School of Engineering, Geneva 1988 – Click on images to display
The aim of this piece is to keep ever-present in the mind of those involved with the school (teachers as well as students) a consciousness of the forces that unite – but more frequently oppose – ‘technological man’ with nature.Engineer: René Béguin, Geneva
Nature is represented by a garden. A tree lives in it – evidence of climatic and seasonal rhythms; it grows, comes into buds, is covered with leaves, then sheds them according to its own particular cycle.
The garden is heavy and perception of this weightiness is important. The spectator must become aware of how little strength is required to move it. This is made possible by the recourse of technical means: a series of reduction ratio boxes located in one of the columns of the technical component of the sculpture. The strength of just one hand turning the crank is sufficient to move, on four rails, tons of tree, wet soil and metal of which the garden is composed.This movement sets the garden above an empty drop which belongs to the architecture of the building, allowing light to fill sports halls located in the basement. The drop also belongs to the sculpture, presenting an image of the danger with which nature, at any moment, could be threatened. This conjunction creates a close relationship between the piece and its surroundings.
Here the user is more than a simple spectator. Via the active role he is called upon to play, he becomes an integral part of the work. So, from time to time, one may see a group of students who, while one of them turns the crank, are picnicking in the shade of a tree in a moving garden.
Open to the street on one side, the courtyard is freely and easily accessible to people outside the School of Engineering.