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Dérive (washitsu)

The installation is drawn from the layout of Japanese traditional rooms and consists of twelve mats the size of one jō (measure of a tatami) interlocked in a frame. The layout of a tatami room and the tatami’s weight give an impression of stability: they interlock and set the space. But they are juxtaposed units which remind of the models of the plate tectonics, cause of tensions and of the instability of the earth’s landscapes (seisms, volcanic eruptions, tsunami, landslides…).

Made up of conveyor belts, it forms a sliding ground, continually shifting at slow, steady speed. The conveyors’ directions follow the ocean floor’s expansion and contraction pattern, their edges forming its rift, trenches, and transform faults. The borders and interstices of each unit, on which we should avoid steeping according to the custom, figures then the hazard-prone areas. The layout, slightly unusual for a washitsu, seems stretched.

Though the image of the conveyor belt is often used to describe the seafloor spreading, the ‘ocean conveyor belt’ refers to the thermohaline circulation. Its slowdown or interruption that could result from climate change would threatened many species with extinction, starting with fishes. The conveyor belts draw our attention on our modernity, on our over-consumption and the potential depletion of fish stocks. They carry, weigh, scan and cut fishes, and dispatch them up to the check-out conveyors or sushi restaurants.

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