Grands Travaux Urbains was the name of the construction company my father worked for.
With this project, I am looking at the metabolism of the cities and most especially its building sites.
"The land was untouched, calm and busy at once, unconcerned, when the dumper arrived, followed by tiltrotators, concrete pumps and cranes. Or perhaps it had already been shaped by human design when the bulldozers made their way through. In any case, the earth was turned, a mechanical ballet put in place to alter the nature of things. The building site ballet tells of things that were and things to come. For building sites are transitory spaces, in between time, but also forms. ‘Nature’, landscapes, pristine or hybrid, are shaped in the process of constructing. Our aim is to explore the way textures are literally and metaphorically stirred in a building site, and to explore the way it brings disorder upon the land to implement new orderings. Just as the model of the architect is not a mere reduction, a lesser entity than the building to come, but a matrix that contains the future to be, the building site speaks to the process of reality coming into form. We will look into the objects of the construction site, whose values rest largely into their function, despite their resilient aesthetic, and enquire upon their status in between the practical and the sculptural. We will consider the beings living onto a ground temporarily transformed into a wasteland, its particular ecosystem at the edge of civilization – where civilization comes into action, and being, but whose representative do no dwell in. And we will pay particular attention to the archeology of the building site, a place associated with archeologic exploration itself, as well as often constrained into per chance archeologic minutiae; yet whose own formation has much to say of our societies visions, desires, and muted mechanics. The building site, hidden behind tarpaulin and temporary walls, ultimately disappearing behind erected structures, offers a privileged entry into the unconscious forces of urban positivism. In The statuary gardens (1982), Jacques Abeille describes the visit of a traveller into the country of statuary gardens. There, the land secretes anthropomorphic statues, which are looked after by gardeners, from embryonic nascent shoots to full bloom. Similarly, the research project on ‘Baustelle und Botanik’ will aim to walk into the statuary gardens of our building sites, to glimpse the roots of our urban metabolic pulse."