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Dérive (washitsu)

The installation is drawn from the layout of Japanese traditional rooms (washitsu) and consists of eight 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…).

The square pattern should give the best feeling of stability but it fixes the frame for a continuous drift. Made up of conveyor belts, it forms a sliding ground, shifting at slow, steady speed. The conveyors’ directions schematically condense the ocean floor’s expansion and subduction patterns, their edges becoming its rift, trenches, and transform faults. The borders and interstices between units, on which we should avoid stepping according to the custom, figures then the hazard-prone areas. The visitor is invited to picture himself on this unstable thought hypnotizing platform.

While 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 threaten 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. The French term 'Dérive' evokes the marine currents, or the continental drift; it is also used when a situation get out of control.

The blue cover of the conveyor belts evokes the water, the food industry where they are used and the tatami of judo or karate where one searches for his balance. The installation will be framed by a railing like the safety guards around the earthquakes simulators in the training centers where stands generally a western style domestic interior with carpet, table and chairs.

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