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Ariana Zilliacus     

Invisible Tales

2019 / Collaboration with Pablo Encias and Kipras Kazlauskas

Invisible Tales is a performance, art and architecture workshop created and facilitated by myself and architects Pablo Encias and Kipras Kazlauskas. It took place over 10 days in Villars-sur-Ollon, a ski-resort east of Lausanne, as a part of the EASA Tourist event organised by young architects from Lausanne and Geneva. 

In 2019, the Alps suffered some of the worst snow-loss to date, with its snowline rising one meter each year. The Swiss glaciers are facing a record-breaking melting rate, shrinking 10% every five years.

We approach this crisis through a trivial and familiar object we can relate to on a physical level and bodily scale: red SPM skiing poles. These poles are used to delimit and rule the ski slopes of Villars, and ski slopes all around the world. During the workshop the red pole was the mediator we used to connect architectural language with the EASA community and to the local context.

Every object is full of content. Each of them is an actor in a network and has the capacity to create agency. An object cannot be detached from its historical context. We can access its past and/or speculate on its possible future. The history of an object is strongly connected to the history of its surroundings. In order to subvert an object’s imposed narrative, it is crucial to revisit its given rhetoric, to suggest new ways to deconstruct its framework, to re-narrate it.

The history of the village is strongly linked to the aesthetic of skiing. The pole is a very familiar object, already full of content for the local community. However when you take it out of context, during the summer and within the domestic scale of the EASA community, it becomes a symbol of ephemeral group identity and belonging. It becomes an extension of the body in the form of a totem. 

(text by Pablo Encias)

Global warming and the Climate Crisis anticipate an imminent future without snow. The red poles are understood as a link between the past and the future. While being a high-tech object from a time full of excess, it is also a representative element of skiing infrastructure and at the same time a simple tube. Due to its intended function during the short winter season, these red poles are light, efficient and visible. In a future without snow skiing infrastructure must be reconfigured and rethought.

Invisible Tales is an opportunity to think about new possibilities for the red pole during warmer seasons. Putting us together with this representative object, out of its usual context, shows us potential starting points for a future skiing infrastructure in ruins.

︎By our wonderful workshop participants︎

Katriin Maitsalu
Busisiwe Mgwenya
Tanit Ivanishvili
Joel Brynielsson
Þórbergur Friðriksson
Taisia Mukho
Ralitsa Karamusalova
Renaud Lecomte
Flore Beerli Rossier
Luīze Eglīte