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SaInTEs Mobile Troubador  
   

Proposal

mobile - 1) moving or capable of being moved or moving, from place to place 3) that can change rapidly or easily, as in response to different moods, feelings, conditions, needs or influences 5) ART that is or has to do with a mobile or mobiles - n. a piece of abstract sculpture which aims to “depict” movement, i.e., kinetic rather than static rhythms, as by AN ARRANGENMENT OF THIN FORMS, RINGS, RODS, ETC. BALANCED AND SUSPENDED IN MIDAIR AND SET IN MOTION BY CURRENTS.

troubador - (see trope) any of a class of lyric poets and poet-musicians who lived in Provence, Catalonia, or Southern France in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries and wrote poems of love and chivalry

trope - tendancy of a plant, animal or part to grow or turn in response to an external stimulus, either by attraction or repulsion, as a sunflower turns to light.

PARA - SaInTEs

Mobile Troubador is envisioned as a mobile, lightweight, flexible and ephemeral event/construction. It will peripherally engage planned markets and performances over a series of days in site-specific ways. In each site/event, the PARA - SaInTEs Mobile Troubador will self-adjust to a specific anchor/mooring and engage the existing site and event meaningfully and sensitively.

This proposal is based on a number of suppositions: that at least (8), and hopefully (12) students are participating daily in the realization of the work; that the identified markets and garden are open to our interaction; that a “found” large spoke-wheeled axle can be appropriated for modification into the Mobile Troubador; that a wood and/or metal shop will be available for construction of the Mobile Troubador and “anchor/moorings”; that these may rely in large part on rental scaffolding or constructions using “found” vines; and that required multi-media equipment may be donated in-kind.

Being conceived as a work improvised in place and time, the final, exact nature of PARA - SaInTEs Mobile Troubador is uncertain. Therefore, the proposal as well as the budget is conditional. However, if the above suppositions can be verified (as many in advance, if possible), the work will be largely realized as proposed based on extensive experience the artist has had working in similar conditions.

Dwayne Bohuslav
Mobile Troubador
Friedrich Building
115 N. Pine Street
San Antonio, TX 78202
Cell: 281.216.9407
e-mail: legba90@yahoo.com


AVANT BARD
Jack Barron

The blurring of lines between the arts and architecture is not a new phenomenon. It is a kind of return. The essential acts of construction, decoration and performance were once inextricably intertwined and in service of the ritual, each action filled with ceremonial intent, linking disparate worlds and world views. With PARA-SaInTEs Mobile Troubadour, a performance/construction/ event for the Centre d’Architecture et d’Urbanisme in Saintes, France in July 2003, Dwayne Bohuslav and Joanne Brigham moved their collaborative work a step closer to the ritualized origins of public art.

Mr. Bohuslav+parasite’s earlier collaborations with Ms. Brigham often resembled large insecto-pod internal organs– scavenged lightweight armatures stretched with translucent polymer skins- that rattled, rumbled, flashed and flailed in response to the bodies that moved around them. His performative objects were kinetic, reacting to and interacting with Ms. Brigham’s ritualized, expressionistic physicality. Together, bodies and machines attempted to activate and challenge the spaces they occupied.

The Mobile Troubadour, however, was conceived and executed in a profoundly different context. The earlier pieces had been predominantly “graftings”- parasitical insertions in particularly American urban, industrial and institutional spaces. Saintes, however, is in many ways the complete antithesis of the earlier sites. Rather than a single space, the artists had to respond to all of a bucolic, labyrinthine hill-town where the layers of history are far more palpable and the confluence of the pagan and the Christian readily apparent. Now dominated by Gothic and Romanesque churches, it was originally a Celtic enclave that became a prominent Roman Imperial outpost. It is still marked by Roman ruins including an impressive gladiatorial arena. This shift in context created new demands for parasite. The construction had to be truly mobile, not just reactive. It had to wander.

Working with a group of upper division UH architecture students at the CEAU for a summer study abroad program, they assembled a spindly aluminum frame perched on ancient rusted wagon wheels located and negotiated at flea markets, wrapped in a twisting skeleton of shaved roots, vines and branches. It resembled a paganized homage to John Hejduk’s character machines, made to be pulled by a cast of nine volunteers including UH students, local artist Lara Blanchard, Centre d’Architecture et d’Urbanisme patron Susan Lynch and local city councilwoman Mme. Bleynie. These performers were covered from head to toe in white: faces painted, clothed in pale, billowy French linens with ruffled collars. Some wore blank white masks; others, stylized animal headdresses adorned with flowers. Many carried odd, totemic objects. Butohesque, they guided the cart over the cobblestones, plodding with the clanking of iron against stone, the rattle
AVANT BARD
P. 2

of aluminum against branch, the electronic hum of whispered words and bird chatter. Every gesture was slow and outsized. They seemed to emanate from some private, impenetrable mythology.

The Saintongeais- used to street theater, Ancient Roman re-enactments and Catholic processions- hardly knew what to make of this ghostly pilgrimage. Each leg of the journey was punctuated by a landmark of the city. First, they rounded past St. Pierre, the 12th Century gothic cathedral in the heart of town where the farmer’s market gathers on Wednesday and Saturday. They dragged the Mobile Troubadour up a steep, clinker brick road to the medieval 11th Century St. Eutrope with its eternally chilly catacombs. They climbed down into the lush valley that leads to the 40 AD Roman arena- a rugged ellipse of stone and arches half swallowed by the hillside where the performers left offerings at the gate. They passed through the commercial center of town, past restaurants and tabacs and astounded bar patrons, over the Charente River which splits the city in half, to the monumental, 16-18 AD Roman triumphal Arch Germanicus. Here, beneath the massive blocks of limestone, they marked the boundaries for the next phase of the performance.

Two days later, at that spot directly in front of the ancient central pillar of the Arch Germanicus, Mr. Bohuslav and Ms. Brigham, alone, erected a bare 3mx3mx3m cove of lightweight aluminum scaffolding- a static, tectonic shell built to receive the de-constructed Mobile Troubadour. For several hours, in record heat and now surrounded by the sprawl of the monthly flea market, they disassembled the cart and hung its parts like offerings on its naked frame. Then, without warning, they walked away, hand in hand, leaving the troubadour, now undone, to the swell of the crowd.

The performance’s overall effect was of a galvanizing confusion, a kind of primal question mark. The life and death of the PARA SaInTEs Mobile Troubadour was rough, unrefined, sometimes awkward, yet this ad hoc theatrical ritual succeeded as an act of psychogeographical “avant-bardism.” Like the original Medieval troubadours who coded their songs of chivalry with heretical images of the divine feminine, the Mobile Troubadour was a subversive eruption in the city’s fabric, revealing- if only for a moment- what the surrealist’s called “life’s penetration by the Marvelous.”

 

 

 
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