Nightlights of Pont Aven

Public installation + Performance    2008    Pont Aven, Brittany, France


In Pont Aven, France, the city is ringed with light poles. Each night, the lights extinguish roughly around midnight to save energy.  The city is instantly plunged into darkness. Often unnoticed, the lightpoles carry another unique characteristic: they are designed as ladders for city workers to climb. Coincidentally, the footholds also share a similar design element to the niche spaces found in local churches that contain saint sculptures. This similarity in shape was the impetus to create new "reliquaries" in the cityscape.

Niche ladder spaces in a light pole at the edge of the city were white washed. Beeswax candles in the traditional Bretagne style were created.  In the evening, when the lights of the city turned off, I climbed the poles and lit candles in each niche space on the lightpole as a public performance. Caligraphic burn marks in the white washed interior left traces of the event.


As an extension of the Nightlights of Pont Aven project, 13 residents of Pont Aven were invited to choose an object of significance from their daily lives to to be installed in the light pole to form a temporary local relic. From stumps, to baptism bracelets, to pate dish lids, each person chose a different object. We met as a group and shared the narratives of the relics and installed them in the niches of the lightpole.



Concept + Performance: Kate Clark

Community Reliquary Project Co-Development: Kira Akerman

Project Support: Centre d'art International (CIAC) Pont Aven, France

Documentation: Karen Adelman (video) William Earl Kofmehl III (stills) Annie Fisher (stills)




Pont Aven Reliquaries

Public Installation + Performance // November 2008 // Pont Aven, Brittany, France