If you could somehow separate out all the materials that make up our cities, omnipotently disassembling buildings into piles of steel, brick, cement, and so forth, you have to imagine that one of the results would be a truly massive wad of gum.
Maybe it would look like a multicolored version of the boulder that nearly crushes Indiana Jones. Maybe it would be way bigger than that. It’s hard to say. Who really knows how much once-chewed gum exists, say, in New York City at any given point in time? What we do know is that the stuff is everywhere, covertly clinging to tables and eternally being mashed by our footfall into the sidewalks below. It is, quite literally, one of the many substances our metropolises are made of. And in Jeremy Laffon’s work, it’s the only thing they’re made of.
For Chlorophénylalaninoplastomécanostressrhéologoductilviridiscacosmographigum (a different sort of mouthful), the French artist erected an intricate all-gum structure, stacking thousands of bright green sticks, playing card-style, into a series of interconnected walls, towers, and columns. I hope one of the visitors to the FRAC Limousin, where it was recently on view, made some sort of joke about a real-estate bubble.
Of course, it couldn’t stay pristine forever. Instead of collapsing all at once, like a house of cards, Laffon’s buildings slowly submitted to gravity’s pull. The structures slumped and sagged, occasionally helped along by the heat from a light wielded by Laffon himself.
As far as edible tabletop construction projects go, it’s certainly an impressive one. But you could also see the whole thing as an abbreviated version of any city’s life cycle. Buildings go up, and then they come down, with the tallest and most complex often the most susceptible. Of course, some monuments do endure. I think a Bubblicious pyramid stands a good chance.
[Images: Galerie Isabelle Gounod]
[Hat tip: Designboom]