The pink see­saw at the US-Mex­i­co bor­der was 10-years in the making

In 30 minutes it was installed, used by children on either side of the border, made headline news around the world and then dismantled.

Build that wall” has become the ral­ly­ing cry of Trumpers across Amer­i­ca. It’s hollered so fre­quent­ly and with such gus­to that even POTUS him­self has been find­ing it a bit of a drag – last Decem­ber he shit­ti­ly told a ral­ly in South Car­oli­na: It’s not build that wall’ any­more; it’s con­tin­ue build­ing that wall,’ because we’re build­ing it.”

There isn’t much about the sit­u­a­tion that doesn’t leave a sen­tient per­son cold. From the forcible sep­a­ra­tion of chil­dren from their par­ents to the use of tear gas against migrants try­ing to pass into the country. 

In the past few days, though, the art instal­la­tion known as Teeter­tot­ter Wall has changed the glob­al con­ver­sa­tion. It was the work of archi­tec­tur­al stu­dio Rael San Fratel­lo, who over the week­end installed three pink see­saws between met­al slats at the US-Mex­i­co bor­der wall, invit­ing chil­dren on either side to play together.


The joy and inno­cence of chil­dren play­ing and the spec­ta­cle of acid-bright see­saws served to ren­der the fence absurd, mak­ing it (to quote Ronald Rael, co-founder of Rael San Fratel­lo) a lit­er­al ful­crum for U.S. – Mex­i­co relations…children and adults were con­nect­ed in mean­ing­ful ways on both sides with the recog­ni­tion that the actions that take place on one side have a direct con­se­quence on the oth­er side.”

But despite the fact that it last­ed only about half an hour, the project has been ten years in the mak­ing, with the orig­i­nal designs being drawn in 2009

Trump may have adopt­ed the cause as his own but the Secure Fence Act, which autho­rised the con­struc­tion of 700 miles of fenc­ing along the Mex­i­can bor­der (and inspired the orig­i­nal designs for Teeter­tot­ter Wall) was passed as far back as 2006. Speak­ing to art­net News, Vir­ginia San Fratel­lo explained: The wall, and the unfor­tu­nate pol­i­tics of the wall, not only sep­a­rate coun­tries, but regions, cities, neigh­bor­hoods, fam­i­lies, and more recent­ly, a sep­a­ra­tion of chil­dren from their parents.”


The archi­tects, along with a group of sup­port­ers, pitched up on Sat­ur­day 28th July; every­thing had been designed in advance so that the see­saws could be installed with­out attract­ing the atten­tion of bor­der offi­cials. The ful­crum that sup­port­ed the see­saw was notched to sit on the bor­der wall tem­porar­i­ly,” said San Fratello.


In the event, some sources have claimed that guards on either side of the wall did see what was hap­pen­ing and let it stand, although, accord­ing to a state­ment from US bor­der offi­cials: There is no play­ground along the U.S.-Mexico bor­der wall in New Mex­i­co. On the evening of July 28, U.S. Bor­der Patrol agents encoun­tered a small group who iden­ti­fied them­selves as local uni­ver­si­ty faculty/​staff at the bor­der wall. They had placed boards through the wall and appeared to be play­ing with res­i­dents of Mex­i­co while record­ing the engage­ment. The group removed the boards and left the area with­out inci­dent after it was estab­lished that there was no advance coor­di­na­tion. Agents ensured that no people/​goods were crossed dur­ing the encounter.”

All in all, the instal­la­tion only last­ed 30 min­utes although, San Fratel­lo and Rael have designed oth­er instal­la­tions includ­ing a Bur­ri­to Wall – an open-air kitchen which could trans­form the fence into a food cart. 

Let’s hope they pull it off because bur­ri­tos are deli­cious and fuck Trump. 

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