Starting from the idea of providing an “epic response, at once futile and heroic, absurd and urgent” to the bad Peruvian economic situation, Francis Alÿs asked 500 volunteers to dig and move the sand of an almost 200 meters wide dune in Ventanilla, an area near Lima, where nearly seventy thousand people are living in huts. The purpose of the action is to move the dune by approximately ten centimetres from its original position, forming a long line at its foot and using only shovels.
As Alÿs often puts it, his intention was to create a “social allegory”. The coral act of these people is a metaphor for the potentialities of a participative action taking on even mythical and religious features in its confronting the monumentality of nature, altered by human intervention. The greatness and the spectacularity of the project testifies how people when united can achieve things that would be unthinkable and impossible for the single individual, letting the power of collectivity emerge. (via)