|2007 The Quiet Beach|
- 2007 France, Montpellier: Ecole Superieure des Beaux Arts
- Didier Malgor [school director]
- Luc Jennepin [photographer]
- B.Y. Architecture and Design [architecture and plans]
- Ecole Superieure des Beaux Arts de Montpellier [financial support]
- Ecole Superieure des Beaux Arts de Montpellier [technical support]
- Sarel Digital Images [3D modelization]
2007 The Quiet Beach
For years, the idea of the sea shore had haunted me as a site of passage, transformation, experimentation. On the sea shore of Haifa, a seaport, an emblem of migration, one can see light wooden structures, posed on stilts, facing the sea: the lifeguards’ booths. I asked myself what would happen if these booths were displaced from Haifa and the context of the Middle East, to Montpellier. The ambience I wanted to create in the gallery space of the Beaux Arts was one of rescue, surveillance and discipline – all notions linked to the very structure of the lifeguards’ booth as well as to my own experience of migration. Beside this specific content, the installation aimed to emphasise the notion of “displacement of emergency information,” by reflecting on the interface between communication and action, a zone where collective and individual, particular and general, local and global can be articulated and generate effect.
The structure of the booth was transformed into a conceptual apparatus: a panopticon that looked out over a 360 degree radius and diffused information about the emergency situation of the Middle East via its attributes such as life-buoy, binoculars, wooden fence, loudspeakers, rescue boat, and ropes. The objects typical of a sea shore, displaced from their original context, function as images of departure, arrival, and surveillance/rescue. Besides the booth, the installation included audio-visual elements. A video art based on documentation of the original seashore in Haifa was projected from the ceiling onto the floor of the gallery and the threatening voice of the lifeguard (speaking Hebrew) was heard throughout the gallery space. An old doll was placed seemingly arbitrarily on the gallery floor, on the waterline between the sand and the sea represented a formative event in my life. It referred to the doll my uncle and aunt from Paris had given to me when they welcomed us in Marseilles upon our arrival from Alexandria. The spectators could lend their own meaning to each object as they wished. For instance, many visitors mistook the lifeguard’s voice coming out of the loudspeaker for that of a muezzin. At the exit each visitor received as a gift, a CD containing a photograph of the original lifeguard’s booth which inspired the work. On the disk he would see the image of the artist in slowly coming into focus and then re-blurring into the digital “sea”. This was an animation image suggesting various interpretations of the installation.