Heat Wave in Paris
Cité de la Mode et du Design
Maarja Kask, Ralf Lõoke and Neeme Külm
From December 2017 to January 2018, Salto Architects Maarja Kask and Ralf Lõoke together with artist Neeme Külm created a spatial installation Heat Wave at the Docks of Cité de la Mode et du Design in Paris. The Heat Wave was made of a four square metre board of LED and infrared heating lamps, and it moved along a 30 metres long track under the CMD building inviting visitors strolling along the river Seine. The Heat Wave is a site-specific installation with a strong socio-political subtext. As a temporary installation, it primarily seems to propose questions about accessibility, comfort and security. One might find here reflections of public debates not only about global warming, but about future of democracy, post-truth media, and migration crisis. For example, a decade ago before CMD moved into this building, the site used to be a night-shelter for the Paris homeless.
The installation Heat Wave consists of a panel of heat and light lamps that moves along tracks 30 metre long track when senses human presence. On the one hand, the installation was entertaining, on the other hand it held a strong socio-political subtext and as architectural critic Carl-Dag Lige brought out, it intuitively raised some rather political questions, e.g. Who makes decisions about safety and well-being in our societies? What kind of social groups lack access to basic human rights? Who has the right to have “a spot under the sun”, or to be more contextual, in front of the warm panel of the Heat Wave installation presented at the Paris exhibition? Even if those political connotations seem too abstract or far-fetched, there should be no doubt about the artistic quality and site-specific experiential value of the installation. With bright colours, dynamic lights and changing temperature effects, Heat Wave is an object of attraction and desire. It was, thus, possible to experience it also as a (mere) sensorial object causing wonder and providing pleasure.
“Our installation Heat Wave covers a wide spectrum of contemporary topics from climate change to issues of security and equality —these discussions are very much in the air in Paris. On the other hand, our installation is a simple emotional and entertaining object.”