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19 July 2015

Olivier Cablat at The Rencontres d’Arles 2015

DUCK, A Theory of Evolution


In 1930, duck farmer Martin Maurer commissioned a duck‐shaped building for his retail poultry shop in flanders, a small town on Long Island, New York. In 1972, Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour wrote Learning from Las Vegas, in which they examined the concepts of vernacular, functional, and commercial architecture. They identified two main kinds of buildings: the ‘Decorated Shed’ and the ‘duck’, the architecture of which fully expresses the functional or commercial content of a building, which is also a sculpture and a sign. The flanders shop directly influenced the DUCK concept.

In 2014, Olivier Cablat revived the idea by compiling archives, spanning a wide range of geographical areas and historical periods, made up of his own photographs, digitalised publications, and pictures from the Internet. They stress this type of architecture’s touristic value and make the most of the plethora of image databanks on the Internet.

These digital archives are the basis of DUCK, A Theory of Evolution, a genealogical study of the duck and its evolution towards mobile forms that have more or less strayed from the original concept. The project is also a reflection on the relationship between a work and the forms it can take. The DUCK project itself is con‐ stantly changing, reinventing its own theory of evolution by its embodiment in various kinds of objects (printed images, sculptures, books, films, etc.).



With support from the Swiss Confederation.

A project initially produced by Festival Images (Vevey, Switzerland), winner of the Nestlé Prize of the Vevey International Photography Award 2013-2014.

Publication: DUCK, A Theory of Evolution, RVB books/Festival images, 2014.

Exhibition venue: Grande Halle, Parc des Ateliers.



Avec le soutien de la Confédération suisse.

Projet initialement produit par le festival Images (Vevey, Suisse), lauréat de la bourse Nestlé dans le cadre du Grand Prix international de photographie de Vevey 2013-2014.

Publication : DUCK, A Theory of Evolution, éditions RVB books/festival images, 2014.

Exposition présentée à la Grande Halle, parc des Ateliers.