Workshop EASA in collaboration with Julia Widmann, 2019
The roots of word paradise have been traced back in the Old Persian term pairi-daêzã, which can be translated as “walled enclosure”. In accordance with the etymology, Athanasius Kircher in his Topographia Paradisi Terrestris (1675) represents paradise as a surface limited by the presence of four walls, themselves separating two different mediums: the savage exterior environment and the prosperous interior of Eden. The seconds during which Adam and Eve were obliged to cross the walls of their enclosed garden in order to find themselves in the exterior chaotic environment, they experienced a moment in-between the two realities, where the finite, artificial microcosm and the infinite, organic nature coexisted and were both visible during a breathtaking instant. As they turned their heads to take one last glimpse of the Holly Garden they used to enjoy, they perceived the presence of enormous walls, an artificial construction surrounding an abstract island floating on the landscape.
The landscape as perceived by a tourist is equally an artificial reality, a constructed image in which we stroll, trapped inside the four surrounding walls of the controlled market. The concept of tourism is intimately related to time, the time of the year or the time of the day, the time of prosperous development and the time of economical decay. The historical time of the archaeological sites and the limited time of our visit. Time itself implies temporalities of presence and of absence. Absence of values, absence of locals, absence of life during winter or summer, a cycle of suspense and expectation. Absence of control, absence of regulations and absence, finally, when the construction site remains unfinished and naked in all its artificiality, empty of arguments and of life, abandoned to negotiate its value with the relentless landscape.
Acknowledging the artificiality of any thought and looking for pieces of paradise inside the absence, the workshop intents to experiment simply but precisely upon the notions of constructed landscape, temporality, memory, expectation and finally ruin, in order to understand the paradoxical coexistence of Paradis Artificiels. The workshop is structured in 3 acts or phases, each one focusing on a different aspect of constructed landscape.