Take a tour of a fictional entertainment resort.
The Burj Al Babas housing development in Mudurnu, Turkey, was designed to attract wealthy golf tourists, with luxury villas that offered a pastiche of a French chateau. Construction began in 2014, but after five years the project was abandoned, resulting in a huge waste of finances and materials and hundreds of unsold three-storey houses. The dream of a valley full of Disney castles has replaced by a ghost town—250,000 square metres of cement smothering the formerly green landscape.
Burj Al Babas is a fable for our time, a story of waste, of financial and political decision-making and of greed. But it could also be an opportunity. Sleeping Beauties turns this ghost town into a summer resort that could generate a new source of income for a UNESCO World Heritage region. In Humbert’s vision, visitors pay €10 to walk around and photograph the 732 three-story royal villas, inventing their own narratives to fill the empty rooms.
For the exhibition GEO–DESIGN: Junk. All That Is Solid Melts into Trash, Humbert has created an immersive film installation of this speculative resort.
Written and directed by Alexandre Humbert
Voice: Aimée Betancourt
Music composition: Arnaud Pujol
Additional music: “Poor Aurora,” Sleeping Beauty, Walt Disney Records, 1959
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World Heritage Convention, “Historic Guild Town of Mudurnu,” UNESCO, 2015. Link
Alexandre Humbert is a director and conceptual designer constructing cinematographic objects. Since graduating from the Design Academy Eindhoven, Alexandre has collaborated with a broad range of designers and cultural institutions to animate things through motion picture. His understanding of the design process guides him to explore the close relationship that exists between humans and objects through installations, fiction and experimental films.
Based between Paris and Amsterdam, his works have been presented internationally and are part of the collection of Design Museum Gent and MUDAM Luxembourg. In parallel to his practice, Humbert is a mentor at Design Academy Eindhoven, Iceland University of the Arts, ENSCI Les Ateliers, HEAD Geneva and HDK Göteborg.