This temporary project raised a fence that was designed not to repel, but rather to bridge the gap across borders. Conceived by Raven Chacon, Cristóbal Martínez, and Kade L. Twist, artists with indigenous roots who work under the collective name of Postcommodity, the project was funded on Kickstarter, and was eight years in the planning before its installation from October 9 through 12, 2015.

The project consisted of 26 tethered balloons, each 10 feet in diameter and emblazoned with an ancient indigenous icon: the “open eye” (which in more recent years has been appropriated for “scare eye” balloons designed to keep birds off fruit trees). Suspended 50 feet aboveground and spanning a two-mile stretch of desert, the monument sutured the wound dividing the U.S./Mexico border.

Twist described the moment when the last balloon rose as profound. “There we were, totally lost in the spirit of this moment,” the artist told the LA Times, “hoping that this metaphor which brought us all together would help us better understand who we were now, and where we came from, and why we sacrificed so much to be here.”

Jen Dolen is a photographer and is on the editorial team for Public Art Review.

From Public Art Review #54, where this article originally appeared in Projects We Love as “Repellent Fence.”