5,000 Arms to Hold You: Climbers Mike and Doug Starn’s Largest Bamboo Construction Ever at the Israel Museum

Photo by Eli Posner, Israel Museum

Towering 52 feet (16 meters) into the air, 5,000 Arms to Hold You is the latest bamboo installation by artists Doug and Mike Starn at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. This is the 9th construction in twin brother’s Big Bambú series that seeks to explore how order is created from the chaos of life through elaborate bamboo sculptures. For this new piece the duo worked with a team of mountain climbers to help assemble the precarious form using over 10,000 bamboo poles over a month-long period. It is the largest and most complex sculptural installation they have ever undertaken.

“The concept of Big Bambú has nothing to do with bamboo,” Mike Starn tells the Israel Museum. “Big Bambú represents the invisible architecture of life and living things. It is the random interdependence of moments, trajectories intersecting, and actions becoming interaction, creating growth and change.”

“It is philosophic engineering, a demonstration of chaotic interdependence,” adds Doug.

5,000 Arms to Hold You opened to the public on June 16th, and visitors are invited to explore the interactive maze from all angles, including the opportunity to ascend to the very top. You can learn more on the project’s dedicated website, and see many more bamboo installations by the Starn brothers here.


Photo by Eli Posner, Israel Museum



Photos by Eli Posner, Israel Museum





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