Tunnel of light

At the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Preservation is Life installation uses 80 000 condom-like light bulbs to draw attention to the HIV/Aids pandemic.

Preservation is Life is the title of designer Bryan McCormack’s HIV/Aids awareness installation at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

The installation, which can be seen until 5 December 2011, extends over every floor of the building, using what looks like rainbow-coloured condoms.

Preservation is Life occupies every landing of the Centre’s external escalator, as well as creating a viewpoint from the sixth floor. This rainbow-like tunnel, which consists of cylindrical bulbs covered in glass-like plastic condoms, change hues on every floor.

A total of 80 000 bulbs were used to realise this condom installation. Alongside the installation audio of a human heartbeat can be heard, serving to illustrate the idea of preservation as a form of safety and a way of staying alive.

Condoms are the iconic motif of the installation, taking this form of contraception and abstracting it into a visual experience that encourages the viewer to think about it in a different way. McCormack’s aim with the installation is to disassociate the condom from sex, sexuality, eroticism and the like, to present it rather as an independent object.

McCormack explains: “By deliberately setting viewers within this disconcerting installation the artist creates a tension, fracturing and dispersing the object and freeing their perceptions of it.”

Preservation is Life is part of teh centre's annual AIDS fundraising campaign.