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Action Art Actuel, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, 2015

“As part of a residency, AAA became Rosalie D. Gagné’s laboratory. More than a month of site-specific work allowed her to develop Turbulences, an immersive installation that takes the form of a three-part journey.”

— Marie-Hébert, AAA

Developed as part of a residency at Action Art Actuel, Turbulences is an immersive installation offering a three-part journey. Building on previous project explorations, this installation freely draws inspiration from reactive architecture, an artistic movement that delves into the interactions between natural and artificial systems. Biomimicry, the emulation of biological functions, behaviors, and life processes through digital simulation, remains a predominant model for designing such environments.

Upon entering the gallery, visitors encounter translucent partitions that redefine the space, forming a vestibule. As they approach, these partitions come to life with an expanding and contracting motion, reminiscent of breathing. Moving through this space, they then encounter a network of branches giving the impression of a forest reacting to their presence and touch. Ultimately, a sculptural element resembling the workings of a water clock marks the end of the journey.

Between breathing walls and hypersensitive tree branches, the installation, although made up of plastic films and electromechanically animated branches, exhibits decidedly organic qualities. These material contradictions evoke Freud’s concept of the uncanny, which can be summarized as “doubts whether an apparently animate being is really alive; or conversely, whether a lifeless object might not be in fact animate” [1].

[1] Sigmund Freud, “The ‘Uncanny’”, in Complete Psychological Works, Vol. XVII, London, Hogarth Press.

Polyethylene, fans, microcontroller, conductive adhesive tape, vibrating motors, blown glass, metal, white water, textile, wood, and apple tree branches.

Electronic design and coding: Samuel St-Aubin
Photos: Michel Dubreuil