The immigration debate has consumed the public discourse, since Donald Trump descended the golden elevator and called Mexican migrants “criminals” and “rapists.” And while the debate has centered around policy — like cruel family separation and asylum requests — one thing has been left out: the human cost.
Now, architect Ronald Rael has poignantly captured that human cost with an installation piece that will make it rain on your face.
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Rael, who is an architecture professor at the University of California at Berkeley, along with Virginia San Fratello, associate professor of design at San Jose State, installed children’s see-saws between the wall that separates Mexico and the United States.
The installation, entitled Teetertotter Wall, is located at the border in El Paso, Texas and Juárez, Mexico. As Rael explains on Instagram, the piece has been a decade in the making.
“One of the most incredible experiences of my and [San Fratello’s] career bringing to life the conceptual drawings of the Teetertotter Wall from 2009 in an event filled with joy, excitement, and togetherness at the borderwall,” Rael wrote on Instagram.
In the photos and videos, children play on fuschia-pink see-saws, offering a visual reminder of profound human connection through the social constructs that separate us.
“The wall became a literal fulcrum for U.S. – Mexico relations and 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,” he continued.
A strange economic disparity is visible in the photos. On the Texas side, the road is clean, free from litter. On the Mexican side, trash lines the border wall.
But on both sides, the children smile brightly, excited to play with one another, while the adults appear to treasure this moment of connection. It’s a beautiful, sobering reminder that, despite xenophobic forces, humanity will always triumph.
The humanity of this. ♥️ https://t.co/18605kTL26— Michelle Bhasin (@michellebhasin) July 30, 2019