Fragmentin is a collective formed by the artists Laura Perrenoud, David Colombini and Marc Dubois, based in Lausanne. In Displuvium (2019), they investigate man’s efforts to control nature, in this case through weather modification in a process called cloud seeding.
A cable connects a large oval water basin on the floor to two screens on the wall. In random order, these show twelve episodes of exceptional precipitation, some of natural origin and others results of meteorological modification since the 1940s until today. We see, for example, how in 1992 Russia ensured that rain would not disrupt the celebrations during a military parade in Moscow by spraying chemicals into the clouds from planes. Or how in 2008 in Beijing, after a long period of drought, the state set out to trigger rainfall and instead caused a devastating snowstorm to cover the city.
The bottom of the installation’s water basin is covered with invisible underwater nozzles that create the impression of raindrops falling into the basin. In ancient Rome, the displuvium of the open atrium was a basin where falling rainwater was collected, which also served as a window to monitor the weather of the outside world. In Fragmentin’s installation, when natural precipitation is being shown on the screens, the water basin also simulates a natural all-over rain shower. However, during reports of human manipulation, the droplets form artificial patterns that make you wonder, and make it clear that there may be something wrong with the rain.
The installation reveals the extent of human intervention in natural processes and ultimately shows the limits of the power of science and technology over nature, which, as the failures demonstrate, are patently beyond human control.
(Text: Bettina Back)
Fragmentin is an artist collective based in Lausanne, Switzerland, founded in 2014 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 installations posit chance, randomness and the unexpected as remedies of control.