It’s easy to consider our structures permanent, until you learn that our proudest skyscrapers would crumble within a few decades without ongoing maintenance. And what is a few decades in the face of nature?
A Sign in Space is an art installation at Spain’s Laga Beach by Gunilla Klingberg that reminds us of man’s relatively transient footprint. It’s a “truck tire star pattern” that’s diligently embossed into the sand at low tide, only to be washed away at high tide. The beach becomes a giant groomed sculpture, only to turn back into unformed sand.
“It resembles decorated paving in public squares. A beach is another public space where people gather and meet. Nevertheless, the tide makes this demarcated space very temporary,” Klingberg tells Co.Design. “After the printing has been made on the beach the pattern is erased both by the sea at high tide as well as by people’s footprints and in some hours it is all gone. Maybe one might reflect on the impermanence of all things.”
But to create this effect, of celestial diesel vehicles running over the beach, Klingberg had to first collaborate with engineers to create the giant roller stamp. It’s a “handmade” cylinder that connects to the area’s normal beach-cleaner tractor that required a custom towing system to be constructed as well. And because of local labor hours, it actually can’t groom the beach at every low tide. Rather, A Sign in Space will “perform” 13 days during a 3-month period.
A Sign in Space is part of the larger international art project, Sense and Sustainability, taking place from July 21 to September 23, 2012, at the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve.