Repurpose — A Wall To Nowhere


“Over The Hill”, Susi Thomas, 2007, Acrylic on Canvas with Running Fence fabric, Photo by Carto, 2011

By executive order of the president, the US has started the process of creating a 2000 mile fence or wall along the US/Mexico border. Maybe there is still time to re-examine this silly project.

Building fences and walls over open country is not an easy task. Let’s look at the amazing 24 mile-long Running Fence project that artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude designed and built in Marin and Sonoma Counties, California.

“Running Fence was 18 feet (5.5 meters) high and 24.5 miles (39.4 kilometers) long. The art project consisted of 42 months of collaborative efforts, 18 public hearings, three sessions at the Superior Courts of California, the drafting of a 450-page Environmental Impact Report and the temporary use of the hills, the sky and the ocean at California’s Bodega Bay.”
— Christo and Jeanne Claude, Running Fence Documentation

In 1976, Christo and Jeanne-Claude completed Running Fence project. A white nylon fabric fence was raised that went from the Pacific Ocean to the Sonoma Wine Country, and then was taken down after two weeks. Panels from the fence have bee repurposed into artworks by artists associated with Susi Thomas’ tapestry, shown above is one of those works.

In 2010, the Smithsonian obtained the Running Fence documentation and other ephemera from  Christo and put together a retrospective exhibition. The photo montage below shows photos from the collection. The fence is majestic as it marches across the Marin headlands going nowhere and harming no one (click an image to expand).

The design for Running Fence is now owned by the people of the United States.  Maybe we could use it for the proposed 2000 mile-long Mexican Border Wall — if built, it will be nice to look at, and it will be easier to dismantle when we decide to take down the wall.

Photographers from both sides of the border could document the project.

Cheers, Carto

Follow this link to view Repurpose at WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.