Balade Balisée (Marked Trail)
Balade balisée (Marked Trail) puts a second, virtual, layer on an existing landscape.
The installation was first shown in the park of the Abbaye de Grandpré in Faulx-les-Tombes (Belgium): a beautiful mixture of English and French garden architecture, during the Grand Écart festival 2022.
On top of the garden, I made a layer with a kind of ‘virtual reality’, that could exist in this place, but isn’t there. Traffic signs show the way to seals, penguins, a port with a ferry, a congress room, and so on. I prohibit certain actions, such as applauding, or playing the violin. I give instructions and I ask questions to the public.
When I was about 12 years old, my parents and me visited the beautiful park and the ruins of Cambron Casteau, an impressing Cistercian abbey near Ath in Belgium, similar to the parc of the Abbaye de Grandpré (but much bigger). At the end of our visit, the guard told us: “you’ve been the last visitors ever, the abbey has been sold and will be turned into an attraction park. The preparation starts tomorrow.”
And indeed, everything happened the way he said.
But each time when I came back in Cambron Casteau – now extremely crowded and known as Pairi Daiza – I still feel the peace, the silence, the nature, and the nearly sacred atmosphere that I experienced so many years ago – as if I’m still virtually walking in the old Cambron Casteau park.