[...] but what is the thing that lies beneath the semblance of the thing? - Virginia Woolf
The subsurface, or underground, is part of our environment. Infrastructures, water, developments, natural and man-made cavities – all these are connected to the history and economy of a specific area.
Beneath the surface in the Swiss Alps lies a sprawling labyrinth that serves over thousands of people every day as well as countless tourists and visitors. From regional growth that catalyzed its development in the 1970’s and 80’s, to the growing intensification of local water and digital needs, the local underground infrastructure has grown into a sophisticated network of tubes and cables. Acknowledging the underground as part of our environment is therefore a crucial critical task.
The Verbier 3-D Foundation presents Global Wiring, a new site-specific sculptural work by Swiss art collective Fragmentin. The artists were invited for a one-month residency to become immersed in the local alpine environment. They developed work responding to current debates referencing global topics of water and climate concerns, inspired by the materials, technologies and ecological knowledge sourced from the surrounding landscape of Verbier, Switzerland.
For the past ten years, the Foundation has supported international and Swiss artists by offering a research-led residency that aims to push artists out of their comfort zones, fostering artistic development and new work around environmentalism that might not be possible in the studio space.
The idea is to get out of the studio, into nature, research, collaborate, think, act, create and communicate.
The Foundation has had a progressive interest around the theme of Water, inviting artists to engage in a wide range of topics such as sustainability, rights, climate, mythology, history, science, heritage, politics and technology.
Our curators were interested in Fragmentin's ongoing practice towards questioning the tensions between natural, technical and digital landscapes of Switzerland, their work around the theme of Obsology and how this concept could further evolve within the context of a residency whilst considering the topic of Water.
Global Wiring is the sculptural result of Fragmentin’s 2022 residency and their curious vision of a glacial archeological find from the future exposing underground elements of the obsolete and unnatural systems that supported our interconnected lives.
Fragmentin’s inquiry into the urban underground, and its materiality as a complex system or cluster of systems, is made visible through their new sculpture offering a space for consideration of the contemporary human-technical-environmental infrastructure that supports modern society.