Île du Dôme (2022)

Comission for FITE, Clermont-Ferrand,  Museé d'art Roger Quillot (September 2022)

Photo credits: Hugo Brazão

The science fiction graphic journal L’íles d’Auvergne (1993), set in a future dystopian world where the water levels have risen 1000km, tells us that the Auvergne region was reduced to an archipelago formed by the peaks of the highest mountains of the region. In the Clermont-Ferrand area there is one island left, Île du Dôme, formed by the lava dome of Puy de Dôme.

The main protagonist of this journal, Imago Sekoya, visits Liberty, one of the archipelago’s cities. Liberty was built on the canopy of a huge sequoia tree forest. These trees have, after years of being submerged, adapted their root system to be completely under water and the surviving humans have built a city on the trunks and branches of these aquatic trees.

Even though this world exists after a huge catastrophe, the way that it is imagined is still in keeping with our current relationship to nature, one of extraction and exploitation, without any significant societal change post catastrophe. The only difference is the topography of the landscape, above which humans narcissistically position themselves as superior.

The site-specific work made for the Musée d’Art Roger Quilliot proposes a vision of this possible catastrophe where this human-nature relation is subverted and humans undertake a radically divergent path in evolution. In this work, humans have developed complex root-systems with skin turned into bark or stone, becoming tree-islands themselves. Similar to the sequoia trees of Liberty, these rooted humans have become static and a permanent part of the landscape. They are now an ecosystem that can support other life, rather than being in control of it.

It is known that trees communicate with each other through their complex root system and fungal rhizomes. If humans were to become trees, in what ways would culture develop through this new way of communicating: would we develop a common nervous system? How would memory operate? Would we develop a symbiotic relationship between all the elements of society and the environment? Would we give as much as we take?