
    – it has negative effects on the local populace

    I’m in favor of humanitarian aid to illegal immigrants, I am against the system of illegal immigration. Illegal immigration encourages exploitation of immigrants. This guy has his heart in the right place, but not his head.

    If you really want to help the people, work for reform in Mexico, work for reform in free trade pacts, work for reform in US ag policy, or work for reform in the corrupt system that feeds off of an impoverished and fearful workforce. These are macro problems, but there are micro solutions that can chip away at them.

  31. @ZOUR

    “Most every business thrives on illegal immigration, either directly or indirectly.” I thought I qualified this by the subsequent sentence:
    “Regardless of legal status, people need to earn and spend money to live here.” All I’m saying is, illegal immigrants help, not hurt, the economy, and that these benefits are not confined to one particular segment of the economy, like agriculture.

    I am not in favor of humanitarian aid to illegal immigrants as you are, however I am in favor of immigrant rights. Give these people rights, and they will no longer be exploited, or at least exploited as much. If people are honest and hard working, I want them in this country. I see this as the simplest solution to a macro problem, that in a lot of ways is not the problem it is made out to be.

    I get the feeling, and it may or may not be right, that you do not want migrants here because you don’t say anything to the contrary, and beause you say, “it has negative effects on the local populace.” I live in the southwest. I am working class. I have seen the negative effects first hand. All I’m saying is the benefits far outweigh the costs, and that maybe some of these negative effects would be negated if people felt they had the law to protect them.

    Lastly, I just want to add that not all migrant labor is exploited. Many are paid fairly, pay their taxes, and live their lives just as you or me.

  32. This should be “illegal immigrant” shelter.

    Illegal immigrants spread disease, clog schools and emergency rooms, wreak havoc on traffic, steel jobs and lower wages.

  33. So you don’t believe in giving humanitarian aid to immigrants dying in the desert? Not trying to pull a straw man, just seems that you’re misinterpreting what I said.

    I have absolutely no problem with immigrants, Mexican or otherwise. This is an entirely immigrant country, anyone who is “against immigrants” is a moron. I also believe in basic human rights, including humans who happen to be illegal immigrants. However citizenship is not a human right. If you offer full citizenship rights to illegal immigrants than why immigrate legally? Then you just have a completely open border society which to me is a bad idea. A government’s supposed primary purpose is to ‘provide’ for its citizens. Part of that is trying to control the population growth rate which if grown too fast causes problems in many many areas. Yes, an imaginary line in the sand is a silly idea, but that is the way of the world. And the government that controls the areas within said lines in the sand must act to protect the interests of those inside it before they consider the needs of those outside. Often callous, but sadly, also often necessary.

  34. On a side note to the fool who claimed immigrants are largely illiterate or barely literate, the CIA world fact book lists the literacy rate of Mexico at 91%. Just because someone is poor doesn’t mean they are stupid.

  35. Re: Humanitarian Aid. I did misinterpret what you said.

    Also, I wouldn’t equate giving immigrants rights with giving them citizenship, nor would I equate it with open borders. My point is: they’re here, they will continue to come here, and the country as a whole benefits from them–even depends upon them in many cases, so why not reform our laws to acknowledge these realities. This, in my mind, would be the best way for the government to provide for its citizens. Laws based upon ideological grounds with little regard to feasibility– take The Prohibition Act, for example–, tend to breed corruption and lawlessness.

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