Nazi Bunkers Inspire An Entropic Audiovisual Collage

Recently opened in London (yesterday, in fact) at Past Vyner Street is Breaking Points by the British artist Thomas Lock—a collaboration with Hellicar & Lewis, who did the programming, and experimental musician Scanner (Robin Rimbaud), who did the sound design.

The project takes as its subject the Atlantic Wall, the coastal fortifications built by the Nazis on the coast of northern France, and specifically the book Bunker Archaeology by French cultural theorist Paul Virilio, in which he discusses our aesthetic compulsion towards the buildings’ damaged beauty. The installation features a film collage of images and sound, both taken from the area occupied by these desolate bunkers. The area appears to be filled with monochrome grey as the dull hues of the bunkers merge with the overcast cloud cover and the muted colors of the sea and landscape. The field recordings and photographs were then altered to “reflect upon the entropic system that the bunkers and their surrounding landscape exist within.”

The work breaks down and randomly reconstructs this compelling, but barren and spectral, landscape, displaying an image at a time from the hundreds taken. A successive image flickers into view, overlaying the previous one before it disappears, decaying into the new photograph. Sometimes these changes are caused by the looped sound that accompanies it, changing the installation in real-time, as the film incidentally plays on endlessly. If you want to find out more, you can read an interview with the curator of the exhibition, Lucile Dupraz, and also Thomas Lock—who talks about how he came to collaborate with open source designers Hellicar & Lewis—over at design community Jotta’s blog.