Corners of modernity
Expositions et conférences
proposé par l'association Corridor

Trois groupes d’architectes sont appelés à penser une transformation fantasmée de l’édicule. A travers un dessin et un fragment construit ils proposent une nouvelle perception de l’édicule et invitent plus largement à repenser l’héritage de la modernité.

Part III
Emi Architekten

Circuit, Emi Architekten, 2021.
Photos Roland Bernath.

Switzerland produces about 80 to 90 million tonnes of waste each year. Most of it consists of uncontaminated excavated and deconstruction materials. Because of its high standard of living, Switzerland has one of the highest municipal solid waste volumes in the world, at 716 kg of waste per person per year. Nearly 53% of it is recycled. (Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland) Waste is a product of modernity. In pre-industrial times, when raw materials were expensive and manual labour cheap, there was hardly any domestic or construction waste thanks to well-functioning recycling. It was not until industrialization, the belief in a constantly growing economy and the mass consumer society that the mountains of waste rose to such an extent that their disposal had to be professionally organized. The volume of waste is directly linked to our prosperity. This is because the more we consume, the more waste is generated. The environmental impact is substantial. Nevertheless, waste is still not part of our living environment. It is burned or dumped as invisibly as possible. Waste is pushed out of our consciousness. We still live the ideal of modernity: an ideal of apparent purity and perfection, a life without time and transience, a world where culture and nature are separate spheres and history is without a past but promises a promising destination. At the same time, we are confronted with very different kinds of waste: organic and inorganic, degradable and nondegradable, harmful and harmless. Waste has long been part of our environment. We absorb it through our food so that it has even become part of ourselves. An interesting phenomenon in these cycles concerns composting. Compost transforms biological waste into humus and thus describes a process of recycling that is already practised today on a large scale. Besides oxygen and water, microorganisms are responsible for the composting process: heterotrophic bacteria, actinomycetes, fungi, protozoa, snails, isopods, beetles and worms. Humus formation also binds a significant amount of CO2  from the air. Donna Haraway writes: We are humus, not homo, not anthropos; we are compost, not posthuman. She uses the term compost as a metaphor to tell the story of the planet coming after humans. She refers to posthumus, rather than posthumanism, suggesting the need to relate to the earth‘s soils: It matters what compostables make compost. Our installation addresses waste, decline, and death. It pleads for an imaginary world of cycles, where waste grows and becomes something new, which again passes away. The spatial still life comprises organic and inorganic material and asks what future connections can be made from natural materials and cultural artefacts.

Part II


Bath, Piovenfabi, 2021.

With a minimal effort, the bus stop realised in 1964 for the Expo Suisse is transformed into a steam bath open to the public. The transformation is possible thanks to few key elements: a shower, two coat hangers, a gardening water pipe, a steam machine and a couple of seats we designed. Max Billy stools are the filiation among Max Bill’s Ulmer Hocker (1954) and Ikea Billy. Modernity turns into contemporaneity.

Modern Grotto, Sub architects, 2021.

En empruntant à la tradition du polyptyque ­­– du retable d'église aux rearrangeable panels d’Allan Kaprow – le fragment disposé dans l'espace du pavillon met en scène, tel un mockup architectural, la transformation fantasmée du pavillon en grotte. Bitume, carrelage et métal se couvrent alors d'une multitude de coquilles sombres, orangés ou nacrés qui nous projettent dans l'univers pittoresque et rugueux de ces édicules fantasques. Du béton coulé à la rocaille, du poteau mince à la caryatide, des toilettes publiques à la fontaine d'agrément : un jeu de correspondances et de déplacements syntaxiques vient reconstruire la vision des «antres sauvages» à partir du langage architectural moderne. Dans cette hallucination paysagère, la grotte de Maladière dérègle alors notre compréhension de la modernité initiale du pavillon: qui est l'archaïsme de l'autre?

Modern Grotto, Installation, Panneaux bois et coquillages, Sub architects, 2021