This project departs from the experience of an industrial and commercial suburban area of Clermont-Ferrand, France, in which the urban sprawl systematically erased, foreclosed, buried and subjugated all traces of human and non-human lives, practices. Architects, planners, real-estate developer and public authorities participating in the development of the area became geological forces, carving ancient volcanoes to burry waste, created fake ancient volcanoes to hide construction trash, and flatten the lands to facilitate the movements of machines.
The violence embodied by this urban development toward ecologies of livings and practices culminates in the never-ending repetition of surfaces of asphalts, highways, shopping mall, deserted industry, and other industrial and commercial facilities, in which hardly nothing else than consuming is supported by the material environment. Homogenized by systematic erasure, the landscape support an automation of social and human relationship, drastically exhausting the repertoire of practices and gestures that exist in these environments. Alternative worlds have been here foreclosed by the (material and social) impossibility of embodied imagination.
This project proposes the development of an territorial infrastructure for site-specific theatre, as a way to open up the repertoire of practices, gestures, and imaginaries associated to these places, seeking to uncover minor narratives from the periphery, showing in the repetition of its tissue the differences and wealth that are at the reach of our gestures.
This infrastructure is composed by more than 20 “machines,” which highlight and queer elements of the landscape, a materiality, a form, a relation and makes a slightly different double of it, as an incomplete or falsified translation, enabling theater to take place on site by rendering accessible to multiple bodies.
The deployment of the infrastructure is planned on 900 days, along with a theater piece lasting 900 days, entitled “Les tragédies automatiques.” The play is also constituted in the repetition: it exhausts all the possibilities of the land-sets. The play moves around, crossing different places, machines and spaces every day. The text is deconstructed in three different versions, which allow to arrange variations, each part of which corresponds to the setting in which it takes place. The more the scenario of development of the peripheral theater advances in time, the more the text is dismantled. These spaces created by silence and movement are the liminalities, the interstice where the landscape slowly takes its first role, where the set becomes an actor of the play, and where the consciousness of the periphery develops, a perception of this unseen space.
In the end, the project proposes performative arts as resources for renewed embodied spatial imagination, taking the moving bodies and their repertoire as an elementary form of political and imaginative struggle.