Base Martha

Base Martha

It's a distinctive site, full of history. Nestled in the autonomous port of Marseille, this bunker (codenamed Martha) was to become the main base for German submarines in the Mediterranean. It was started by Nazi Germany in May 1943. The massive landing of the Allied forces in August 1944 marked the end of the construction. The work was never completed and all it was missing was the launching.

It is a colossus of raw reinforced concrete, 251 meters long and 45 meters wide, protected by a high wall, facing the sea. The structure was supposed to resist 10-ton bombs, with a 7-meter-thick roof, and surrounding walls nearly 3 meters thick. Its excessiveness makes it indestructible. In 1944, this bunker represented the German presence in Marseille. Considered a wart in the 1960s, it became part of the city's urban history heritage in the 1980s.Today, its requalification as a DATA CENTER, gives it a new functional and architectural perspective.

The work of Roxane Daumas questions spaces in transition. From the impact of deindustrialization on the ergonomics of Walloon cities, to the abundance of unfinished architecture present in many parts of the world, each subject developed by the artist takes the imprint of human activity on our daily landscapes. Social and economic activity, the successive political choices of regional planning, history, and fashions, each parameter impacts our living spaces in successive layers.

The Martha Base is a particularly edifying and charged site, as it refers directly to a dark and recent episode in our history, the Second World War and its horrors. The presence of the Nazis can still be read on the walls of the colossus (Bavarian rock paintings, swastikas, German writings). One cannot escape the projection of human folly and war. The Martha Base, which has remained unsettled for more than 75 years, is marked by time, it can be guessed from the extraordinary complexity of the concrete. The photos were taken the week before the restructuring work. Each drawing is based on a photographic work upstream. However, the photographs are treated in the perspective of the drawings. Each area of ​​the image is reworked, sculpted to extract the sensitive essence of the subject matter. A constant opposition between attraction and repulsion,

The drawing fantasizes the blacks. Large formats, framing, contrast and density participate in the elaboration of a fictional reality. The spatial and functional reading of the place becomes blurred.

The realistic construction of the drawings refers to the photographic medium and to a certain form of reality. Bichromate erasers are more pictorial although they are photographic objects.

This duality between these two mediums reinforces the questioning of what is or has been. Each representation participates in the patrimonialization of the monument. Eaten away by the stigmata of time, this concrete colossus becomes an emblematic vestige of our time, the temple, the witness, the paradigm of our contemporary madness.

This site is intended to house and protect a digital data center, data that are today at the heart of the issues at stake in the organization of our contemporary world.

Base Martha

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