‘Flooded Modernity’ art installation sinks Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye in a Danish fjord
Christo’s The London Mastaba in the Serpentine has stiff competition as the Instagram hit of the summer, its reign challenged by another floating structure, which has gone viral on social media. Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye currently appears to have run aground in a Danish fjord, but this arresting vision is a trick, a conceptual mirage conjured up by Copenhagen-based artist Asmund Havsteen-Mikkelsen.
Titled Flooded Modernity, the 1:1 scale model of a corner of the Swiss-French architect’s famous villa juts out from the water like a clean-lined modernist iceberg. It’s one of ten projects selected from 90 original proposals that have been cast adrift for the Floating Art festival, an annual event organised by Denmark’s Vejle Museum.
Havsteen-Mikkelsen’s installation is a politcal statement about technologies threat to critical thinking
‘The project is a critical comment on the current status of modernity after the scandals of Cambridge Analytica, the Trump election, Putin’s interference in democratic elections, the advancement of right-wing radicals in Europe, and Brexit,’ explains Havsteen-Mikkelsen whose art has long been inspired by Le Corbusier’s 1929 masterpiece. ‘For me, the Villa Savoye is a symbol of modernity and enlightenment. It represents the belief in the critical powers of the human mind in relation to progress and in our use of criticality in the public sphere.’
His ‘sinking’ sculpture is a metaphor, demonstrating how the fake news and disinformation generated by new digital media – and in particular the power of psychometric algorithms – is threatening to submerge and shipwreck the values of modernism. ‘After these scandals, I think our sense of democracy and the public sphere has been distorted through the new use of digital technologies to manipulate elections. Our sense of modernity has been “flooded”. I sense the need to “restate” our political institutions – because our old ones have “sunk”,’ he says.
Havsteen-Mikkelsen’s five tonne replica is a white-painted wood and plywood structure featuring plexiglass windows with Styrofoam blocks providing buoyancy. It took eight days to construct on the harbourfront of Vejle Hvn, and was then hoisted into the sea and pulled to its current position in the fjord.
Flooded Modernity and the other artworks are free to view and will remain on display until 2 September. §