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Artists respond to Trump by building wall that people can easily overcome

If ever President Donald Trump pushes through with his plan of building a wall, we’re hoping he uses this ‘foolproof’ design. *wink, wink*

For the 2017 Winnipeg Warming Huts – an annual competition wherein a stretch of the Red River Mutual Trail is turned into an outdoor architecture gallery – Rotterdam-based Atelier ARI created a wall called Open Border.

The 120-foot-long installation features a bright façade composed of red-orange plastic strips, creating a stunning contrast against the snowy white landscape. More importantly, instead of keeping people out, this wall lets people pass through – a strong statement against what is happening now in the world.

Kids passing through the wall

The wall has one other feature: once people reach its interior to warm up, they become indistinguishable from each other.

“Everybody in the wall becomes dark-red silhouettes,” Atelier ARI told Fast Company. “Everybody becomes the same.”

We also got to interview Atelier ARI to find out more about their award-winning project Open Border.

People walking through the wall

What made you decide to do an installation inspired by US politics?

“The Open Border project is part of the 2017 warming Hut Competition in Winnipeg. For us, the first intention was to create a radical architectural intervention, by creating a large wall on the skating trail. The moment we came up with this idea we realised the political aspects of it in relation to the US politics and the refugee problematics in Europe. The opportunity to make a statement at this moment in time, when discussions on immigration and borders are heated, was something we wanted to grab.”

Why the porous wall? Wouldn’t the message have been more impactful if the viewers couldn’t get through it, much like in real life?

“The brief for the competition was to create a warming hut, so we had to make a space that can be entered. We actually liked the contradiction of being a wall and a passing through at the same time.

“With the Open Border project, we try to open up the discussion about borders and immigration. We don’t offer a solution to a problem, but we do want to make a counter-reaction against the rough and inhuman action of building a large wall between two countries. A ‘normal’ wall divides people, this wall gathers people.”

A dog and its humans

Speaking of viewers, what were the reactions of people who saw the installation?

“We do get mostly positive reactions from all over the world, on social media and design blogs. People seem to like the combination and contradiction of the statement and the playful object. Some reactions are from the US but mostly from Europe, we’re still waiting for a Twitter-reaction from the US president himself.”

Do you have any plans of putting up this installation in the US so that more can see the ridiculousness of Trump’s plan?

“When somebody would ask us to do this we will think about it, but then we will try to add something or change the project so that it will get more attention than just a copy of this project.”

You can find out more about Atelier ARI here.

Via Design Boom

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