Douglas Mandry's new series "The Waters In-Between" delves into the shifting of natural resources by human intervention as well as the notions of borders and boundaries.
Every year, dozens of corals and other alive or dead, legally protected, specimens of flora and fauna are seized at the Swiss airport border. Stored in Bern, these corals are neither allowed to cross the Swiss borders nor to return to their country of origin.
Coral reefs belong to the most biodiverse underwater ecosystems. Moreover, by storing up to centuries of climate history indicated by their chemical compositions, corals are keyholes to the past. These endangered specimens carrying history and function remain frozen in space, whereas sand can be purchased online. For concrete’s production crucial, concrete ties to the ideas of modernism and the massive displacement of natural resources. As permanent, erratic concrete sculptures, the corals cross worlds and borders. Therefore, existing between the factual and imaginative status of their origins, between their pasts and their possible future journeys, The Waters In-Between invite for reflection and imagination on the notions of borders and boundaries.
For this one-year project, Douglas Mandry convinced the Swiss authorities to grant permission for corals to cross the Swiss border to create their concrete replica with help of a 3D infrared scanner. In the continuity of his artistic practice, The Waters In-Between shows Mandry’s interest to highlight the lines of structures that regulate our existence within the natural world.