An artist built seesaws into the US-Mexico border and invited kids to play on them

James Baldwin said, "The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions that have been hidden by the answers."

What an apt description of a new art installation at the southern border.

A set of bright pink teeter-totters extend into both the U.S. and Mexico through the barrier between the two countries. Children and adults on both sides of the border can play together, seesawing up and down, their view of one another partially obscured by the vertical steel slats that separate them.



RELATED: Over two dozen scientists have proposed a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border that we should start building right now

Ronald Rael, professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and Virginia San Fratello, associate professor of design at San José State University, came up with the conceptual drawings for the "Teetertotter Wall" in 2009. With the help of others, the two professors created the scene this week near El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, and shared images and video of it on Instagram.

"The wall became a literal fulcrum for U.S.-Mexico relations," Real wrote on Instagram, "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."

Raell said the event was "filled with joy, excitement, and togetherness."

The images are beautiful and uplifting, yet heartbreaking and tragic at the same time.

The current administration's answers to immigration questions are to build a bigger wall, to severely limit people's claim to asylum, to stoke the fires of fear and prejudice about immigrants from certain ethnicities, and to deter migration with inhumane detention practices.

RELATED: An actual engineer explains why the wall is 'a disaster of numerous types waiting to happen'

This art installation brings to the surface the deep questions those answers hide.

What is the difference between the children on this side of the wall and the children on the other side?

Does the geography of our birth really determine whether or not we deserve safety and freedom?

How do children playing together—as they do universally—become adults who make desperate journeys, adults who create unjust policies, adults who forget their humanity and steal people's babies from their arms?

Will history view this wall as it does most other walls built throughout history—as relics of a less evolved past when humans insisted on dividing themselves into artificial groups and factions?

Turning the much-debated border wall into a playground, even temporarily, reminds us of the axiom that children are children are children. It reminds us that no matter how complex we think immigration issues are, we cannot ignore the simple truth that we are all human beings.


NASA

When we look at our planet from space, we see no borders. That doesn't mean that borders don't or should never exist in any way, but it does mean that those separations are completely man-made and malleable. Here on the ground, it's easy to forget that. It's easy to start thinking of "us" and "them" as if those lines on a map are of greater importance than our shared humanity.

Watching innocent children play is a good reminder that nothing trumps the fact that we are all human beings, all deserving of the same basic human rights, regardless of what side of a border we come from.

Culture

Brace yourselves, folks, because this is almost too friggin' adorable to handle.

A 911 call can be a scary thing, and an emergency call from a dad having chest pains and trouble breathing is no exception. But thankfully, an exchange between that dad's 5-year-old daughter and 911 dispatcher Jason Bonham turned out to be more humor than horror. If you missed hearing the recording that has repeatedly gone viral since 2010, you have to hear it now. It's perfectly timeless.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Image by Brent Connelly from Pixabay and sixthformpoet / Twitter

Twitter user Matt, who goes by the name @SixthFormPoet, shared a dark love story on Twitter that's been read by nearly 600,000 people. It starts in a graveyard and feels like it could be the premise for a Tim Burton film.

While it's hard to verify whether the story is true, Matt insists that it's real, so we'll believe him.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Can the teens do literally anything without being blasted? Apparently not...

Katie Cornetti and Marissa Bordas, two Pittsburgh teens, were involved in a car crash. After taking a sharp turn on a winding road, the car flipped twice, then landed on its side. The girls said later on that they weren't on their phones at the time. The cause of the crash was because the tires on Bordas' car were mounted improperly.

The girls were wearing their seatbelts and were fine, aside from a few bruises. However, they were trapped in the car for about 20 minutes, so to pass the time while they waited for help, they decided to make a TikTok video. They made sure they were totally fine before they started recording.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Approximately 10% of the population is left-handed, and the balance between lefties and righties has been the same for almost 5,000 years. People used to believe that left-handed people were evil or unlucky. The word "sinister" is even derived from the Latin word for "left."

In modern times, the bias against lefties for being different is more benign – spiral notebooks are a torture device, and ink gets on their hands like a scarlet letter. Now, a new study conducted at the University of Oxford and published in Brain is giving left-handers some good news. While left-handers have been struggling with tools meant for right-handers all these years, it turns out, they actually possess superior verbal skills.

Researchers looked at the DNA of 400,000 people in the U.K. from a volunteer bank. Of those 400,000 people, 38,332 were southpaws. Scientists were able to find the differences in genes between lefties and righties, and that these genetic variants resulted in a difference in brain structure, too. "It tells us for the first time that handedness has a genetic component," Gwenaëlle Douaud, joint senior author of the study and a fellow at Oxford's Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, told the BBC.

Keep Reading Show less
popular