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Castles Made of Sand

ICRA 2019: Robots and Art Program

IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation 

May 20-24, 2019 Montreal, Canada

Castles Made of Sand

Castles Made of Sand is a site-specific installation conceived to be temporarily installed in a small office space located near the top of a skyscraper in downtown Toronto. The installation functions as a production line that casts sand castles, dispatches them for a journey along a conveyor belt, and eventually sends them forward to crumble. The sand is then collected and recycled to create a new castle. This cyclical construction and destruction of the castle is set to the relative position of the moon in the sky as it influences the tides. As this astronomical phenomena triggers this cycle, passersby can witness the rise and fall of castles – ephemeral architectures that drift past the windows and topple down in front of the city skyline. Operating at a very slow pace, Castles Made of Sand actively decelerates the mechanical process; producing a contemplative experience in which frail fortresses expose a vulnerable temporal existence while at the same time enabling a perpetual new beginning.


Michel de Broin deepens his cross-disciplinary practice by developing an ever-expanding visual vocabulary. His approach to production explores the intersections between technological, biological, and physical systems. Crafting unforeseen relationships between waste, productivity, consumption and risk, de Broin challenges the use-value and conventional associations of familiar objects and symbols: he infuses them new meaning and develops new contexts.

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Michel de Broin