Le Signal Soulac-sur-Mer - France


Le Signal, built in 1967 in Soulac-sur-Mer, is under threat from erosion. On 8th December 2014, an municipal order obliged all the residents to permanently evacuate their apartments. Once abandoned, the building was vandalised.

Since December 2014, my work on Le Signal has incorporated several installations, drawing inspiration from successive events, scientific data collected and the building’s progressive deterioration. This project will end with the destruction of Le Signal.

Shooting photos and videos
The Signal – Soulac-sur-mer
November 2014

“Here we’ve been happy”
November 2014

First projection onto Le Signal (side facing the street): a phrase photographed in one of the apartments.

Le signal-1659

November 2014

Projection onto the building (side facing the ocean): a curtain blowing in the wind through a broken window in one apartment.

18 curtains
Video installation
January 2015

Life-size projection of 18 apartment windows in the building.

Coefficients 117
February 2015

High tide, with the wind whistling through the windows.
Audio recorded inside Le Signal.

120 string beats

Projection onto Le Signal (side facing the ocean), with the sound of a halyard smacking against a mast.
Audio recorded on the seawall at Amélie beach.

46 times in summer
February 2015

Installation: table lamp and chair recovered from one of the Signal apartments.
Projection: view of the ocean through the broken window of one of the Signal apartments.
Audio: ‘46 fois l’été‘ (’46 times in summer’), text written, read and recorded by Sophie Poirier.


Installation: a broom and a cleaning rota found in the communal areas of Le Signal.
Projection: sweeping the stairwells in the abandoned Signal building.

Le signal-entretient-BD-3871

February 2015

Projection onto Le Signal (side facing the dunes): a flyer found in the lobby of the building.

Le signal-entretient-BD-7828

Tide of the century
21 March 2015

“2015 is an unusual year because we have a series of tides with coefficients close to 120, which is the maximum.
We call these years ‘tides of the century’. But this term isn’t technically correct as these ‘tides of the century’ occur once every 18 years”,
 says Patrick Santurette, head of Marine and Oceanography at Météo-France, the French national weather service.

Installation on location:
– During the ‘tide of the century’, from 5:15 am until sunrise, onto the ocean-facing side of the building, in Soulac-sur-Mer, on Saturday 21st March.
– Two video projectors, two 2000-Watt speakers
– Video projection: Curtains fluttering from 18 apartment windows in Le Signal
– Soundtrack audio:’46 fois l’été‘ (’46 times in summer’) written by Sophie Poirier.

Biarritz Signal
July 2015

Projection of an image of Biarritz Casino (which is also threatened by coastal erosion).
Inspired by the scientific views of Pierre Philippe, Director of Research at IRSTEA (National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture) in Aix-en-Provence that specialises in the study of soil erosion on hydraulic structures. The centre in Aix focuses on natural risks and vulnerable ecosystems.

Le signal de biarritz-9709

The Signal / Dike
July 2015

Building a wall of sand in front of Le Signal, to protect it or to make it disappear. Truck found inside the building.

April 2018, the real truck :

Work continues. The final installation will deal with the destruction of Le Signal.

At this time (February 2018), the progressively vandalised Signal still stands.
Pierre Philippe explains two possible theories for its ultimate demise:
– Destruction by nature
– Destruction by man (due to court rulings).