“Face au vide” is a hands-on concept that offers a unique experience: a leap into the void.
To get to this final stage, on scaffolding rising five metres above the ground, Paf atelier and Yoann Bourgeois have devised an ascent route whereby visitors climb to the top of the metal structure via a number of staircases. As they make their way through the installation, a voice-over poses questions, encouraging existential reflection. Neon lights partially illuminate the dark, smoke-filled space. The atmosphere created disrupts the visitor’s vision, so that they become physically and emotionally involved in this vertiginous, solitary ascent. Punctuated by right-angled bends, the disjointed path is anything but meandering. There are many twists and turns, but only one way forward. To get back down, there’s just one option: to throw yourself into the void.
At the very top, the name of the installation takes on its full meaning. When you face a void, you have to take a risk.
The landing area at the bottom of the scaffolding is safe, but you don’t notice that at the top, where the neon lights and smoke divert your attention.
Immortalizing the fall
A camera set up at the top captures the visitor’s facial expression at that critical moment, just before the fall.
Traditionally purely utilitarian, the studio uses scaffolding for its practical qualities, but also for its aesthetic appeal.
Une installation ingénieuse
This prefabricated unit is as easy to assemble as it is to take apart. It adapts to the ephemeral format of the installation, as well as to the studio’s philosophy of re-using materials in its projects. The metal scaffolding creates a cold, creaky atmosphere that adds to the experience. The visual effect produced by the tangle of a hundred or so cylindrical tubes can be seen as a formal translation of the labyrinth through which the visitor moves.