Unfolding Absence- L’Ecole du Grand Verger is the product of an artist-architect collaboration. It is a self-contained outdoor mobile installation (240x330x240cm) that aims to serve as a “memory hive”. The artwork is based on an archival material of an old Swiss Girl Boarding School, which presents the school’s activities and infrastructure.
The artwork unrolls on three levels. On the first level the enclosed construction works as a memory box and as an interaction field between spectator and artwork. The content “unfolds” while the viewer opens the “windows” like a school album.
In the inside, a space of shadows is uncovered, that is visible from the outside but impenetrable for the spectator. In the foreground a fragmented classroom is set, haunted by the pupils’ shadows that are captive at their desks. In the background the edited archival images are projected on the wall. The children’s shadows are “inserted” in the photographs in order to inhabit them once again, tempting a mixture between the real and the imaginary.
Finally, the classroom turns inside out as the exterior surfaces convert to a blackboard and the spectator is invited to trace his own gesture on it. Thus, the interior and its external “skin” develop a constant dialogue between the past and the present, the familiar and the unfamiliar, the passive exhibit and the active play.
The construction is designed to be self-contained and mobile, in order to be placed on various sites of the city and to establish a dialectical relation with its surroundings.