The balancing act performance (2010)

The customs of Moillesulaz is a codified, regulated, under surveillance but also a complex and enigmatic crossing point. The Franco-Swiss border is a visible and invisible boundary at the same time, crossed by thousands of persons with every modes of transport, every day. ////////To mark or not to mark this boundary? I conceived this project based on this question and because of the complexity of going through customs. With a modernistic architecture and a large covered courtyard, the customs is an opening in the boundary. But it’s also a check point, an obligatory stop to pass between countries. The line has to be crossed here and nowhere else. The rules that govern the boundary have always been in incessant evolution, fluctuating between opening and closing. The border is an axis of symmetry, both physically and in what it represents. It has a dual-purpose and a double dealing. The border remains imperceptible as much as it is ambiguous and complex. ////////My plan was to execute a performance art. A high-wire artist walked on a tight-wire through the Moillesulaz’s customs structure. The high-wire artist comes and goes at about 9 feet high, playing with the proximity of those who are going through customs. At the same time, those bellow can closely follow each of the artist movement. The artist, with his slow walk contrasts the intense and regular traffic as if to illuminate and create a counterpoint.
“One need only be on a high-wire to recognize how exceptional it is to walk straight.”
During this work I took interest on every idea and image that are represented by the high-wire artist. From a teleological point of view, a high-wire artist doesn’t make any sense and could appear absurd. But he can also reveal the impressive robustness of our life and its vulnerability, the balance and the fragility. ////////Creating a tension between this place and its users, I wished this performance to surprise, provoke a wonder and question them about their daily routine, during what had become an ordinary border crossing. ////////This work is about rhythm and movement, balance and imbalance. It draws the path of this invisible but real line separating Gaillard from Geneva, France from Switzerland. The boundary generates surveillance, control and people’s differences. Through the high-wire artist’s image, it’s all the complexity of crossing this place that is brought up.

 

Performance with the cooperation of the high-wire artist, Solen Briand and his team.
Installation of a wire at 9 feet high between two concrete blocks.
A 5 min walk along the wire executed about fifteen times a day.
Installation at that place during 24 hours.