It’s meant to keep people apart but the infamous US-Mexico border wall was the site of a see-saw installation that was actually designed to bring people on both sides together.
The Teeter Totter Wall — with seesaws slotted through sections of the wall allowing people in both countries to play together –has just won the 2020 Beazley Design of the Year award, which is organised by London’s London’s Design Museum.
Although the seesaws were only in place for 40 minutes in July 2019, video footage of people using them went viral.
The playful, subversive installation, which took 10 years, was created by Ronald Rael, a professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley and Virginia San Fratello, an associate professor of design at San José State University through their firm Rael San Fratello. It was situated at the Anapra zone in Ciudad Juarez in Mexico. The creators said they wanted to address the border issue in “a very frank way but using humour.”
Tim Marlow, chief executive and director of the Design Museum said, “The Teeter-Totter Wall encouraged new ways of human connection. It remains an inventive and poignant reminder of how human beings can transcend the forces that seek to divide us.”
The teeter-totters represented the kind of balance necessary for any two people, two nations, to achieve equality, with the understanding that the actions on one side have direct consequences on the other. The teeter-totter is the physical manifestation of the Golden Rule—treat others as you would like others to treat you—a maxim that is shared by all cultures and religions. To experience joy on a teeter-totter, you must allow the other person to experience joy as well.Ronald Rael