Both a sculpture and a virtual reality experience, N2-Observatory questions the integration and impact of digital and infrastructural technologies on the natural landscape.
After having been exhibited for the first time on the summit of the Schlüchtli (2283m) as part of Art Safiental in 2020 - under the name of N1-Obervatory - it has been specially adapted for Bex Art 2023.
Made of galvanised steel, photovoltaic panels and mylar, the installation is a contemporary replica of the iconic pyramids that stand on several Swiss mountain peaks. Once used as landmarks to measure geographical and topographical coordinates, they now have only a symbolic presence.
N2-Observatory seems to give them a functional perspective by metaphorically raising the importance of heights for communication technologies.
Indeed, the work acts as an augmented observatory and reveals a digital, fragmented and abstract reinterpretation of the surrounding landscape through the lenses of a virtual reality headset. By having visitors wear a headset that alters the visual reality of Bex Art's beautiful natural park, Fragmentin expressly brings an absurd aspect to the piece.
Some of its aesthetic features are also borrowed from a lunar module.
An audio narration, in the form of a poetic-technical slam, accompanies the virtual experience which intensifies over the minutes to underline the accumulation of network infrastructures and electromagnetic fields present in the Chablais region. Thus, the waves, initially invisible, take shape before the eyes of the visitors, allowing them to guess their directions, their intensities, their frequencies as well as the location of the antennas that generate them. This visualisation addresses a more controversial subject: the multiplication of network infrastructures (in particular 5G networks) used for our daily digital communication.
Intrigued by both the functioning and the visual appeal of digital mapping of this radio wave network, the work seeks to draw attention to these often overlooked systems. However, could the rapid proliferation of these infrastructures lead our ecosystem to saturation?
Fondation Vaudoise pour la Culture
Swiss Cultural Fund UK
Art Foundation Pax
Canton de Vaud
Ville de Lausanne
Ville de Renens
Migros pourcent culturel
Arts at CERN
Hospitalité artistique de Saint-François
Swiss Alpine Club SAC