Laurent Estoppey – The Rite of Spring (Garden)

The Rite of Spring (Garden)

Laurent Estoppey, August 2019 – August 2020

1st anniversary of a failure

Spring Garden is a street in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA.

Starting downtown, it runs straight West crossing the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) campus.

Keep going about one mile and you’ll be at my place.

In August 2019, at the beginning of a new academic year, visual artist and UNCG professor Lee Walton and I created a performance involving a minivan loaded with a huge sound system. Driven by an employee of the van owner, the vehicle was supposed to drive for fifteen minutes, each Thursday at noon, on Spring Garden St., between classes when the campus streets were full of students.

Week after week, these small interventions would have created some buzz and expectation, leading to a final party around the van.

For the first run, as an opener and a test, we just played a straight recording of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.

I then created four remixes, revisiting the original version, each time deconstructing the material even more (it could have gone way further…)

On the second run, the driver showed up very late, when most of the students were already in class….we missed the point.

The third run, using the first remix, was successful, creating the curiosity we wanted on campus.

And then…

The driver (possibly due to the lack of interest from the van owner) didn’t show up anymore, pretending issues with the van, other priorities…there were no further performances and no culminating party.

That was the end of the Rite of Spring Garden.

* * * * * * * * * *

A few months later, I was invited by Swiss ensemble Vortex to create a piece made of 16 tracks to fit a sound installation built by Alexandre Joly and Daniel Zea made of about 200 small loudspeakers.

Close to my place, on Spring Garden St., I recorded dozens of electromagnetic waves which form Field Trip, reworked in a stereo version in August 2020

* * * * * * * * * *

In August 2020, the city of Greensboro and the campus are quite empty. We can feel more ghosts than actual people. 

Freezes – like still images – of hip-hop songs and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring are used to create Ghosts of Spring Garden.

* * * * * * * * * *

Neon signs along the street, seven jingles set a rhythm for this one year journey on Spring Garden Street.

* * * * * * * * * *

This is a celebration of my sadness following the failure of a project which could have been a hit.

01 Neon #1 0’20’’

02 Ride #2 3’00’’

03 Neon #2 0’19’’

04 Ride #3 2’00’’

05 Neon #3 0’16’’

06 Ride #4 3’02’’

07 Neon #4 0’14’’

08 Ride #5 4’22’’

09 Neon #5 0’14’’

10 Field Trip 9’16’’

11 Neon #6 0’13’’

12 Ghosts of Spring Garden 14’55’’

13 Neon #7 1’15’’

Laurent Estoppey, machines and manipulations (Landscape Stereo Field, SOMA Ether, Blipblox synthesizer, Pocket Operators, Max/MSP)