christian boltanski: the heart archive
christian boltanski: the heart archive christian boltanski: the heart archive
aug 08, 2010

christian boltanski: the heart archive

‘the heart archive’ , 2010 mage © yasuhide kuge, courtesy naoshima fukutake art museum foundation.

‘the heart archive’, originally titled ‘les archives du coeur’ is a creative endeavour by french artist christian boltanski. permanently installed on the island of teshima in the seto inland sea,  the project showcases boltanski’s collection of heartbeat recordings captured since 2005 from thousands of people who have previously visited the exhibition.

christian boltanski talks about ‘the heart archive’

‘the heart archive’ , 2010 mage © yasuhide kuge, courtesy naoshima fukutake art museum foundation.

the archives are kept in a single story structure in front of the sea. through a computer screen, visitors who enter the structure are provided with information about the heartbeats that are being played in surrounding hallway rooms. these spaces are only illuminated by a single light source, while the walls are covered with framed black panels of various sizes. a secondary room allows users to search through the database holding all the archives of heartbeats. finally, a tertiary space is allocated to those who would like to have their own heartbeat recorded and subsequently become part of the exhibition.

‘the heart archive’ (2010). image © yasuhide kuge, courtesy naoshima fukutake art museum foundation.

this gathering process is a continuation of boltanski’s career-long examination of the issues of death, memory, disappearance and loss. in doing so, he is assuming the role of ethnographer, establishing a record of humanity and offering to immortalize all of us equally.

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    art news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    502,393 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample