Mixed media (31 materials): Middle Atlas white cedar wood (cedrus atlantica), Moroccan walnut wood (juglans nigra), Middle Atlas lemon wood (citrus lemon), Purpleheart wood from Brazil, Iroko wood from Ivory Coast, Zebrano wood from Ivory Coast, Dutch ash wood (Fraxinus excelsior – europe cultivated), Moroccan pine wood, Dutch Linden wood, Dutch alder wood, Wenge wood from the Congos (millettia laurentii), mahogany wood (african mahogany – khaya spp.), Thuya wood from Essaouria (tetraclinis articulata), Moroccan pepper wood, Moroccan beech wood, yellow copper (brass), red copper, recycled aluminium, nickel silver, gold, tin, domesticated cow bone, domesticated cowhide, domesticated cow horn, paint, Chinese superglue, recycled brass, wood glue, neoprene glue, copper-plated steel & steel.
Size (sculpture): 60cm(W) x 120cm(D) x 70cm(H) – Composite sculpture (about 150 parts)
Size (with inner crate): 90cm(W) x 140cm(D) x 109cm(H)
Size (with outer crate): 107cm(W) x 160cm(D) x 159cm(H)
Weight (sculpture): 450 kg
Weight (with crate): 587 kg
Courtesy: Collection of Steve and Lisa Tananbaum, Florida, USA
Photo: Alessio Mei
Craftsmen involved: Abdelkhadere Hmidouche, Abedelaali Arib, Abdelghafour Boutkrout, Abdelrrahim Boutkrout, Mustafa Jaouale, Mohamed Ouhaddou, Nourredine El Miraoui, Abdelrani Akari, Abdeljalil Ait Boujmeâa, Milou Amrani, Hassan El mouaddin, Hassan Hmad, Mohamed El Khatebi, Yussef Zouak, Kamal Aabila, Soufiane Sahli.
The production of this sculpture started in April of 2020, when this SOHC Inline-4 belt-driven camshaft and dual-path intake manifold BMW M43B18 engine was sourced at the Marrakesh wrecking yard towards the end of the COVID-19 pandemic’s first lockdown.
One could argue that the pandemic, in its unfathomable magnitude, is a negative externality of growth itself. More pragmatically, as an article in the New-York Times pointed to recently, pandemics are powered by the ultimate negative externality: The very act of breathing can spread a deadly disease.
This artwork is therefore conceptually tight to this global calamity and the tedium it entailed. It was worked on gradually over a year by about 15 Moroccan master craftsmen between confinement periods and stay-at-home orders, as people got separated from one another, parcelled out, observed, and controlled. In this endeavour, idleness and anguish felt like sculpture material: it took about 17 months to complete.
Aiming to render that uniquely apprehensive stretch of time and affect, this “emotional time” or durée as Bergson puts it, the artist decided to embed, directly onto the sculpture and beneath its base via hand-made QR Codes made of brass, over a hundred video fragments shot during the making process in the studio, a gesture to the span and period of production and the emotional commitment of those involved.
All videos were shot by the artist using a smartphone, and converted to 720p/30fps. They are being hosted by the Internet Archive, a non-for-profit platform headquartered in San Francisco providing persistent URLs. Overall, about 430 min of footage is embedded into the sculpture. QR Codes were first developed in Japan by the automotive industry, to track vehicles during manufacturing.
In substance, the artwork is therefore both material and digital: the assembly of physical parts combined to these short videos functioning metaphorically as the recomposed anatomy of its birth through time felt.