Saint George Slaying the Present Time


The latest experiences from Fontevraud Abbey, where I was busy with multimedia routes as well as the Arc de Triomphe, and where together with Christophe Girault I installed a permanent installation, let me discover the power of conservation forces where intelligence, knowledge and abilities focus on denying the future and preserving stone against any presence recognized as harmful.

The stone dominates functionality, the letter dominates the spirit, the matter spirituality; thus we prefer to clean than to restore to life, to freeze than to adapt, to renew than to construct without any thoughts that it is not necessary to have a straightforward antagonism (past/future) but completion and confusion of the material – do we have to preserve its intellectual dynamic from a given period of time or its carved stone?

This issue does not concern preserving traces of the great past but preserving it taking into consideration that it was its dynamic, that is a property of this future which evolved to create fragments of glory which we are unjustly proud of.

Thus Paris became smeared with its history and it mistakes preservation with capitalization, forgetting to build that which would be its future heritage, and putting all its energy into the endless quest for the past which keeps its value until the present time. Stones are preserved in the same way as the relics of saints – fragments of rotting bones which as its seems still take something from the values of human beings who try to keep them alive. When we try to stop time, assuming that living means destroying, we are shamelessly trying – but not without fury – to freeze a baby together with the bathwater.

The Far East shows us what we mostly criticize, because in China and Japan to destroy a temple in order to rebuild it is a preservation of its form and function, apart from the entropy appropriate for construction materials which are temporary substitutes for a worldly construction.
The project is a proposal of coats of arms for French heritage institutions. The picture of Saint George felling a dragon is inscribed with the motto:
“No importance if the beast die
We shall bleach its bones.”

Let us quote in passing a fragment of a great book by Bruno Latour and Emilie Hermant :
“ … is it not strange that all these eager revolutionaries, these crazy architects who wanted to raze Paris to make a car park, had utopian dreams in one of the oldest, most crowded and most winding cities out of all millennial cities? Today, however, the scales have turned to the other extreme. After the times when Paris was almost deprived of its history, now there is a whole army of historians, conservation officers, museum workers and cemetery guardians who want to deprive it of its future.”

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