Interference

It’s a ripple, an artificial wave created by the movement of the water. To produce this troubling vision, the artist Jo Lathwood has used two panels striped with light and dark lines. One of them is firmly tied up to one of the banks of the étang de Clermont while the second one floats on the surface of the water, opposite its twin. It’s the visitors’ passage along the installation which leads to the superimposition of the two shapes, as the movements produced by the boats push one towards the other. The two panels come into line, the patterns are superimposed, and suddenly the meeting of the two frames creates activity, a curious undulation between land and water. Behind this project is a well-known optical illusion, an interference phenomenon known as the “moiré pattern”: this contrast emerges normally when two regularly striped grids are overlaid.  Here, the movement arises from the simultaneous actions of the swell and man, a way for the artist to emphasise the power of the water in the Hortillonnages, whose strength is constantly shaping the marshland landscape. Based on this principle, the work reflects the fragile balance between the natural evolution of the landscape and human intervention.

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