Last week we were sitting in the shade in Place Saint-François in Lausanne, whiling away half an hour before going off to catch a train. We were intrigued to observe a notice attached to the church door. It said, ‘Un Jardin à Saint-François’.
Place Saint-François is a paved area, a busy pedestrian precinct adjacent to a noisy road in the heart of Lausanne. There was plenty of city noise and activity but no sign of a garden. We went over to look inside the 13th century church.
Further inspection revealed that each sun dried evergreen magnolia leaf was attached by very thin copper wire to a wooden structure a bit like a wheel, that hung just below the ceiling, turning slowly.
Chairs had been placed around the installation so we could sit and look and listen. When we were very still we could hear little sounds like rustling leaves or a small water source, a spring or stream, or maybe a tiny animal in the undergrowth. The feeling was of a garden at dusk. We no longer noticed the noise of the traffic in the city outside. It was easy to sit quietly and listen for minutes on end.
So, yes, un jardin à St-François. Enough of the elements to suggest a garden and to produce the contemplative mood that you might find in a garden. It was quite magical.
The installation will be there until September 28th 2014 and runs alongside a garden festival in Lausanne which seems not unlike the Chelsea Fringe. The artist is Rudy Deceliere www.rudydeceliere.net
And the sound? That comes from an electric current that passes down the copper wire. There are magnets on the floor and the resulting electromagnetic disturbance causes the leaves to vibrate, like the membrane in a loudspeaker, making a very quiet rustling noise.