Latest in the series of mesmerising installations by ART+COM is À la recherche, a site specific installation that covers the surrounding walls of a newly refurbished legendary Les Bains nightclub in scattered points of reflected light from which the words “Re Trouve Le Temps Perdu” are composed over and over again.
These words can be understood as “The lost times are found” (Le Temps Perdu Retrouve) or “Find the lost times” (Retrouve Le Temps Perdu) depending on where the viewer starts reading. The words are a reference to the legendary past of the space as Les Bains nightclub and ties into Marcel Proust’s magnum opus “À la recherche du temps perdu” (In Search of Lost Time), in which involuntary memories triggered by everyday activities, objects and sensations is the recurring motif.
The Installation was created for a room that served as a water tank for the spa in the 19th and early 20th century. At approximately twenty square meters, the floor area is not large, but the ceiling is 15 meters high. From a height of about two meters the walls have been left unrenovated – there, the sculpture rotates slowly above the heads of visitors, throwing reflections onto the rough walls.
The orientation and distribution of the mirror facets were computationally designed. The sculpture is made up of a sphere in 33 fragments, to which a total of 2800 small, square mirrors are attached. The mirror facets sit separately on printed holders and then glued on by hand. The mirror elements that reflect the words are attached to flexible joints and individually aligned based on the computationally defined angle.
There is a single spotlight on the wall and the mirrors on five segments of the exploded disco ball are aligned and oriented the way that each of that segments reflect a word on the the wall. On the other 28 segments the team have attached mirrors as we know them from the ordinary disco balls.
First approach was to calculate the position and orientation of each little mirror to reflect a pixel of the word on the wall. With this data the team made a 3D printed grid and glued it on the ball-segment. On the grid the mirrors were then manually glued. The team then used the computed position of the mirrors, printed single joints on which we glued the mirrors and then oriented the angles manually.