He trained his camera on scenes from everyday life and sought out individuals in each city who were born on November 9, 1989, the day the Berlin Wall fell. (There’s also ample footage of basketball games taking place in both places.) “My idea was to prove that this idea of the ‘other’ is pointless,” he says, “that even if you go to the farthest place from where you are now, life’s pretty much the same.”
On the back wall Argote has hung a series of concrete sculptures that he terms “excerpts,” meant to resemble segments of walls. They’re each covered in text—bearing messages like “we didn’t go to find otherness, but rather sameness”—that calls back to themes in the film. Nearby are several collages that sample historical propaganda slogans. And in the center of the gallery space is a giant aluminum sculpture of a sweet potato, adorned with glimmering gold leaf.
Why this particular vegetable? “Instead of using, for example, an apple,” Argote says, alluding to the fruit as a symbol for knowledge, “I wanted to show this root—which is weak, imperfect.” The sculpture points to the sweet potato’s South American origins, its importation and shipping across the globe, and its role in helping various nations out of poverty. “It’s like a kind of divinity, a Saint Potato,” he says with a smile.