Saturday, 8 November 2008

French Facts: Untergunther UX

The Untergunther is a clandestine group with a mission to restore the neglected heritage in Paris. It is a member of the UX, a coalition of groups sharing complementary activities, which include The Mouse House and La Mexicaine De Perforation.

These self-styled "guerilla preservationists" have more than a few notable achievements. For one they built an entire cinema within the catacombs under Chaillot Hill, just a few meters from the Eiffel tower. Unfortunately for them this popular social spot, which had a well stocked bar, was accidentally discovered by police on a training exercise. 

The group's most famous exploit would have to be the repair and renovation of the famous Panthéon clock.


In September 2005, the Untergunther secretly established a workshop at the top of the Panthéon, a major tourist attraction in the Latin Quarter.

Their goal was to repair the famous WAGNER 19th-century clock. These repairs took a full year, right under the noses of the Panthéon authorities.

"When we had finished the repairs, we had a big debate on whether we should let the Panthéon's officials know or not," said Lazar Klausmann, a spokesperson for the Untergunther. "We decided to tell them in the end so that they would know to wind the clock up so it would still work.

There was lots of drama, some members of the group were arrested and charged but the Judge eventually threw these out of court. The Panthéon director was replaced and somewhere in this melee the clock was intentionally damaged and is once again awaiting repair.  The Untergunther say that this is "on their list"....

1 comment:

  1. On their website you can see a video of one of their mission, with the actor Griff Rhys Jones.