Valle Medina & Benjamin Reynolds (ES/AU, 1984)
Residency period: January-June 2020
To enter a mountain is to participate in elective hypoxia.
Pastoral Complex is a drawing room that simulates the conditions of a single contour line along the nearby sub-alpine peak Le 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. Low oxygen equals delays in ripening of fruit, and here, it is the brain that is affected the most.
The project learns from the short-lived movement in the 19th century of “compressed air-bathing”, echoing the days when urbanites sought “healthful” alpine environments, particularly those around La Becque. Hence, it will contribute to a pre-existing cultural imagination of the Vaud Riviera concerning “medical climatology”, or the notion of health tourism.
Before and along the contour line walk that produces the space, phenomena fell into my lap: they acquired the name Altitudinal Décor (AD) to later become a series of furnishings of the room, e.g.:
AD No. 3: The BrowScraper. A credit card-sized object for quantifying sweat. One edge conforms to the forehead of a traveller along the contour line.
AD No. 4: DiMAGE. A Minolta DiMAGE X (serial No. 55209798) found well-preserved under a rock along the contour. A 32 Mb SD card contains approximately 100 images (between August 2003 and November 2004) by a foreign tourist (name withheld).
AD No. 5: Three Lobsters in a Steering Wheel. Taken from the DiMAGE X found at 2,250m.
Valle Medina, a former Geisendorf grant holder in Architecture at ETHZ, and Benjamin Reynolds, a graduate of the Architectural Association in London, are the joint founders of the Pa.LaC.E studio. Combining various media, their projects stand in space and architecturally serve to develop concepts following an encyclopaedic approach. Their work has been the subject of exhibitions at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the BAK – Basis voor Actuele Kunst in Utrecht and the Centre de Cultura Contemporània in Barcelona.
Project forthcoming in April 2021.