Haute horologer Audemars Piguet has always had a deep connection with art and creativity. So, it was only natural when the master watch manufacturer started to partner with Art Basel, the world’s premier contemporary art show, back in 2013. Every year since then, Audemars Piguet presents innovative lounge concepts and artwork at the annual event. They reflect upon the brand’s storied history, connection with Vallée de Joux, home of fine watchmaking, and commitment to innovation.
This year at Art Basel, to be held from 13 to 16 June at Messe Basel, the watchmaker commissioned Brooklyn-based artist Fernando Mastrangelo to design its lounge concept. And within this space, Norwegian artist Jana Winderen displays an interesting site-specific sound installation. Both, the innovative lounge as well as Winderen’s acoustic composition, will take visitors on a sensory journey across the Swiss Jura Mountains.
The immersive sculptural project by Mastrangelo is evocative of the Swiss mountain’s natural elements — a chandelier made of crushed glass, referencing the limestone stalactites in the Swiss Vallorbe Caves, is suspended from the ceiling. Additionally, natural minerals extracted from the region have been cast into walls, furniture and display cases. The Strata Wall, for instance, highlights five intrinsic components of Audemars Piguet’s latest watch collection — gold, brass, aventurine, sapphire glass and iron.
“I wanted to reflect the manufacturer’s history and the landscape that inspires the creation of these beautiful watches. The space for me is about the journey across the Vallée de Joux and each part of the journey is punctuated with sculpture and furniture,”
During several visits to Vallée de Joux’s forest and lake across different seasons, Winderen captured sounds accessible and typically inaccessible to the human ear. She used high-definition equipment, including a Sound Field microphone, hydrophones and an ultrasound detector to amplify the sounds of the ecosystem — from the 300-year-old, slow-growing spruce trees of the Risoud Forest, to the sounds made and heard by the fish in the depths of Lac de Joux. This sonic installation is her attempt to make people aware of how human activity compromises these beautiful environments and adds to the Earth’s fragile state.
“I share a fascination for, and attention to, very small details with watchmakers. I carefully ‘listen with’ and to the creatures around us, paying attention to how they interact with the environment. Through this focused listening, I also start to notice my immediate surrounding. Watchmakers, too, have an increased sensitivity to sound. The watch comes alive with its ticking,”
Accompanying Winderen’s collage of interwoven layers of sounds will be a one-night public performance called Du Petit Risoud aux profondeurs du Lac de Joux in collaboration with HeK (House of Electronic Arts Basel) on 11 June.
Images provided by Audemars Piguet