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"Passageiro" is installed in the most recent construction made by 3BM3 architects, in Geneva, located between two of the city's busiest avenues: R. de Lyon and Av. Aïre. The building disposes of a connecting passageway inside it, allowing pedestrians / visitors to cross from one avenue to the other. This junction point, a 25 meters long corridor, is protected by two gates that are open during the day and closed at night. This segment of the construction, both the gates and the passage, is where my project took place. My intervention, composed of 124 unique bronze casts, of open and closed eyes, modeled by myself, was produced at the local foundry of the city. The bronze casts were installed in both gates as well as all over the main wall of the passageway. This project was implemented through a partnership between HEAD - Genève, La Foncière, 3BM3 Architectes, and me.

CH-1203 Genève GE
HEAD - Genève
Paulo Wirz
La Fonciére

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Image credits by Luca Fascini (1,2,3,5,6) Image credis by Michel Giesbrecht (4)


Passageiro (2020)
Wirz Paulo
After reflecting on the functions of a gate (to close/open/protect), I started to think about the symbolic meaning of a passageway: a place of connection between two destinations, a 'transitional space', a place where things separate and connect. Such specific conditions brought me to consider the "eye", which is also an ancient symbol from the human collective imaginary, as a starting point. Wanting to abstract the eye as a pure symbol of protection and move away from its possible negative/aggressive interpretation of supreme surveillance and control, I decided to make closed, and opened eyes as well, bringing rhythm and movement to the whole composition and also new interpretations. The eye movement made me think of the popular "wink" often used for flirting, wishing good luck, or agreeing with someone, but also as a possible enigmatic communication system. The word "passageiro", has in my mother tongue (Brazilian Portuguese) two meanings: either a traveler or something ephemeral.
Sculpture / Installation
Gate A: 3 x 3,30 m; Passagesway wall: 3,50 x 25 x 3,60m; Gate B: 3 x 5,30m
The gates can be accessed every day 24/7. They are open between 06:00 AM and 22:00 PM, allowing the viewer to also visit the wall composition inside the passage. One can easily access the building either from the main entrance at R. de Lyon 77 or at the other side at Av. d'Aïre.

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