The Floating Piers

July 01, 2016

We live in a season where many prefer building walls instead of bridges. In the U.S., a presidential candidate launched to the forefront with a platform of building a wall to stop immigrants. Across eastern Europe, multiple nations recently erected fences and give more political support to anti-immigrant politicians. In the U.K., some urged a vote to leave the European Union so the nation could create legal walls to stop immigrants.

In this environment, we need prophets to show a different way. We need people to help with the building of bridges instead of walls. In Italy, we are seeing one such example. Artist Christo's latest project, "The Floating Piers," features a walkway of nearly two miles that connects two islands to the mainland in Northern Italy. Hundreds of thousands of people have walked the golden piers during its short installation.

“In that lake is the tallest mountain island in Europe,” explained Christo, who conceived the idea with his now late wife and longtime collaborator Jeanne-Claude. “Two thousand people live on it. And to go to the mainland, they have no bridge. ... For 16 days, they will walk on the water!”

"The Floating Piers," by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Lake Iseo, Italy, 2016 (Wolfgang Volz/Christo)
"The Floating Piers," by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Lake Iseo, Italy, 2016 (Wolfgang Volz/Christo)
"The Floating Piers," by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Lake Iseo, Italy, 2016 (Wolfgang Volz/Christo)

It's a fascinating installation (and I wish I could go check it out before they take it down). In a time when so many are fixated on building walls, it's nice to see someone building bridges. Perhaps art like this can spark our imaginations and help us imagine new ways of relating with each other.

0 comments