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Empire of carboard
When we stumbled upon Jean Bodoc’s crazy project, we were really impressed. This French artist decided to create a whole Tie-Fighter from Star Wars, by using only recycled materials, and cardboard. A hell of a project. But even if Jean is a bit crazy, he also is a big fan and a talented sculptor. The aim of the project is to create the more accurate sculpture possible, using archives, and his great talent to be as precise as possible. He was kind enough to answer a few questions, without the need to use an interrogator droïd !
Follow his work here :
1/ Hi Jean, can you introduce yourself to our readers ?
My name is Jean Bodoc, I am a sculptor working with various materials, mostly abandoned. My last challenge is to create a spaceship using second-hand cardboard!
I am often compared to an eclipse, but this is not the sole effect of my glasses. My relatives often say that I have this tendency to bring a peculiar light on things that are said to reveal new areas of reality. Well, I have to confess that being trapped into a single dimension is quite unbearable to me.
I can hardly tell about my background, tales are getting all the more confusing: there are tales about paper model making when I was a child, paintings and drawings without prior teaching, then a graphist experience. Other sources report a guy that was an engineer by day, newspaper layout designer by night, possibly developer at noon time. There might be a strange story about a “cavalerie”. Everyone is invited to build up the real story!
By the way, as long as this interview goes, I invite you to wear my binocles. I know they don’t look so but we can perfectly see with them on!
2/ How long have you been using cardboard ? What decided you to use this matter ?
I spent a bunch of time hanging into space. All I can say is that, where one can find an intelligent lifeform that has lost ground with its natural environment, it always generates wastes – in a MASSIVE way. I have crossed true intergalactic waste lands produced by these so-called civilized Republics, while they eventually end up in social and environmental isolation!
I was passing by one of these celestial waste sites when I got struck: I felt a great urge to reintegrate this matter left behind, to use it again and magnify it. This is as a part of reality that these Republics don’t want to see, that they do not want to take care of – I was seized by the need to twist this reality!
Then I started to collect this abandoned matter. First it was paper and various types of metals from which popped several creations, mainly miniatures. This project is my first using cardboard and thanks to it I could make a complete change of scale.
3/ Tell us everything about your incredible Tie-Fighter project !
Actually, this is not my idea at all! I was hanging around here and there in dark, very dark corners of dematerialized networks, attentive to whatever could come out.
Following a rumour out there from space corridors, I made a stop at a bar said to be owned by the Empire. I was about to order when a metallic voice raced past me and ordered a “Dark Side of the Mule” cocktail. A thrill went over me – Darh Vader was here!
This night, he challenged the whole universe into creating a physical artefact made out from the Force! A brouhaha immediately came up and it was as if I got caught into another dimension. By my Binocles! The next moment, I recovered my consciousness, but on the shoulders of a giant wookiee, into an absolute silence. And the bartender to throw: “Very well Bodoc! Darth Vader’s spaceship, here’s a nice one!”
4/ Where do you work, what’s your daily organization ?
Yes, now I do have a very large workshop! But this hasn’t always been this way: I started in a little workshop at Alfortville that was all fitting, but ideas started to pile up at some point. Then I told myself that I wanted a little bit more space. I opened the door of this little workshop and I said: this will also be my workspace. But then again, space quickly run scarce, so each time I opened the door and what was behind becomes the workshop.
With Vader’s ship, I needed even more space – to store the cardboard, to welcome the team and mount the whole set. That was a real warehouse hall I needed! Therefore I opened as many doors as was required and here I am.
5/ Is your piece over yet ? Can such a project ever be finished ?
The little band is still at work: at the time these words are recorded, it is swarming around in the warehouse, here new scrap hills are rising, there a choreography happens again and again in order to assemble and adjust different parts.
The initial objective was to end by late december, but well, we had issues with a mice rebellion, so we should finish the ship by the end of january. There was a major risk that Vader cast a shadow over our dear celebrations, so for now we keep it secret!
We regularly communicate on the progress, we invite you to take a look on the website! All the more than several other pieces will be added around the spaceship building: brilliant shootings, Vader for real, ever more epic episodes to read, not to forget Bodoc-leaked time-lapses until its final cut.
This is all very well, but does that mean the journey will be over?
Certainly, there will be some demands for additional options, Jawa disco-lights here and an Ewok’n’sleep there. However, the workshop seems willing to be overflowing and I could say that somebody has visibly opened another door… We can all bet that there will be some more cardboard around, and I can even imagine that paper and metal will be invited this time!
6/ It is obvious that you want to be as accurate as possible, how do you manage to do so ?
Sources, it’s a whole independent story! To define the lengths of the ship is like a quest that makes you travel all around litterature and dimensions. I can even say that a full research field exists on this topic, underlining the many conflicts that exist – unfortunately up to this day, there is no consensus.
