Collaboration with anthropologist Germain Meulemans

IS PARIS FLOATING?, 2019
Video installation, HDV, Col, multichannel


The installation Is Paris floating? proposes a dive underneath the ground of Paris.
In a historic landmark of medieval Paris, water stubbornly seeps in between the paving stones. A dowser tries to unveil the mystery by searching for a spring, and hears the story of an underground river, only to be swallowed by the ground. From a promontory evoking an altar, an open slab offers a view into the depths of the ground. Following the journey of the character, the visitor is sucked under the Musée des Arts et Métiers up to the "sources of the North" in Belleville, which once supplied in water the priory where is located the museum. Through this immersive filmic installation, the visitor comes to experience Paris as a lacustrian city built on piles.


View from the installation, Three facing projections, Musée des Arts et Métiers, Paris


View from the installation, Musée des Arts et Métiers, Paris


View from the installation, Inverted periscope projection, Musée des Arts et Métiers, Paris


Vue de la vidéo, Paris flotte-t-il? Screen 1


Vue de la vidéo, Paris flotte-t-il? Screen 2


Vue de la vidéo, Paris flotte-t-il? Screen 1


Vue de la vidéo, Paris flotte-t-il? Screen 3


Vue de la vidéo, Paris flotte-t-il? Screen 2


Vue de la vidéo, Paris flotte-t-il? Screen 2

This piece was first exhibited as a site specific installation developped for the Tour Chapelle, Musée des Arts et Métiers, Paris. The installation is accompanied by soundscape by Floriane Pochon.

At the intersection of art and anthropology, this installation was conceived on the basis of fieldwork conducted under Paris.
During a residency of three month at Musée des Arts et Métiers the artist and anthropologist questioned the apparent ‘solidity’ of soils in the city of Paris. They climbed down the well located under the forecourt of the museum, and slide into the basements built under the water table, where pumping stations constantly pump out excess water. Following traces of the hypothetical existence of underground streams which irrigate the Arts et Métiers district, they ventured into the underground passages and carreys of Paris, meeting the workers who maintain and consolidate the foundations of the city. They also met researchers, specialists in geotechnics – an ‘invisible’ discipline without which there would be no tall constructions at the surface. Their journey ended on the heights of Belleville, in the aqueducts that provided water to the priory.

The research process is presented in Paris flotte-t-il?, a publication with an unpublished text by anthropologist Tim Ingold. Design by Eva Dalg. Open access edition




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