A very simple idea. In the geography of our unconscious mind, 'Mongolia' represents eternal mobility, swiftness, lightness, coming-and-going. The indefinite and the undefined. The metaphors and images derived from the vast steppe and its nomadic 'mongols' are endless as well (the hordes, the war machine
that comes out of nowhere and that disappears just as fast.)
The grass gently moves in the perpetual wind that rolls over the never-ending hills.
Mongolia cannot be tamed. It is perpetually wild, we can get no grip on it. It slips out of our hands. These are crucial cliches that inhabit our mind. (It doesn't even matter that it's Mongolia, that's just a metaphor.)
Now add ambiguity. Locate a grassy hill, just pick one, it's not important which one. The one in the picture will do [link].
Build a large, very straight, abstract stair over this hill. A stair from rock-solid, highly polished granite or another blue-silvery stone that can be found locally. Say one step is 100 metres wide and 1 meter deep.
The stair goes up and down the hills, from nowhere to nowhere for a few kilometers on end. An open stair, not a Chinese wall (which is the opposite, defensive, protective, not inviting).
The giant, polished, reflecting stair can be seen from space.
The stair represents a bizarre interstitial space between mobility and stability. It allows you to move, but it is a paced kind of movement. It is a symbol of a kind form of 'culture': taming nature, without destroying it; recognizing its superiority, but still intervening in it to affirm our presence.
It's a monumental piece, but it is gently 'laid' over the hill. It doesn't impose itself like a pyramid or a wall. It is discreet, but monumental.
Note, this has nothing to do with Mongols as people, merely with the symbols that inhabit our minds.
In practise, we will discuss this piece of landscape art with local families, offer them all the proceeds from the publicity and the occasional tourists, and we could build it together as a philosophical experience.
We build a stair. Nothing more.
Walking it would be quite strange, because it has no purpose. You travel through the steppe, only to see more steppe.
This would reinforce our primeval ideas about 'vast spaces'. We cannot grasp such spaces, we need some support to do so, but if we break the vastness with too big a landmark, the experience of the indefinite gets lost. The stair manages these demands well.
(I strictly believe there is some kind of geography and topography at work in our desire and our unconscious mind, 'vastness' is an important category in this context, I think.)