Has the World Already Been Made? x10: Belfries
September 8-November 20, 2017

Interview by Cecilia Gelin for GIBCA 2017 Guide
with Hasseb Ahmed (HA) & Daniel Baird (DB)

What will you be presenting for the biennial?
HA: We are showing a project called “Has the work already been done?” This is going to be the 10th installment of the project itself. It´s a project we have been working with for the past six years. The project consists of moulds, wherever we go we have been making moulds.

DB: For this project we are accumulating fragments of architecture and things from around the world via a moulding technique that is mixed by hand. We have accumulated a very large library with different fragments that constitute individual elements of the project and they get recycled into new versions. The project has been accumulating and building on itself and it has become very self-referential, based on the fragments that we have gathered.

HA: It is self-referential, but it is also always referring to the outside world, because these moulds are one to one replicas of elements that exist outside. All of those pieces are consolidated into sculptures or installations in the scale of the world itself. It reaches all the way from Moscow to California to Pakistan. You can see all those elements represented inside the work itself. Sometimes we say that we are constructing spaces using the sculptural vocabulary that is a kind of “grammar of ornaments” to use an old industrial design term from Owen Jones.

DB: The work consist of two pieces, one for each venue and they are based on the notion of a clock tower – a belfry. Each of the pieces contains as a main component at the centre of the tower representative of a clock. These pieces will be very large.

HA: We are inspired by the notion of belfries, and particularly the world heritage sites in Flanders and Flemish France. These belfries are regarded as early secular architecture.

Every town had two different towers. One tower was the cathedral tower – the tower of the church – and the other tower was usually a clock. The judge would sit in the clock rather than in the church and that tells about an early separation of the church and the state. This is why we decided to use this as an archetype for GIBCA to address the topic of secularity. We always use an architectural archetype as the starting point for an installation. We have previously worked with fountains, bridges, and architectural facades and in this case belfries served as a starting point.

What questions do you want to raise with your work?
HA: This work is not a statement to say that everything is equal or the same. It is a question, as opposed to emphasising differences in the way we normally look at the world. To me what is interesting and hardly noticed is the huge amount of sameness in the world. The project is called “Has the World Already Been Made?” How is the world reconstituted to its own image and what is the motor of this replication? That is the point that we are trying to ask. We are proposing a way of detecting sameness rather than pointing out differences, which is something we are normally accustomed to doing.

Rodasten Installation