Décosterd & Rahm

Born in 1963 in Lausanne (CH) / Born in 1967 in Pully (CH)
lives and works in Lausanne (CH)/ Lives and works in Paris (CH)

Peinture placebo©

15 CH ginger placebo paint and 15 CH orange blossom placebo paint, 10000 instructions
Year of Purchase: 2003

There has been tremendous interest of late in so-called “natural” medicine, the irrational adjunct to the incredible scientific developments that have taken place in genetic engineering and chemical therapy. These natural modalities include aromatherapy, homeopathy and flower-based remedies, not to mention anti-stress perfumes, birch-juice depuratives, linden relaxing massage cream and tonic hydrating oil with green maté and ginger. The alternative medicines and other natural therapeutic methods, which are termed “irrational” because they have no scientific foundation, are unquantifiable, and cannot be reproduced experimentally, seem to be the expression of a superstitious ideology celebrating harmony of the senses, ecology and a certain form of humanism that resists the reductive technicality of modern science. To avoid thinking of magic in order to understand and accept alternative medicines on a rational basis, we must revert to the scientific notion of the placebo, which, although still quite mysterious, nevertheless points to certain neurobiological and endocrine mechanisms at work in this type of therapy.

A placebo stimulates the production of endogenous substances. By this fact, and since their action is completely dependent on the psychological make-up of the individual, the placebo seems to be a humanistic key within the organic nature of man. As such, it is an expression of free will. Given the disconcerting simplicity of action of genetics and its terrible efcacy, its effective reduction of human nature to the organic level, the notion of the placebo restores to a scientific context the elements of freedom and humanism that seem to have been marginalized for a number of years. The placebo paint offers the kind of stimulation characteristic of a placebo. By incorporating an infinitesimal amount of ginger or orange blossom into industrial white paint, we seek to designate the intended purpose of a room outside the realm of any visual or plastic representation. For instance, for the painting of the second floor of the Frac Lorraine, we offer a paint containing a high dilution of orange blossom of 1/1030, i.e. 15 CH.

At this dilution ratio, no active ingredient can be documented by academic pharmacology. Placebo paint© gives off no odor other than the industrial odor of the base product. Nor is it distinguished by a particular color. Odorless and invisible, placebo paint© acts solely via the placebo effect by imparting a psychological attribute to the space. On the first floor, we propose erotic stimulation walls and ceilings painted with a placebo paint© containing a 15 CH dilution of ginger. It is our ambition to act on a pre-sensory level, to create a sort of infra-functionalist architecture, generating its forms within the neurological and endocrine space of the body. The orange blossom floor will be relaxing. The ginger floor will be charged with eroticism.

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