Thursday, December 07, 2006

Great Wall Preservatives

Starting Dec. 1, China will make it officially illegal to “remove bricks or stones from the Great Wall, to drive vehicles along it," to "build houses right up against it," and yes - get this: "to hold all-night rave parties on it." This CS Monitor article has the scoop, and offers a good summation of the current physical state of the Wall and the preservation policy (or lack of) surrounding it today.

[Image: This is a sculpture by artist Colwyn Griffith is part of a series entitled I can't believe it's not Empire. The Great Wall here is reconstructed completely out of rice krispies. 2004.]

Sitting on UNESCO's list of World Cultural Heritage sites since 1987 “there is no single Great Wall" the author writes. Instead, “there are stretches of wall, built at different times to keep out different enemies, and some of them are not 'walls' at all, but rather earthwork mounds or even ditches.” Together – as a kind of replica of the infinitely expanding theoretical global nomadic fortress I am so obsessed with here on this site – the different sections add up to several thousand miles' worth of defenses. Of which "some parts have been designated national treasures.”

From the article:
"Great Wall research is in a state of chaos," adds Dong Yahui, vice president of the Great Wall Society, a group promoting greater care for the wall. "The government still doesn't know how long even the [most recently built] Ming Dynasty wall is, how much is in good condition, or how much has collapsed. There is no central record."

After the collapse in 1644 of the Ming Dynasty the wall fell victim to neglect. China's new rulers came from one of the northern tribes the wall had been built to repel, so they felt no need to maintain it.

Reuters reported that three workers in Inner Mongolia were detained for digging up part of the wall to use as landfill in a local construction project. "It's just a pile of earth," one village leader was quoted as saying, according to the Xinhua news agency. Next week, anyone following their example will risk a fine of up to $62,500.

Anyway - I got to thinking, maybe all border walls should be built using rice krispy treats. They don't rot or really deteriorate, they're super cheap. And if you think about it, they're the ultimate preservative building block.
Those things are infinitely stackable and they last forever!
If you wanted to, you could build almost anything out of them. Though, this would probably open up a whole new era in illegal immigration. You might get masses of descending border-feeders instead of border-crossers, and the borders themselves would probably just be eaten away. What would that say about nation-states, or, say, the border fence and the food chain? Well, I don't know.
Anyway, I'm done with this silliness.


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