Christian Boltanski’s No Man Land

French artist, Christian Boltanski, uses a huge crane and a giant pile of discarded clothes to explore the notion of mortality.

Located in New York City’s Park Avenue Armory, Christian Boltanski’s No Man’s Land art installation was created using 30 tons of used clothes, a metal crane, and 3,000 stacked cookie tins that block views from the outside.

Even after hearing the artist reveal the ideas behind this art project, ideas that include life, death and futility, you can’t help but compare it to that frustrating arcade game where you had to control the crane, using a joystick, without dropping the prize. Still, in Boltanski’s vision, his project is dead serious.

Every few minutes, the metal crane will drop down and randomly grab some clothes, from the 45 rectangular plots of clothes around the armory, and drop them in the big pile, in the center. This apparently symbolizes the arbitrariness of death and survival. Visitors get to see this weird art display with a background soundtrack of human heartbeats.


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