Shoe for Justine et Juliette
The full title of this project is Shoe for Justine & Juliette (for walking in Slow Architecture). This shoe is part of the biomechanical extension series Michael developed since 1998. The shoe operates in a world of multiple possibilities, where one object can be many by engaging with the transformative powers of mechanics.
Michael designed the Shoe for Justine et Juliette an experiment towards conceiving of a soft machine as prosthetic, where the prosthetic learns from the body, while the body learns from the prosthetic.
The shoe presents a possibility for the protagonists of Marquees de Sade’s novels Justine, or The Misfortunes of Virtue (1791) and Juliette, or Vice Amply Rewarded (1801) to encounter each other’s world. The shoe is accompanied by a short text.
Justine – who is familiar with every nuance of misfortune as she struggles to maintain her virtue in a world of sin – wears the shoe with the heel collapsed into the shoe. By unfolding her prosthetic heel she is able to assume the conditions of her sister, Juliette – who embraces the libertine philosophy that Justine shies away from and engages in virtually every form of depravity – by wearing the shoe with an extended heel. Juliette can collapse the heel of her shoe, thus assuming the state of Justine. The shoe enables Justine and Juliette not only to transgress their identities, but also to adapt to a slowly changing architectural environment.
In the Dialectic of Enlightenment (1973 ) Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer provide a discussion of de Sade’s ‘intransigent critique of practical reason.’ In the essay entitled ‘Juliette or Enlightenment and Morality’ they interpret the unheeding and calculating behaviour of Juliette as the embodiment of the philosophy of the Enlightenment. Juliette’s libertine philosophy ‘makes the scientific the destructive principle. … Justine, the virtuous sister, is a martyr for the moral law. Juliette embodies … the pleasures of attacking civilization with its own weapons. She favours system and consequence. She is a proficient manipulator of the organ of rational thought.’
Polyurethane rubber, leather, gut string, brass, steel, epoxy resin