How do you build structures so they don’t collapse, even under the worst imaginable conditions? A former engineer reconsiders this question. He journeys to the quiet Bavarian town of Hassfurt, when he searches in vain for a remarkable bridge built there during the 1860s. His travels then lead him to La Défense in Paris, where an ingenious structure holds a gigantic fabric cloud aloft. In La Villette he discovers the source of of a building’s delicate balance: the glass holds the steel cables, while steel in turn holds the glass.
All of these ambitious structures contain the promise of a utopian future through their ability to balance immense and opposing forces. This roving travelogue forges unexpected connections with the tensions surrounding the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) protests in Paris by reframing the question: How should we look at the structures of social forces emerging in a Europe on the brink of fracture and change?