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Being(s) Boundaries

Rémi Koumakpayi, Markhly Delva Estelle Contant & Youssef Safi Laimeche

What are the limiting factors of our perception of space? Being(s) Boundaries concerns itself not with physical tangible obstacles like walls nor even with environmental parameters such as light and noise. Instead, it investigates something much less static: all of us. Space is not only limited and regulated by static elements, but by dynamic ones as well. What if yourself and other people acted as boundaries in each other’s perception of space and overall life experience? Our physical forms, the noise we produce, our smells, and simply, our presence can profoundly impact how a space is perceived and experienced, especially in a public setting.

Being(s) Boundaries invites the bystander to explore this notion of space and collective living through play. It makes the bet that playfulness enables one to set aside their preconceived rules of life and let oneself be tempted by the game’s new rules. It believes that people giving themselves up to play increases the installation’s didactic potency.

The game takes the form of an architectural installation and device located at Place de la Paix in the bustling Ville-Marie neighborhood in downtown Montreal. It presents itself as a — 25-meter diameter — circular, universally accessible, red slope. At its peak lies two mechanisms: a rocking platform and nozzles emitting mist. The whole device, while giving off an air of plasticity with its non-slip rubber finish, is built with scaffolding and plywood making it easily dismountable, leaving the area unharmed at the end of its use.

The two aforementioned mechanisms act as analog experiences to the ones which the installation highlights to its participants and its observers. The rocking uses the participants’ bodyweight as an analog to their bodies simultaneously occupying and creating a constantly changing space. The loss of balance stands in for the numerous other ways the actions and presence of others can modulate one’s experience. Simultaneously, the mist acts as a screen robbing people of their agency and anticipations. It drives them into a state of reaction to the surroundings. The actions of others limit or enable one’s experience of space, be they close and personal or invisible and anonymous. Most of the time all we can do in these spatial dynamics is react and keep moving.

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