A Seesaw At the Border, Because What Goes Up Goes Down

Twitter photos at the border

In a “subversive re-imagining” of the border wall - which cruelly, inherently represents what Noam Chomsky calls "the architecture of violence” - two artists installed a set of fluorescent pink seesaws in both Texas and Mexico on Monday to provide "a literal fulcrum" between the two countries, and all of us. The project, on the outskirts of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, was dreamed up 10 years ago by Ronald Rael, an architecture professor at UC Berkeley, and Virginia San Fratello, a design professor at San José State University. In his Borderwall as Architecture, which one review deemed "an artistic and intellectual hand grenade of a book," Rael re-examines the physical and cultural divide of the wall, and the ways it both keeps people out and draws them toward it. Like French artist JR's image of a Mexican child peering over the wall, Rael argues the seesaw illustrates an essential lesson: "What happens in one place has an impact in the other." The pink seesaws - dubbed "Sube y Baja," or "Go up and go down" - were set up without advance notice in Sunland Park, New Mexico and slid through the fence’s slats. Despite the mindless, ominous notion of a "national emergency," delighted kids and adults flocked to them, offering joyful, poignant, spontaneous proof that in fundamental ways, "We are all one."

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

Never Miss a Beat.

Get our best delivered to your inbox.

Ronald Rael with his book. Photo by Brittany Hosea-Small

Our pandemic coverage is free to all. As is all of our reporting.

No paywalls. No advertising. No corporate sponsors. Since the coronavirus pandemic broke out, traffic to the Common Dreams website has gone through the roof— at times overwhelming and crashing our servers. Common Dreams is a news outlet for everyone and that’s why we have never made our readers pay for the news and never will. But if you can, please support our essential reporting today. Without Your Support We Won't Exist.

Please select a donation method:



Share This Article