Activity number : 14 Cénotaphe 0

  • Installation

All around the world, buildings, districts and cities are being built at a breathtaking speed. However, they share a common peculiarity: their lifespan is so short and, in consequence, they have been designated as “ghost cities”, “tofu buildings” or  “instant ruins”.

These spaces go directly from being building sites to ruins and are abandoned as soon as they are completed.

Cenotaph 0 is a mechanised installation that continuously assembles and demolishes sculptural elements made of concrete. This includes an urban landscape of a city decimated over and over again in an ongoing cycle. A second landscape is buried in the installation, in which the building waste is gathered. A moving camera system provides a live moving shot inside the bowels of the city offering the spectator a proportional representation of the art work.

A cenotaph is a funeral monument that houses no body. This city also has no inhabitants; it has been deserted since its first hour and seemingly has no real use. This anti-architecture is nothing more than the promise of a function; it will never be inhabited.

Born in 1991, Thomas Garnier is a contemporary and visual artist who formally trained as an architect.  He received his masters degree in 2016 and then studied for two years at Le Fresnoy Studio National des Arts Contemporains where he obtained his diploma with honours in 2018.  He received the special award Révélation Arts Numériques from the ADAGP, for his art installation Cénotaphes also known as Cénotaphe O.

His work embraces the role of an artist but also of a researcher, an “Heteropolgue” as Michel Foucault would describe it in his text “Les espaces autres”.

Whether achieved by reworking still or moving images, the installation of automated and spatial mechanisms, his work leads you into ephemeral and parallel visions, an archaeology of a derived world stuck between feverish onirism and deafening brutality.


A production Le Fresnoy, Studio national des arts contemporains, 2018.


‘Une réflexion métaphorique pleine d’inventivité’ – ARTE TV

‘Une machine infernale qui tisse ses lignes avec justesse’ – Huffpost

‘Ou quand le temps de la ville, celui-là des architectes ou urbanistes, ne s’accorde plus guère avec le rythme effréné dicté par les usages numériques émergeants’ – TK21

Thank you:

Une production Fresnoy Studio National des Arts Contemporains
Mecatronique / Programme: Nicolas Guichard

  • Le Fresnoy