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Single channel, loop, HD video, colour, sound
5 + 1 AP
Nice, the French Riviera, 2012. “Nice the Beautiful” is one of main tourist destinations in France. The construction of vacation and hotel complexes right up against the ocean has considerably altered the landscape in recent decades. David Raffini and Florian Pugnaire observed this transformation of the natural environment and the process of urban exploitation first-hand. Based on this experience they created Under Construction, originally produced for L’Eclat – Pôle Cinéma PACA of the French Riviera.
The film captures the details of the construction of one of these buildings, its evolution and the complications it faced because of its placement next to the coast and below sea level. Simulating the movement of a crane, the camera delves from the exterior into the foul depths of the building. It is a descent into hell —as the artists themselves have defined it— that reveals the foundations of this type of architecture: uncomfortable spaces where discarded objects and seawater mix, a combination that turns it into sewage which must be drained constantly.
The building, a symbol of the problems created by this kind of human interference in the natural environment, is taken by Raffini and Pugnaire as the pretext and context to explore the process of transformation of material. Human creation is first of all matter. By filming the construction elements in different stages of development in the form of objet(s) trouvé(s), they articulate a discourse on the metamorphosis of materials. Their work is carried out by evidencing the mutation process that materials undergo: on the one hand, this process is intentional and taken to an extreme through human intervention; on the other, it comes into being unforeseen and accidentally, through the inherent conditions of the natural world.
Through their presentation of these mutations, the artists beg the question about the future of these industrial objects, a central theme in their later collaborations. We are living in rushed times, in the Anthropocene era. In the video, the acceleration of internal temporalities becomes a metaphor for the effects in geological time, and an ally of ecological discourse.