Castles Made of Sand

Castles made of sand, 2015-2016
500 x 160 x 200 cm height
Conveyors, pneumatics, stainless steel mould, tide clock, automation, sensor, video

Castles Made of Sand is a site-specific installation conceived to be temporarily installed in a small office space near the top of a skyscraper in downtown Toronto. The installation can be described as a production line that casts sand castles, dispatches them for a journey on a convoyer belt, and eventually sends them to crumble. The sand is then recuperated and recycled and a new castle created. The construction and destruction of the castle follows  the position of the moon in the sky, which influences the tides on earth. These astronomical phenomena trigger the cycle and the passerby can witness the rise and fall of castles – ephemeral architectures that drift past the windows and topple down in front of the city skyline. The machine operates at a very  slow pace. By decelerating the mechanical process the piece produces a contemplative experience in which the frail fortresses expose their temporal existence and their vulnerability, but also enable a recurrent new beginning.

Michel de Broin
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Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid


CURATOR Dawn Cain, Curator, BMO Corporate Art Collection; ASSISTED BY Elisa Coish, Curatorial Associate, BMO Corporate Art Collection; DEVELOPMENT AND STUDIO ASSISTANCE Antonio Bacichetti, Jérôme Roy, Samuel Saint-Aubin, Matthew Palmer, Fred Monast, Pascal Dufaux; ELECTRONICS AND PROGRAMMING Antonio Bacichetti, Samuel Saint-Aubin; ELECTRICAL BY H.M.B. Controls Ltd. ; CONSULTANTS Luc Doyon, Pierre Fournier, Jean-Pierre Aubé, Cristian Costea (ASCO Numatics), Jonathan Killing (Toque Innovations), Sebastien Dallaire (Generique design): VIDEO Jean-Pierre Aubé; INSTALLATION ASSISTANCE BY Brian Gravestock, Dustin Baldwin, Erik Wiancko

I am grateful for the contributions of all who assisted in this project and to Galerie Division for their ongoing support. And a final thank you to BMO Financial Group for commissioning this work.