Self-effacement for enhanced contemplation

The “musing” envisaged by Diller Scofidio + Renfro forces the spectator into the installation, stretched out beneath a suspended ceiling like a mechanic on a trolley-jack under a car.

View of the exhibition “Musings on a Glass Box”, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris. Photo © Luc Boegly
Conceived 30 years ago by the architect Jean Nouvel, the building for the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain offers its glass box to guest artists, who in return feel inspired to dialogue with the the building’s architecture.
View of the exhibition “Musings on a Glass Box”, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris. Photo © Luc Boegly
View of the exhibition “Musings on a Glass Box”, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris. Photo © Luc Boegly
In creating “Musings on a glass box” the architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro did not depart from the rules but transcended them, widening their reflection through the combined eyes of a composer, David Lang, and a sound designer, Jody Elff. Thus, with the aid of a robotics wizard, Marty Chafkin, they created innovative expressions for the occasion..
View of the exhibition “Musings on a Glass Box”, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris. Photo © Luc Boegly
View of the exhibition “Musings on a Glass Box”, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris. Photo © Luc Boegly
The architects, renowned for oscillating between research, technology and design, found this place ideally suited to experiments in stretching the limits of relations with space, its perception, real-life experience and self-representation.
The first thing that hits the eye is a constructive void, that of the original space. In homage to the building’s architecture, the installation’s creators remain deliberately minimalist, boosting the visitor’s appreciation of the garden through a play of alternately transparent and opaque glazed walls.
View of the exhibition “Musings on a Glass Box”, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris. Photo © Luc Boegly
View of the exhibition “Musings on a Glass Box”, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris. Photo © Luc Boegly

The peaceful scene is perturbed by the regular rhythm of drops of water, which by remote control produce a sequence of sound effects and videos in real time.

From one room to the next, and starting from an anodyne fact, the installation springs from its permanent amplification, revealed through curious visual and acoustic experiments.

View of the exhibition “Musings on a Glass Box”, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris. Photo © Luc Boegly
View of the exhibition “Musings on a Glass Box”, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris. Photo © Luc Boegly
The “musing” envisaged by its creators directly involves the spectator who is forced into the installation, stretched out beneath a suspended ceiling like a mechanic on a trolley-jack under a car. Composed of micro-perforated metal screens with no traditional reference, the ceiling vibrates with luminous waves that induce reflection and dreams.
View of the exhibition “Musings on a Glass Box”, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris. Photo © Luc Boegly
View of the exhibition “Musings on a Glass Box”, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris. Photo © Luc Boegly
Thus a new dialogue is established through a full immersion in the work. “In our work, architecture is often invisible and atmospheres are used to take us out of our sleepwalking state.” [1]
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Note
:
1. Interview with Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio by Edward Dimendberg, 21 September 2014, New York.

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