Given the challenge, it was unbelievable to stay blocked on scale paradoxes and this was even the start of the journey. Equipped with a Bandaï model and the specific Haynes manual, I worked my own way while allowing myself some deviations.
We then fall into a labyrinth of scales and measures. I could get a specialized droïd that could compile these measurements and adapt them – poor thing, it went under some severe overheating at times! All the more as it was programmed to provide millimetered plans. Anyway, in the end I don’t stick exactly to these plans, what’s important is what my binocles say.
7/ Why a Star Wars ship ? What’s your relationship with the saga ?
As I previously said, everything went so fast, out of my control! This moment of visible deconnection probably hides what went into this saga to catch this ship. And well, who is not familiar with Star Wars? Even without being an absolute fan, its characters and spaceships, planets and galaxies, this mysterious Force and its dark side – doesn’t that find an echo somewhere inside us?
This was shared with the rest of the Bande, the true connection with the Saga was either found, either renewed while working on the construction of the TIE Fighter. To be honest, the workshop even ended up opening on the Star Wars universe, becoming another small star among this sky already filled up by those who previously did the same.
The luminous part of my soul is electrified thinking that by joining us in this journey, by letting your own imagination take the controls, you could yourself push its corners a little bit further!
8/ Why a Tie-Fighter especially ?
Yes, there could have been so many more! But you see, then I would have to explain this choice to Vader:
“Wait, I’ll make the regular TIE Fighter, you know the one all very basic, without wookiee-toaster, with the stormtrooper they painted black to turn in into a pilot”.
9/ Can you tell us about your daily routine in your workshop ?
The best is to open the door and take a look!
I am in charge of the design, cuts for the frame, those considered more sensitive and the assembly together with its adjustments. In parallel, I orchestrate a complete team – the famous Bande à Bodoc. Composed by many, it is split over strategic positions.
I have spot help for repetitive works: land-cutters to replicate pieces based on models, glue-gunners pasting in all directions with this typical “bzliiit!”, then riveters, welders, drillers, et cetera. We progress piece by piece before testing sub-units compatibility.
The workshop is a vast land of cardboard, dunes that are layering the floor, with its ever falling something. The threat that it becomes an internal enemy is real! We have to carry on repeated efforts to contain this everything in addition to the flow of material in and out with enhanced safety.
We know that Rebels are watching us somewhere, so the Empire also sent more troops to ensure the protection of the most strategic spots of the warehouse: glue stocks, land-cutter parks and many more.
Not to forget the media team, always here to catch all these impressions that cross the location with photos, videos and texts.
A work session means a lot of ambient noise and troops have to be kept motivated, so we decided to install massive imperial speakers that could turn this side of the Force from dark to pale!
10/ What’s next ?!
Once this is done, let us get in, put on the harness and go straight to Vader!
Well, I happen to have a number of demands here and there so I’ve planned little detours, that could become a real tour next year. You will be able to follow up my adventure on the web, I promise.
Ah! And this will be an occasion to participate to the Decauville Intergalactic Fair, not far from Voisins-le-Bretonneux in the Yvelines, France – for those interested, you need to make sure you have your parking space reserved as they will pretty much get scarce!
11/ How many hours of work did this Tie Fighter take to make ?
If I forecast it, we might be around 23B4A0 hexa-seconds. Or 1010001010 bina-hours, I am a little at lost with systems. This should match around 4 earth months.
12/ What’s your relationship with Star Wars, and with pop culture in general ?
We can picture pop culture as galaxies that are sending their lights and waves all the way to us. For the ones that can still emit from the past, we can feel an emotion that is ever and always renewed. The ones from nowadays operate an influence that cannot be escaped. All of them go through us, live into us, shaping a common space that connects a large number of us.
What is this space? What is this mystery? For Bodoc, this is the place where a journey starts!
Despite the merchant and accumulative disease that strikes pop culture, we can hear its call for exploring it! Facing a feeling of exile and passivity, we are invited to rewrite and extend it, to change our way of looking, with different and new angles.
That is not a mere visit of the imaginary: just like when we come back from a travel, we may not see it, but something has changed.
… Hey, and so what? What about my glasses? Now is the time to get them back to me – however, I invite you to build your own ones: shape, materials, colors that you want. You can even create several of them in case of indecision. But most importantly – make them yours!
In short :
Favorite movie :
The Fantômas Menace
Favorite book :
A Trigger-Happy Sheep Case
We like it when Murakami is venting bizarre on his story just like a puzzle!
Favorite comics / manga :
Blake et Mortimer: Professor Bodoc’s Three Binocles
Favorite video game :
Silent Hill: The Return.
A mix of Cooper, damn good coffee and a pyramid Bob!