Some of us love to plan ahead, while others are fans of flying by the seat of our pants. One German town took planning ahead to an entirely new level, and they’re currently building a monument that won’t be completed until 3183AD!
The monument is being built in the German town of Wemding. The town is about 85 miles north of Munich, and has a population of 5700.
So, how fancy is a monument that won’t be completed for another 1160 years? Not that fancy, actually. Instead, it’s being designed to be built over time by the town’s residents. Here is the New York Times with more details.
They came to see the latest stage in the construction of the “Time Pyramid” (“Zeitpyramide”), a public artwork that Wemding’s citizens are assembling at a rate of one six-by-four-foot block every decade. There are 116 more to add before the “Time Pyramid” will be complete, when it will stand 24 feet tall. That won’t be until 3183 A.D.
The artist Manfred Laber, a Wemding resident who died in 2018, proposed the “Time Pyramid” project in 1993 to mark the 1,200-year anniversary of his town. While he specified the material, dimensions and placing order, he left Wemding’s citizens to decide how it evolves. In 2003, he and town officials established the Wemding Time Pyramid Foundation to manage and fund the artwork beyond his lifetime.
The foundation’s members have respected Laber’s plans so far, but that could change over the next millennium, as social norms, technologies and ideologies change. Perhaps future generations will daub colors or make carvings, for instance — but any predictions would be about as accurate as a Wemding citizen from 793 A.D. trying to imagine the town today.
As absurd as it sounds, I think this is actually a really cool idea. Time capsules were big in the mid-20th century in the USA, and this is a similar idea only over a much longer scale. The sculpture will show how we involve in terms of building materials and how we express art. It’s actually pretty cool. And, while I don’t claim to be an art history expert, I did get two A’s in college, so my opinion has some authority.
Hopefully this long term goes better than some others, like the Sagrada Familiá in Barcelona. The church has been under construction since 1882, but has not yet been finished. It’s expected to be completed in 2026, but I will believe it when I see it.