“The city of Paris will start removing padlocks from the Pont des Arts on Monday, effectively ending the tourist tradition of attaching ‘love locks’ to the bridge. For years, visitors have been attaching locks with sentimental messages to the bridge in symbolic acts of affection. Some further seal the deal by throwing keys into the Seine River below. It was considered charming at first, but the thrill wore off as sections of fencing on the Pont des Arts crumbled under the locks’ weight. The bridge carries more than 700,000 locks with an estimated combined weight roughly the same as 20 elephants.”
Graffiti, tombstones, love locks, monuments…each of these are manifestations of people’s desire to have some tangible impact on the landscape. Something that manifests a connection to place in a profoundly personal way.
Questions to Ponder: Why do people want leave a mark on places that are meaningful to them? When do you think that they that these markers are appropriate or inappropriate? Do we have more of a ‘right’ to mark some places than others? Why do many oppose these personal marks on the landscape?