Pastoral Complex, inaugurated on a beautiful stormy evening, is an architectural project developed by artists Valle Medina and Benjamin Reynolds of Pa.LaC.E at the outcome of their residency at La Becque. The aim of the installation was to recreate a high-altitude walk by reducing the oxygen content of a space. It was an exploration on medical climatology—going to places to feel better—paying particular attention to the curious typological reversibility of the hotel>/<hospital.
To enter a mountain is to participate in elective hypoxia.
“Pastoral Complex” entails the building of a drawing room reproducing the conditions of a single contour line along the nearby sub-alpine peak “Culan” where there is only 14.3% of oxygen available. It is a test-site for gossiping in a suboptimal brain-state, with reduced performative capacity, in a weakened group. The work learns from the short-lived movement in the 19th century of compressed “air-bathing”, echoing the days when urbanites sought “healthful” often alpine environments, particularly those in the vicinity of La Becque.
Pastoral Complex contributes to a preexisting cultural imagination of the Riviera vaudoise concerning “medical climatology”, or the notion of travelling to get well.
A series of interventions derived from an experience walking at high altitude, complete the architectural grammar of the complex.
Project partners: Riri, Hypoxico, Continental (O'Sea), Araldite Huntsman, Velcro, Eve, TEUFELBERGER, Schmitz Textiles Swela and La Porch
Photo credits: ©Yasmina Gonin