When Faith Moves Mountains

Francis Alys (in collaboration with Rafael Ortega and Cuauhtémoc Medina)
When faith moves mountains,

Francis Alys

On April 11th 2002, 500 voluntiers were called in order to form a line to move a sand dune situated in the surroundings of the city of Lima. This human comb progressed pushing forward a certain quantity of sand with shovels in order to move the dune from its original position. The actual displacement was of an infinitesimal proportion, but not its metaphorical resonance.

Francis Alys

Maasvlakte 2, Rotterdam, NL (2008 – 2033)


© Michiel van Raaij

New land is being created to extend the port of Rotterdam in The Netherlands. After an international call for tenders the contracting consortium PUMA (Project Uitbreiding Maasvlakte) was contracted to build the first sites. PUMA is a consortium consisting of Koninklijke Boskalis Westminster NV and Van Oord NV, notoriously known for The Palm Islands and The World in Dubia, and will deliver the first sites for the first customers in 2013.
The vital statistics of Maasvlakte 2 provide a picture of the scale of the project. The site will cover a total area of around 2,000 hectares, half of which will be for industrial sites. Division between the main areas of activities includes 630 hectares for container storage and throughput (with a total container handling capacity of 17 million teu annually), 190 hectares for the chemicals industries and 180 hectares for distribution. The infrastructure includes 13 km of roads, 14 km of rail lines and 13 km of quay walls. The construction of the ‘new land’ will require a total of 365m m³ of sand over the whole project period (up to 2033), 240m m³ of which will be for the first phase of construction due to be completed in 2013. There will be 10.8 km of sea defences and the access channel for shipping will be 10 nautical miles long with a depth of up to 20m, a 600m wide port entrance and 700m wide turning basin. The sky is the limit…

Marjolijn Dijkman Maasvlakte2
Virgin Island, 2009
© Marjolijn Dijkman