Le Signal has long been an angular eyesore for some, but was a much-loved home and holiday residence for others and was initially set to be just the first of a number of such buildings in Soulac. Importantly, when it was built, between 1965 and 1970, the ocean was a good 200 metres away. But over the ensuing years, the Atlantic has literally gained ground on this lone apartment block, at a rate of between four and eight metres per year.
|The ocean has caught up with Le Signal.|
|The hostile urbex wasteland that Le Signal has now become.|
The early-morning event was the brainchild of the Bordeaux-based visual artist Olivier Crouzel and author Sophie Poirier, and was six months in the making. The pair braved the no entry signs to passively observe and experience the empty residence from the inside, enabling the artists to develop a profound understanding of what Le Signal represented to those who lived and holidayed there.
The end-product was an eleven-minute loop of video footage of views from the windows of the building, looking both inland and across to the ocean, accompanied by Poirier’s haunting and poignant text, entitled “46 fois l’été” (Summer x46). The text is a meandering wander from apartment to apartment, focusing on details and speculating on the life which once went on between the walls of Le Signal, from a child counting the waves for hours on end to the constant influx of sand in the staircases.
I feel very privileged to be among the 150-or-so spectators who had set their alarm clock at an unearthly hour to witness this moving tribute to Soulac’s great unloved residence. The artists shone a much-needed beam of light not only on Le Signal but also indirectly on its residents, and the struggle they face now that the earth has crumbled beneath their feet.
|The graffiti which was one of the leitmotivs throughout the installation.|
- Find it (at least for the time being) on the Invisible Bordeaux map:
- Signal residence, Soulac-sur-Mer
- A video showing the installation in its entirety is available on Olivier Crouzel's website, and the full accompanying text can be found on Sophie Poirier's website.
- Cet article est également disponible en français.