talmon biran’s installation explores states of equilibrium in architectural ruins

talmon biran facility in paxos, greece

Talmon Biran’s ‘Hang On’ is complex, yet beautifully quiet facility held in the historically significant ruins of Kampos tis Koris, an old house that now stands without a roof and stripped of its interior fittings. Its empty shell is a time capsule telling the story of the island as well as its present. A memoir of family history, long-standing properties, real estate investments, modern materials, machinery, traditional building methods and skills that are losing their place to progress.

Created for the 2022 Paxos Biennale on the Greek island, the concept and design details of “Hang On” are inspired by the traditional construction techniques and rituals of Paxos. The duo of Israeli artists and architects, Roy Talmon and Noa Biran, use only locally found materials for their installation, which is at the border between art and architecture, and questions the tension between the two opposing forces of preservation and progress. Examining the relationships between space, human action and time, the installation explores states of equilibrium, materializing as a web of weaving ropes that dangle from the crumbling stone structure to suspend wooden beams in the air.

‘Hang On’ was created for the 2022 Paxos Biennale

all pictures of Roy Talmon

‘hold on’: an exploration of balance and preservation

The construction process of the facility itself used actions and techniques of archaeological excavations, site investigations and architectural preservation, including site clearance, reconstruction and repairs, piling, sorting and marking of objects and construction elements found on the site. Creating a series of installations in the space of the ruins, Talmon Biran uses rope and remnants of the original structure found at the site such as stones, wooden beams and antique furniture. The installation “Hang On” explores the states of balance between opposing forces: lifted elements and weights, movement versus stability, and inside and outside. The dichotomy of these forces demonstrates their definition in relation to each other and raises a question about the possibility of a balance: what will hold and what will fall? What should remain and what should change? Which of the opposing forces will prevail?

In the ruins of Kampos tis Koris, there is a series of intersecting ropes and floating wooden beams, balanced in calm. The israeli duo tied old wooden beams with ropes to heavy stones found at the site at each end. The stones are hung on the exterior facades, acting as weights to balance the wooden beams in the air in the middle of the interior space. Additional stones are connected to large stones on the ground, suggesting an imaginary grid of columns or foundations, while another pile of stones can be found gathered together in a straight line, resembling archaeological mounds or ancient rituals of burial or worship.

talmon biran's installation explores states of equilibrium amid architectural ruins in greece
old wooden beams found locally are attached with ropes to heavy stones at each end

a network of hanging ropes, stones and wooden beams

A niche set into the interior wall contains a pile of stones, each tied with a rope, reminiscent of stored food or stock on a shelf in the pantry. Each individual stone is numbered in red, marked with the signature of the family that owns the property. This is a common way of declaring possession of real estate in Paxos, which raises the questions: Is the property an inventory? Is it transferable?’

Elsewhere in the installation, a series of wooden frames, dry branches and rusting work tools found at the site are arranged to line up along the wall. Their difference in shapes, heights and textures, and the fragile composition they create together, opposes the very straight red line that draws along them, joining them. The line acts as a reference level, often used in construction as a reference line for all building elements. “A line in space and time. Its existence depends on the ability of the elements to hold themselves upright. notes Talmon Biran.

Additionally, a weatherproof frame of a blue-painted chair is filled with stones using a traditional method of dry-stone wall construction, a traditional technique typically seen on Paxos. The stones are held together without the use of mortar and simply by their own weight, through careful selection and positioning of the stones to fit together in shape and weight. The chair, which is typically characterized by mobility and lightness, is here fixed, heavy and rooted in the ground.

hang 6
a pile of stones is gathered in a straight line, resembling archaeological mounds or ancient burial or worship rituals

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