It is always an interesting opportunity when artists from different disciplines come together to collaborate on an installation. In this case, the concept is a product of the combined efforts of an artist and an architect commenting on waste, the life cycles of objects, and how our waste is treated. The result is the bulbous and shiny Waste Landscape.
Elise Morin (artist) and Clémence Eliard (architect) of SMALL MEDIUM LARGE -SML - design studio, in collaboration with the 104.fr have collected, sorted and hand-sewn 65,000 CDs and turned them into rolling hills of shiny aluminium that command the space of the Centquatre at the Halle d’Aubervilliers in Paris, a building which has been refurbished by atelier Novembre: Marc Iseppi & Jacques Pajot.
The initial impression one gains from the gigantic CD “bubbles” is striking. The space is open and airy, and the natural light reflects off the CDs making the piece seem even bigger than it actually is (500 square meters). The silver round “metallic dunes” seem cumbersome at first, yet as the eye follows the shape of the round installation it becomes appealing, almost beautiful, in comparison to the sharp edges and geometric background of the classic French architecture surrounding the artwork. It is in this juxtaposition where the CDs go from being your everyday inanimate object to abstract pieces of art; the repetition of the small round disks is mesmerizing so one forgets that they are looking at smaller pieces making a larger piece. Rather, this is one large installation; uninterrupted.
As the name would suggest, Waste Landscape was created as a comment on waste; life cycles, the life of objects, different phases of an object and the environment itself. The collaborative team used CDs seeing that this is an object from everyday life that is known to be on its way out of usefulness in our society. Eventually these shiny, once technological marvellous symbols of modernity will be cast away and thrown in with waste – other things that society has used up, spit out and moved on from.
Best explained in the words of the artists themselves, “the project joins a global, innovative, and committed approach, from its means of production until the end of its “life”. Waste Landscape will be displayed in locations coherent with the objectives of the project: art’s role in society, raising consciousness towards environmental problems through culture, alternative modes of production and the valuation of district associative work and professional rehabilitation… Waste Landscape is at the crossroad of contemporary art, landscaping and environmental concerns.”
The artists have even given their installation a life cycle in which it will be exhibited in multiple spaces, built into different formations in each one. As time goes on, the once shiny hills of CDs will be recycled down into polycarbonate, the final step on the artists’ part to convey the concept of “waste” and transformation. Their willingness to allow for the installation to undergo the everyday waste process they are commenting on, seems like a fitting way to end an exhibition period.
Waste Landscape will shine on at the Halle d’Aubervilliers in Paris until the 10th of September, 2011.