(Laura Perrenoud, David Colombini, Marc Dubois)

N1-Observatory, 2020

VR experience for Oculus Quest

Both a sculpture and a Virtual Reality experience, N1-Observatory questions the integration and use of digital and infrastructural technologies in the natural alpine landscape. It was exhibited for the first time at the top of Schlüchtli (2283m) as part of Art Safiental, a Land Art and Environmental Art biennale. Made out of galvanized steel, photovoltaic panels and mylar fabric, the installation is a contemporary replica of the iconic pyramids standing on several Swiss mountain summits. Some of its features are also borrowed from a lunar module.   The artwork acts as an augmented observatory : visitors are able to discover the digitized alpine landscape in a point cloud aesthetic through the lenses of the virtual reality headset. This landscape is transformed in real time according to ever changing climatic variations recorded by a small weather station installed at the top of the sculpture. Additionally, the virtual experience allows the visitors to visualize the surroundings antennas and weather stations as well as the networks of invisible electromagnetic waves in the area (in particular the controversial 5G).Unlike most immersive virtual reality experiences, which tend to isolate the viewer from his or her sensory environment, N1-Observatory recreates a tangible link with it, by placing visitor at the mercy of the weather to enhance sensory perceptions such as the heat of the sun on our skin, the wind on our face or less perceptible elements such as atmospheric pressure. By getting visitors to wear a helmet and experience virtual reality in a stunning mountainous region, the installation also invites them to embrace absurdity.


Duration: 5 min., Roomscale




Fragmentin is an artist collective based in Lausanne, Switzerland, founded in 2014 and composed by three ECAL (Lausanne University of Art and Design) alumni: Laura Perrenoud (*1991, Lausanne), David Colombini (*1989, Lausanne) and Marc Dubois (*1985, Basel). At the crossroads of art and engineering, Fragmentin’s work questions the impact of the digital on everyday life by investigating these technologies' disposition towards control and opacity. Influenced by the likes of Alain Damasio, Eric Sadin and James Bridle, Fragmentin's works are often conceived as spaces for discussion on crucial contemporary topics and issues such as climate change. Through installation, video, interaction and performance, the studio’s artworks demystify complex systems and reveal the tension arising from emergent technologies. Fragmentin's pieces have been exhibited internationally and have been acquired by collections of institutions such as HeK in Basel or the Art Foundation Pax. While continuing to exhibit their work in museums and to develop collaborations with galleries, Fragmentin aims to make art and its debates more accessible to the general public and more rooted in the public space, notably by proposing interventions in natural, urban space, creating online experiences and participating in "Art for Architecture" competitions. Since 2017, the three artists have been nominated for several art prizes and have been awarded the App Art award (2017), The Pax Art Award (2018) and the "Prix du Rayonnement de la Fondation Vaudoise pour la Culture » (2019).

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