Gabion Wall

This installation presents the wall as a linking element rather than one of separation. The wall is placed in a public square, in a position of both flow and frontier – in front of a pedestrian crossing (a frontier between vehicles and people). Instead of demarcating these boundaries, hampering or impeding transit (a function that ‘other’ walls have assumed), the wall is situated in a transverse position. It serves as a gate, it’s divided into two parts inviting people to pass through it.

The gabion wall is made from a hexagonal mesh filled with stones, forming compact prismatic units. Individually, the elements are fragile: the mesh is flexible, the stones are small. Yet as a whole, the gabion wall is a highly efficient, durable containment and support solution. Its solid form reflects the impressive strength of individual elements when they group together. The construction of the wall is a collective act, facilitated by dozens of hands.

The practices used in its construction are just as important as the final form. The time, effort and incredible patience of the team are an integral part of the intervention: from the loading of raw materials from a quarry at sunrise, to transporting the material along semi-rural (or semi-urban?) roads in northern Portugal, to laying 23 tons of stone, one by one…