School of Engineering, Fribourg (CH) 1996 Click on images to display
The constant deepening of the ditch separating humans from nature is a predominant characteristic of our time. A real consciousness of this dangerous 'divorce' is our only guaranty of the possible respect for a natural balance. In a school dedicated to the study of new technologies and their applications, a reminder of this consciousness would invite the user to look differently at the site and its function.
'Exploding Grail' invites nature to spontaneously manifest itself on a site which expresses its antagonism, the same way that, with determination, it regains its rights, growing between the cobblestones of cities, in the temples of Angkor, on the slag heaps of the North of France or in any place escaping, for a while, from human attention.
The facade of the laboratories building present itself as a grid like giant bookshelves (150m). Its 'cells' will be used to display objects.
One of the first advanced human technologies, pottery, allowed people to escape from the vital proximity of water springs or rivers. On this building, in which advanced technologies of today are taught and experimented, the use of pots as vocabulary seems quite relevant, their presence as quotations of this early technique, project us in the future, considering that our own traces will provide material to the archeology of the 'pasts to come'.
The shapes of the 'pots' are borrowed from objects found in archeological sites all around the world, and reflect early expressions of different cultures. Their replicas, made of concrete, are displayed on the shelves in an order determined by the place of the notes on the staves (which the facade also evokes) of musical phrases from Olivier Messiaen's 'Bird's Songs'
Each element is filled with soil sent from countries corresponding to the origins of the 'pots' (people from technical schools, archeological or scientific sites, in different countries, are contacted in order to participate to the work). The soil is kept wet by the means of a discreet watering system (micro irrigation).
Carried by the wind, birds or already present in the soil, seeds will provide a heterogeneous expression of global nature, invited to live and prosper in a place dedicated to technical purposes.