A project by Erez Nevi Pana and Marlene Huissoud, commissioned by the Jerusalem Design Week 2017.
This year the White House has ordered the construction of a wall between the US and Mexico (3218km). For us, as designers, this is a call for action. It seems as if we are living on a borderline, a delicate and unstable phase vibrating of contrasts and divisions. A deep duality is created between people and societies, moving between extremes – order and disorder, physicality and virtuality, safety and vulnerability, east and west, local and global. These opposites face each other, creating a secluded whole of insecurity. ‘Borderline’ explores the ways in which design can imagine unity within diversity, facing the global upsurge of nationalism, xenophobic attacks and record numbers of refugees. Objects grow into a coiled representation of the length of walls from different global contexts using thin yarn. Dipping the yarn in wax connects them into one wick, and the shaped objects become giant candles. The joined wick is then electrically rotated on a pipe, shaped by the designers from distance. Finally, these objects function as a dialog between contrasts: between black and white, liquid and solid, slow and fast, chaotic and harmonic, static and dynamic, presence and detachment.
When the objects are not used, they appear to be a ticking time bomb.
Walls: (from left to right)
West Bank Barrier: 780km
Hadrian’s Wall: 135km
Baia Mare: 60km
Trump Wall: 3218km
The Moroccan Wall of Western Sahara: 2700km
Twenty four rolls of white yarns are stretched by two engines throughout the space of the installation. The yarns are pulled up and down between eight bars – four of them be- ing fixed to the floor, four others to the ceiling -, forming a conceptual wall that is constantly moving forward. The “wall” starts to unite into one yarn which is then dipped into an aquarium full of black wax and pulled out as one wick. The endless rotation of the engine is pulling the wick around a roll and forms a mass which becomes the candle itself. To control the shape we use a joystick which enable us to have control over the speed and the movement of the engines.
Full Interview from Dezeen:
– Why did you choose the borderline as the focus for your JDW project?
Marlene: Borderline stems out of a general feeling of insecurity, an instability that seems to have taken over the whole world. We wanted to translate this fragility by the installation poetically and politically. The idea behind it is relevant for me as I have been living in London for the past 5 years and experienced Brexit as a non-British citizen. When you think about it, we all have an experience of borders, whether you cross the borders of a territory or not.
Erez: As an Israeli, the idea of border is something that has always been close to me, for obvious reasons, but we see other nations that were promoting openness in the past now fluctuating into lands of obstacles and borders, as nations start closing on themselves. The notion of border is be- ing stretched and redefined over and over again these days. Borders are in constant changes within countries – personal confines and collective ones – and it felt the right thing to comment on. We named the project Borderline as it is the accurate translation for our gesture – a wall as representation of a border converted into a yarn, border is translated into a line -. On top of that, Borderline in hebrew can also be understood as My Border, which adds another layer on the perception of the border, its subjectiveness. It also touches upon aspects of the border beyond lands.
– Can you explain the process taking place in the installation?
Marlene and Erez: Twenty four rolls of white yarns are stretched by two engines throughout the space of the installation. The yarns are pulled up and down between eight bars – four of them be- ing fixed to the floor, four others to the ceiling -, forming a conceptual wall that is constantly moving forward. The “wall” starts to unite into one yarn which is then dipped into an aquarium full of black wax and pulled out as one wick. The endless rotation of the engine is pulling the wick around a roll and forms a mass which becomes the candle itself. To control the shape we use a joystick which enable us to have control over the speed and the movement of the engines.
– What is the significance of both the yarn and the candle in your installation?
Marlene: The yarn is a way to manifest a line, something that unites and separates at the same time. The candle represent something physical but also ephemeral. We have been collaborating with a factory in Tel Aviv that produces small wicks for candles. The owner of the factory Eli Uberbaum, who is also an engineer, was enthusiastic to see how what he produces daily could be used differently. Each candle the machine produces represents a different wall / border in the world.
Erez: The length of each border / wall we choose is impacting on the length of the yarn we use to make a candle. For example Trump’s wall which is planned to be built along the Mexican border, will be 3218 km long, for this candle we used the same length of yarn to form the candle that will melt away. We were looking to produce a poetic object that people can relate to. Something that changes with its use and disappear, so candles just made sense. We also wanted to project a dif- ferent intent and essence to it – the candles we make are associated with unity and seam.
– Can you expand on the idea of a “ticking time bomb » you talk about when explaining the project?
Erez: The idea of the ticking bomb is a metaphor for the walls we build – walls are like candles, they result in a fire cycle. The concept of this project is almost like a fire ball rolled in nationalistic fields.
– Does this piece take on a particular meaning when on show in Jerusalem?
Erez: Candle production in London is not conceptually equivalent to candle production in Jerusalem, so the answer is yes – In life everything relates to a specific context and the city’s situation are clearly interwoven with the project. It is a critical design project, we are facing politics with a concept that promotes unity within diversity, I guess each candle produced makes one think about Jerusalem and the variety of populations, religions, streams, groups, individuals that main- tain the existence and essence of this city. If the concept of unity within diversity could succeed in Jerusalem, it could succeed everywhere and we will see real walls falling.
Collaboration with Erez Nevi Pana
Commissioned by Jerusalem Design Week
Engineer Eli Uberbaum
Curator Tal Erez
Images by Dor Kedmi