THE AGITATORS OF THE “CHANTIER MOBILE” SETTLE ON THE AMBÈS PENINSULA
2011/07/20 in Blog
Station 3 of Evento 2011’s chantier mobile (the mobile site) took place on Tuesday, July 12. The unit was established in Cantefrêne Park on the Ambès peninsula, close to the town’s thermal power station, which serves as atypical décor and starting point for this day’s theme: Industrial transition/Nature-industry/The future of the peninsula.
The afternoon started with a Walk-Evocation of the Memory of the Thermal Power Station, which ceased activity in 2005 and is being dismantled. For two hours, the public was able to explore this singular territory where nature and industry clash: an occasion to soak up the place, to walk on the geographical and historical traces of the power station, guided by the HMCA collective, made up of former power station technicians: M. Kali, M. Bompan, M. Casanova and by the collective, “Jesuisnoirdemonde.”
Upon return to the banks of Cantefrène Park’s lake, “Jesuisnoirdemonde,” with its rich interdisciplinary character (theater, landscaping and scenography) proposed its participation and a discussion of one possible Vision of the future of the peninsula. From the heart of an in situ installation acting as revelator of the beauty of the place, “Jesuisnoirdemonde” transported its public beyond the visible limits of the territory, for a moment open to the dream of a continuity for this “undecided landscape.” The installation, enhanced by the poetry of the words, evoked a utopian vision of the future wherein light-balloons would float in the place where the four chimney stacks of the former power station stand. Following the example of the period of activity of the chimneys, it would take them 30 years to float down to earth, progressively joining vegetal balloons, measurable constructions of the life which persists on this industrialized territory. For a post-industrial future of the peninsula “Jesuisnoirdemonde” proposes a border, a materialization of the in-between character of this territory made of rifts and parcels: “The utopia is therefore not a finished object. It is an arrangement, a compromise, a place which opens itself up to time.” (commentary offered by Sophie Robin, a member of the collective).
Then came the contribution by the members of the HMCA association, who are working to reconstitute the economic, sociological and human history of the site, motivated by a collective desire on the part of neighboring inhabitants and former employees to save a local historical monument, in the process of disappearing, from being forgotten. The association is still collecting the greatest possible number of witness accounts and is reflecting upon a formalization of the results. Using different tools, the artists and former power station employees work toward the common objective of conserving this memory.
CASTING OF INITIATIVES
Bordeaux’s Friche & Cheap collective, made up of a group of students from the architecture and landscaping school, are working on the rehabilitation of neglected urban sites in a transitory situation, notably through the creation of shared gardens (Carl Vernet empty lot, rue Léhon Jouhaux).
Marie Bercé turned an everyday pleasure into a professional activity by creating Mamalupa: as a self-employed chef she cooks for festivals, outdoor cafés, and dinners. She proposes a generous cuisine which goes with her conception of work and social connections. She is also the first person to have answered the Wanted ad for the mobile site: many thanks to her for her efforts. Ambès’ association, Gaïa, has taken on the mission of heightening public awareness of ecological matters and works on eco-citizen actions like the creation of family gardens.
Ambès’ local council for youth, represented by its young Mayoress, participates in numerous cultural and communal activities with Ambès residents: performances, group gardens, aid to senior citizens. Marius Petitpas is a dance association based in Ambès which proposes, in partnership with the association, La Clez des champs, a project which helps the Restos du Coeur soup kitchens: a series of performances proposed to the public in exchange for non-perishable food donations.
The exchanges at Station 3 of the Mobile Site, “Industrial zones in transition. Territory of possibilities. Economic, ecological, long-term alternatives?” brought together: Eric Chauvier (anthropologist and writer), Jean-Marc Gancille (Director of ecological development of the Darwin project), Jean-Paul Charrié (professor and Director of the UFR of Geography, Bordeaux III University, specialist on Bordeaux’s economy), Stéphane Hirschberger (architect), Vincent Schoenmakers (AURBA, Bordeaux), Cyrille Berger (architect), Elena Costelian (artist) and the HMCA collective.
The participants were invited to discuss the real causes of the dismantling of the power station and more generally, industrial transformations in the Bordeaux region. In the face of the irremediable de-industrialization of the area due to today’s economic realities, the question of the future of the site was posed: (De-pollution? Agricultural development? Renewable resources?) In spite of the impossibility of coming up with a final and definitive solution, the different specialties and points of view of the participants contributed to clarifying the future of this territory which awaits a new existence. Approaching this issue from the perspective of the imagination and aesthetics of the territory as well as the “human side” was, during this exchange, another way of bringing possible uses to light.
1. Return from the exploration: The strangeness of the peninsula, by Eric Chauvier and Thibault Taconet , who proposed images and words of a somber and disconcerting beauty Tuesday, wherein mutilated nature progressively recovers its right to the territory of the peninsula in the process of de-industrialization (the concept of transbotanism). This exploration provokes a shift in the way of seeing a forgotten site on Bordeaux’s margins, “the unconscious of the historically preserved city.”
2. A voyage in comparison, “Tchernobyl on tour” with Elena Costelian (artist) who shared her off-beat experience by way of a visit of the Tchernobyl site in a touristic setting, orchestrated for the occidental point of view.
3.Betamax Sound: “Does it Float?”– audiovisual creation (Nicolas Pradeau and Arnaud Castagné):
The evening finished with atmospheric sounds and contemplative video sequences, which for one last time plunged the public into the strange and sublime landscape of the peninsula, and into the quiescent hope of a continuation.
Photos Pierre Planchenault