Written by Colectif Dadelion
Produced as part of Master:
TRANS- Socially Engaged
Artistic Practices
Cahier de Bord: 86 jours à la Robert Walser Sculpture is a collectively written publication documenting the work of Collectif Dandelion transpiring during Thomas Hirschhorn’s Robert Walser Sculpture in Bienne, Switzerland. The transcriptive methodology employed by the collective served as a way to transmit the quotidian occurrences to a remote public, as well as an exercise in critical reflections on the collective’s work. The book was written in French and English, mirroring the bilingual dialogues amongst the collective, and travels through various temporalities during the span of the sculpture’s existence, from June 15th to September 9th of 2019, in which the collective was continuously present.

The book questions the nature of the collective throughout the duration of the sculpture, contemplating the notion of endurance alongside the individual versus the collective, and how to delicately oscillate between the two. Each member was assigned a day of writing which alternated frequently throughout the nearly three-month period, generating a form of collectively constructed diary. The texts were subsequently divided into chapters, succeeded by a reflexive discussion hosted by the collective preceding the publication. Kindred to the roots of the dandelion, the collective began to slowly germinate within the context of the sculpture, hosting various workshops and excursions with local children. Cahier de Bord charts the undulating path of the collective as they encounter a series of spontaneous interactions, transpiring within the sculpture as well as traversing beyond its structure. The trajectory of the work on-site was highly influenced by the collective’s durational presence at the sculpture; a perpetual mutation, a directionless walk, a path at times sculpted by the sculpture, and at times unsculpted. As Hirschhorn enthuses, Robert Walser Sculpture was about presence rather than production, and cahier de bord lays testament to that notion of presence, of presence as the fruit itself.

Jour 87: Grace

We convene at Café Bresil, returning to the site of our first meeting with Thomas for the closure of our Biennoise loop. We have not been back here all together since May, in the precursory months of the sculpture. Today the de-installation of the ambassade commences; the traces of our walks that have resided on the walls, our subjective map that has become fused to the map of Bienne, our objective map with a heavy dose of scotch tape à la Hirschhorn.

The eighty-six days of the Robert Walser Sculpture have vanished, as almost in a flash, like the green light that supposedly appears momentarily when the sun ducks down into the horizon before disappearing. Everything is in place to return to Geneva; the anarchive [1], the chariot [2], and our affectionately weathered map of Bienne, rolled up like a carpet, and stuffed into a van, carrying with it an amalgam of smells from the sculpture. We say our goodbyes – Lore dashes off to Zurich, Charles, Delphine and Yves transport the artifacts of the ambassade de dandelion back to Geneva, and I remain to linger for a few days in Bienne. In the acknowledgement of exchanging goodbyes not always insinuating an end, the goodbyes of today resemble a door left ajar.

Come five o clock, I am sitting in the sculpture staring at its vacant armature, each chamber newly hollow, yet with apparitions of the faces reverberating through the space. Why do I linger? It is the eighty-seventh day, a phantom day, the day in which all ceases to pulse at the Robert Walser Sculpture. Yet there is still Roman, Bridel, Malick, and company all laughing into the afternoon, as if nothing has changed, as if the 87th day is just as ripe as the 86th and all of its precedents. And I too am still here, laughing tenderly alongside them into the afternoon on this phantom of a day. 

[1] The anarchive was a tool constructed by the collective to house various artifcats and traces. The concept of the anarchive makes reference to action-research models, conveying the notion of an archive that is neither fixed nor determined, allowing for future forms of activation, perpetuating the idea of research in permanent construction. 

[2] Implemented as a mobile extension of the ambassade de dandelion that allowed the collective to transport materials during activities outside of the sculpture. In the field, the object was both a starting and gathering point for activity, inviting playful interaction and igniting modes of reclamation of urban space by children.
Published in September 2020,
HEAD – Genève,
Haute école d'art et de design