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'ARCHIFOSSIL' by Tarik Hayward at Cima Norma Art Festival

Tarik Hayward’s personal exhibition for the second edition of the Cima Norma art festival is based on the notion of archifossil developed by Quentin Meillassoux and on a com- parison with the history and architectural spaces of the former chocolate factory where the exhibition takes place. With the term archifossil, the French philosopher defines the materials which indicate the existence of a reality or an ancestral event, that is to say, which precedes the presence of life on earth. And indeed, the strange structures that occupy the large spaces of the Foundation on the ground floor and the first floor resem- ble huge prehistoric insects, with thick, wrinkled skin similar to that of an elephant, which have emerged from the ground. In reality, these sculptures were made by spraying 25 tons of concrete on ordinary camping tents, through a very time-consuming process involving many thin layers to prevent the structure from imploding under the weight of the matter. A constructive principle that echoes the procedure developed in the years of post-war reconstruction to build inexpensive houses by the American architect Wallace Neff and from which his famous bubble houses are derived. 

The ephemeral and fragile structures of the tents, a primordial architectural gesture of a still nomadic humanity, are thus overturned into perennial structures, transforming what could be a tourist or refugee camp into a sort of contemporary Pompeii, not submerged by lava but by a material emblematic of industrial capitalist modernity: portland cement. In the room on the first floor, the Archifossil sculptures are intertwined with another work, in this case, a sound installation produced in collaboration with Ariel Garcia, entitled Time Warp. The sound waves which, through audio exciters, make the window panes of the architectural space vibrate at irregular intervals, were created by slowing down re- cordings of birdsongs, thus resembling very low pitched monstrous roars. These sounds, which, like any recording, bear witness to a past moment, produce, and are superim- posed on, another sound, that of the present vibration of the architecture, in a kind of polyphony determined by the different dimensions and the degree of stability of the old windows. 

Through the temporal distortion of this sound encounter, the “ruins” of the old chocolate factory come back to tell us about this “pure” time, this time of nature which is located beyond the chronology of historical time mentioned by Marc Augé.
Finally, still on the first floor, there is another intervention by the artist, who applied red gelatin on the lamps that light up the small chocolate museum inside the spaces of the Foundation. A minimal intervention that bathes the whole room and what it contains in a gloomy red light, reminding us how the history of the chocolate industry is also the his- tory of European colonialism and its exploitation within the framework of a model, that of capitalism, which finds its origin in the primary accumulation of resources violently taken from nature.

14.8.21 — 3.10.21

Cima Norma Art Festival

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