1st Price – Cécile Gaudard – The caretakers

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The first prize is awarded to Cécile Gaudard for her project “The caretakers – An exploration on a traumatized landscape”.

Recently graduated from ENSA Paris- the project of Cécile Gaudard is composed of 6 black-and-white felt-tip and ink drawings, the project was praised by the jury for its aesthetic and narrative qualities. Rooted in the Forez mountains in France, Cécile Gaudard proposes a reappropriation of a mountain landscape altered by the Anthropocene era, by transforming a ski resort into a cheese production site. By highlighting the harmful effects of the forestry industry on landscapes, the project suggests finding a balance between preserving the environment and maintaining current economies and lifestyles.

The caretakers – an exploration on a traumatized landscape

In the rural expanse of the Forezian Moutains in France, where the population density stands at 8.5 residents per square kilometer, lies the Lignon watercourse. This waterway meanders through the region, eventually merging its flow with the Loire River. Within this picturesque setting, several distinctive features shape the landscape: an ongoing granite quarry operation, which recently secured a 30-year extension; a ski resort grappling with insufficient winter snowfall, contemplating a transformation into a year-round destination through enhanced infrastructure; the presence of 66 mountain-installed chairlift poles; a freshly constructed water reservoir, boasting a 45,000 m3 capacity, dedicated to artificial snow generation; the existence of four dams and five sawmills; the traversal of high-voltage power lines and a Hertzian station; seven dairy farms and three other farming establishments. Cumulatively, these activities and developments a threat over the Lignon watercourse and its ecosystem.

The main challenge we face today is how to inhabit and coexist on a land that has experienced significant trauma. Specifically, our area has been affected by the consequences of excessive winter sports activities, leading to a lack of snow that now slow down these activities. The question underneath is how leading an approach that does not advocate for a complete cessation of all activities in the region but to have an alternative approach to harmoniously inhabit the area and reevaluate the situation.

To embark on this exploration through a fictional lens, we narrate a tale driven by those who have played a role in shaping the actual landscape and how they will now become its guardians. For instance, shepherds will guide their flocks to summer pastures, and fishermen will take care of the waterways. Our story is organised around the primary watercourse, which uses its power periodically to generate energy. This process allows for the reintroduction of sustainable ways of life and economic practices on a broader scale across the territory. In essence, we aim to create a harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship between humans and the environment, enabling a new era of coexistence and prosperity.