Stage director Aurélien Bory created his first visual art piece for the 2015 Le Voyage à Nantes. Spectacula – a light installation in Théâtre Graslin – pulled visitors into an immersive experience seen from the stage. This year, the artist is leaving the dark corners of the theatre to transform a corner of the city.
Boulevard Léon-Bureau cuts through Île de Nantes on a north-south axis, separating the Quartier de la création neighbourhood from the Parc des Chantiers. In this revamped sector, the Samoa (organization responsible for developing Nantes and its surrounding area) has been looking for ways to improve the coexistence of cars, bikes, and pedestrians in the same space. They turned to Le Voyage à Nantes to find an artist who might help.
Instead of straight and regulatory roads, Aurélien Bory prefers the more poetic idea of byways, and imagined generous, curved lines connecting both sides of the boulevard by crossing four major plateaus. The result is a lively and chaotic flow of lines, far from the rectilinear nature of run-of-the-mill pedestrian passages. Since they refuse to follow the paradigm of signage, these curves stretch out over the entire width of the plateaus, inviting pedestrians to cross and reduce the flow of traffic. This invitation is also a game: following a curved line is a way of shunning the Euclidian axiom of the shortest path. It is also a throwback to childhood, when you would try not to step on the white stripes of a zebra crossing.
Abandoning the straight line is this work’s modus operandi. You won’t find any rectilinear roads on this boulevard, since the only road markings are the slight curves. Don’t bother looking for the shortest path – there isn’t one!
CO-PRODUCED WITH LA SAMOA.
© Franck Tomps