An Art Project by Thomas Hable.

Words can be quickly spoken, but their effects might last much longer. It seems easier than ever before to spread ideas through words. Videos of talks and speeches, blog-comments and tweets flood the internet, which we all can produce and consume instantly. The weight and consequences of these words are not always recognized before they are sent into the world. In the run-up to the presidential election in the United States, Mr. Trump began to proclaim his plans to build a wall along the border to Mexico. It seemed, however, that long before construction of his plans could begin, his words had already become a barrier, a wall, running through his own country. It divides those who agree with him from those who oppose his plans, making communication and productive discussion seemingly impossible. Similar developments can be seen all over. Word by word, speech by speech, tweet by tweet these walls continue to grow.

This project seeks to demonstrate the perceived weight of words. It began as an attempt to build a wall, made of the words taken from the infamous “Wall-Speech”. Each word would become a brick, which would then be placed one next to the other, layer on top of layer. Recognizing that these walls are everywhere, and exist in various contexts, Building the Wall can be seen as a participatory project. Anyone, anywhere should be able to make the words literally concrete, that pose a barrier in their lives.

For anyone to be able to join this effort, the instructions – although only suggestions – are kept simple. The words can be easily made of concrete. The letter shapes of this font can be cast with reusable modules. Without becoming too technical, the resulting shapes are somewhat quirky-looking. But aren’t the most divisive words also the most ridiculous? In the end the goal is, of course, not to build a wall in our midst. However, hopefully, by taking the time to visualize and put words that divide us into shape, we can recognize, that these walls are not as solid as they might seem. And then we might find a way to start taking them down.