This wooden bridge by Tadashi Kawamata was installed in October 2009 as a temporary installation for the Evento festival in Bordeaux. The festival was aimed to re-activate urban space in through concerts, perfomances, workshops and debates and it is only fitting that the citizens of Bordeaux pushed for this bridge to become permanent. When I visited Bordeaux for the first time in April 2010, the signs said the bridge would be taken down this summer. Hopefully it stays, because everything about the bridge fits seamlessly into the city fabric: the platform opening onto a panoramic view of the river and boardwalk, the full bridge emerging from the trees–natural of material but controlled in design, the graffiti through which the people claimed the bridge, and therefore art, as their own.

Kawamata tends to work with wooden planks and this isn’t his first bridge. The blurb for Kawamata’s own book, Tadashi Kawamata: Bridge and Archives describes the artist’s bridge in Museum Schloss Moyland (Germany) as “the threshold between functional everyday object and autonomous work of art, between emergence and transience, between the individual and society.” His work often explores questions of urbanism and ultimately the boundary between rationality and chaos that guides the construction of cities. For those in Paris, you can see Kawamata’s children’s workshop in the Pompidou Center, as well as six wooden huts he has constructed on the exterior of the building. While at the Pompidou, also check out the Dreamlands exhibit about the influence of World Fairs and global exhibitions on real cities, looking at New York, Las Vegas, Disneyland and others. Dreamlands is perhaps the best curated museum exhibit I have seen yet, looking at both the physical city and its interpretation in photography and film.

All photos by Michelle Young

Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.