Recuperation [chapter]

David Calder
2019 Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space  
It is 2015, and I am standing in a garden. I approach the metal plant with caution. Its roots and vines, a dense thicket of pipes, curve and curl across 12 square metres of grass. Scrap metal flowers, larger than human heads, their petals open, rise above the elegant arabesque (see figure 5 .1). Stepping towards the structure I trigger its self-defence mechanism: a kind of sonic warfare. The quiet of the garden is broken by a low hum, insect-like, but unmistakeably electronic. I draw nearer,
more » ... . I draw nearer, and the drone becomes a whine. I slow my approach but continue, tentatively extending feet and hands to test the structure's range. The plant now emits beeps and whistles, atonal arpeggios, flurries of sonic, electronic activity. I move closer still and the sound intensifies, rising in pitch, quickening in tempo, and darkening in tone. I withdraw. The noise calms and subsides to nothing, leaving only the ambient sounds of the cloistered garden. Leaves rustle in the breeze. From beyond the garden walls I hear the faint sound of music and milling crowds: the buzz of the annual street theatre festival at Chalon-sur-Saône. As part of that festival, multimedia artist Fabrice Giraud and arts collective Zo Prod have installed this interactive sculpture, Le murmure des plantes 2.0 (The whisper of plants 2.0, first created in 2013), in the Jardin de l'Arquebuse. Giraud's installation is not the first industrial vegetation to spring up at a French street theatre festival. Whereas Le murmure des plantes 2.0 consists of a single, physically immobile sculpture, Compagnie Fer
doi:10.7765/9781526147288.00010 fatcat:exe3habjmratjdrshqj7uxneay