Štefan Papčo

Moraine, 2010

installation, ready made plywood from indoor gym for climbing, 13 x 7 x 3m


From the worn plywood of a climbing wall, dimensional models are made of blocks of rock, that is to say elements of the original mountain environment. Their positioning in space creates an illustration of the movement of a rock mass, which is halted thanks to a system of solid beams. Because of gravitation a surplus of badly arranged matter involves an accompanying loss of stability and subsequent fall. Parallel, autonomous (sculptural) processes and interventions in various spaces sketch out rough directions for thoughts on the character of the natural.
The danger of cave-ins in real space, the risk of passing under a mass of rocks, remains on the virtual level, underlined by visual impression and thought from the movement in cyberspace.
Moraine, the installation, is a visually modelled contemplation of mutual relations and movement in three different spheres. Representing the first sphere is the mountain environment with its natural processes and changes and (commensurate with these) potentials. A second sphere is the urban environment, which is predesigned and projected for the long-term functioning of society. Finally, there is the virtual cyber environment, currently enjoying a massive development, thanks mainly to the internet; this goes together with a loss of stimuli and direct contact with reality. There is a live issue regarding contemporary attitudes to created values, and whether we are able to refine and make use of what is positive in them.
By its character, placement and mode of use the artificial climbing wall enables imagined qualities to come through notionally. Being artificial, the walls have an ideal character; thus they generate a space for the effective magnification of physical capacity, with emphasis on the greatest possible safety of those participating. What is involved here is a synthetic substitute for the natural environment, which influences and in part devalues the original philosophic basis (and not only the catharsis) of mountaineering. Despite this, years of climbing in an enclosed space has changed the appearance of the material in the climbing wall. With daily training sessions and the associated wear-and-tear on the plywood, its appearance has come closer on the one hand to the originally visualised character of rock, and on the other hand to the simple 3D visualisations of the 1990s. And this is an affirmation of strength, physicality, and at the same time relative limits, from virtual survival in the given environment.

*Moraine is scree, boulders and blocks, creating an accumulation which is carried by a glacier. The material forming a moraine is not sorted gravitationally, which means that it is composed of large boulders as well as microscopic glacial flour.
Source: Wikipedia