Artist Anthony Powis envisioned 'Libertatia,” An Anarchist Theme Park. The fantasy park explores the contradiction between French revolutionary sentiment and formalist planning by re-creating historical events as attractions and programmatic elements within a contrived master plan. Central to the plan is a monumental column, similar to the Place Vendome, caught in the state of collapse. The artists also created ‘a radical architectural souvenir and a subversion of the traditional 'grand tour' model. This one collapses like a push puppet child’s toy. You press the bottom of the base up, and the figure collapses.
I contacted the artist, Anthony Powis, who explained that the toy
was a speculative prototype for a 'souvenir' as part of the larger theme park project.
“I was interested in the function of souvenirs as 'memorials' of buildings,
which reflected the wider aim of the project which looked into preservation and
reconstruction of monuments. What was particularly interesting about the
column, for me, was that it is most often reproduced 'complete' but has a much
more interesting history: it was pulled down during the Paris Commune in 1871
but later rebuilt. This event - when the column was pulled down - has been
recorded in etchings, which I found much more arresting than images of the
column as rebuilt. So I proposed to make a full size replica of the column,
frozen in half collapse. The souvenir, which is like a toy, has an elastic core
so that it springs up and down, splitting into pieces and reforming as it does
so, thus commemorating a particular event rather than the monument's supposed
'permanent' state.” Powis wrote.