Monumental Suspension. Art, Infrastructure, and Eduardo Chillida’s Unbuilt Monument to Tolerance

Social Analysis, Vol. 64, 3, Autumn 2020, 26–47.

 

More than 25 years after it was unveiled, Eduardo Chillida’s Monument to Tolerance has been neither built nor abandoned—it is, rather, suspended. From the outset, the project, which consists in digging a vast cubic cave inside the mountain of Tindaya (Fuerteventura, Canary Islands), has faced the opposition of environmental activists, who argue that it is incompatible with the mountain’s status as a protected site.

Drawing from anthropological approaches to infrastructure and art, this article unpacks the Monument’s actual existence as an unrealized project that has been partly actualized through anticipatory practices such as exhibitions and economic aspirations. The article contributes to the theorization of suspension by combining a focus on the temporal multiplicity of anticipation with an attention to the materiality of unbuilt entities.