Pedestrian Poetry

Pedestrian Poetry 1.1

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Description: The Action Researcher/Performer found a 17th Century book at a local flea market in Paris and identified a poem inside entitled 'Les embarras de Paris'.  The poem described what a vastly different life residents experienced in Paris depending on their location in poor or rich neighbourhoods.  In the poorer arrondissements, locals maintained a constant fear and anxiety, danger lurked amongst the morning market crowds and was accentuated by unruly noises throughout the night.  In the wealthier locations, the rich were able to spend their leisure time in manicured gardens, at peace with nature and full in their stomachs with the finest produce of the city.  This poem was then reproduced onto one hundred and twenty-six pieces of paper, one stanza per A4 page.  These written pages were then progressively inserted into garbage bins along the footpath from Pont Marie to Montmartre.  The pages were placed inside the bins with the text facing outwards so that pedestrians could read the unfolding poem as they walked along the street.  A narrative trail across the city ensued, as members of the public were encouraged to follow the poem from one garbage bin stanza to another.

Boileau, N. (1650) Les embarras de Paris (Satire VI), Paris.

© Astra Howard 2014