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36 | The biospheric bench


10.05.2018 - 24.06.2018

pictures by Filip Dujardin

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Bas Smets & Le Roux | The biospheric bench

The research for the design of an outdoor bench becomes the opportunity for Bas Smets and Eliane Le Roux to explore the biospheric processes between planetary life and solar energy. Living matter uses the latter to produce ever more organic material. Most of this former life gets deposited and compacted into sedimentary rocks.

The ‘biospheric bench’ is composed of carefully selected stones, former life petrified and former rocks metamorphosed. Cut to an elementary triangular shape, these stones are tied together by two elastic bands while kept apart by three star-shaped printed ele- ments, both derivates from fossil fuels.
Thirteen stones form a basic module. Different modules are combined to create com- plex figures, resembling a crystalline structure. Much like soil samples, the stacked pieces of the bench tell a prehistoric story of living matter transformed into solid mate- rial, as a compression in time and space of biospheric processes.

The bench is presented in a specific setting that transforms the main space of the Gallery Valerie Traan into the understory of a sub-tropical forest, revealing the climatic conditions of the shaded, enclosed space. A soundscape from NASA evokes interplan- etary travels, while an olfactive experience recalls the pristine rainforest. In an adjacent room, objects and photographs illustrate the ongoing research project.

On the mezzanine level a documentary is shown about Biosphere II, relating the story of the largest closed system laboratory built to better understand the relationship between the 5 main biomes of our world.

The documentary, the research project and the bench are part of the same exploration into the relationship between life and materiality.

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