Working memories

Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space explores how street theatre transforms industrial space into postindustrial space. Deindustrializing communities have increasingly turned to cultural projects to commemorate industrial heritage while simultaneously generating surplus value and jobs in a changing economy. Through analysis of French street theatre companies working out of converted industrial sites, this book reveals how theatre and performance more generally participate in and make historical sense of ongoing urban and economic change. The book argues, firstly, that deindustrialization and redevelopment rely on the spatial and temporal logics of theatre and performance. Redevelopment requires theatrical events and performative acts that revise, resituate, and re-embody particular pasts. The book proposes working memory as a central metaphor for these processes. The book argues, secondly, that in contemporary France street theatre has emerged as working memory's privileged artistic form. If the transition from industrial to postindustrial space relies on theatrical logics, those logics will manifest differently depending on geographic context. The book links the proliferation of street theatre in France since the 1970s to the crisis in Fordist-Taylorist modernity. How have street theatre companies converted spaces of manufacturing into spaces of theatrical production? How do these companies (with municipal governments and developers) connect their work to the work that occurred in these spaces in the past? How do those connections manifest in theatrical events, and how do such events give shape and meaning to redevelopment? Street theatre’s function is both economic and historiographic. It makes the past intelligible as past and useful to the present.

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Street and theatre at the end of Fordism

– the familiar denizens of ‘the street’ – together with visual artists and theatre troupes seeking to experiment with alternative modes of expanding and engaging with their publics. The festival ran for three subsequent summers and, in retrospect, assumed the status of a ­‘foundational moment’ for contemporary French street theatre.1 It is historical coincidence that this foundational moment was so neatly bookended by two key episodes in the collapse of the Fordist compromise and the end of post-World War II economic growth. The spring property crash did not directly

in Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space
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Working memory

wrecking ball had already reduced to rubble before a successful lobbying effort by locals and preservationists to designate the building a heritage site. Stéphane Bonnard is not (primarily) a heritage preservationist. He is, with Pierre Duforeau, co-artistic director of street theatre company KompleXKapharnaüM. Since its founding in 1995, KompleXKapharnaüM has worked out of a former metal parts factory in what is now the Carré de Soie. KompleXKapharnaüM creates sitespecific, multimedia performances that engage local memory, industrial and working-class heritage, and

in Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space
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Alternative pasts, sustainable futures

theatre festival at Chalon-sur-Saône. As part of that festival, multimedia artist Fabrice Giraud and arts collective Zo Prod have installed this interactive sculpture, Le murmure des plantes 2.0 (The whisper of plants 2.0, first created in 2013), in the Jardin de l’Arquebuse. Giraud’s installation is not the first industrial vegetation to spring up at a French street theatre festival. Whereas Le murmure des plantes 2.0 consists of a single, physically immobile sculpture, Compagnie Fer Recuperation 175 Figure 5.1  Fabrice Giraud, Le murmure des plantes 2.0, 2015. à

in Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space
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Putting the countryside back to work

2 Reincorporation: putting the countryside back to work A man in worker’s blues speaks into a megaphone as his comrades distribute tracts to the assembled crowd. This task completed, the men climb atop a truck laden with empty oil drums. They rhythmically strike the drums with mallets and sticks and touch their edges with power saws and belt sanders, creating fountains of sparks that burn starkly against the deepening indigo of the evening sky. These men are members of street theatre company Metalovoice, performing as hosts of the Ouverture festival. It is 2011

in Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space
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The imaginary archaeology of redevelopment

de Soie encompasses the Villeurbanne neighbourhoods east of Boulevard Laurent Bonnevay and the Vaulxen-Velin neighbourhoods south of the Canal de Jonage. Initiated in 2004, the project reimagines this disparate collection of brownfields and social housing as the eastern centre of leisure and business for a growing European agglomeration. KompleXKapharnaüM, the street theatre company discussed in Excavation 99 this chapter, is based in a former metal parts factory on rue Francia, a short walk past the city limits in Vaulx-en-Velin’s western neighbour

in Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space
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Continuous theatre for a creative city

, 2010. blink, its tail swishes, and its ears flap. Constructed by street theatre company La Machine from wood and steel, with leather for the flapping ears, the hydraulically powered behemoth carries forty-five passengers along the banks of the Loire (see figure 4.1). The Great Elephant is the first completed project of Les Machines de l’île (The Machines of the Island, 2007–), a tourist and cultural destination based in the Naves, three former metal fabrication shops. Members of La Machine use two of the three Naves as metal and woodworking shops; here they

in Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space
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Corruption, community and duty in Family Matters

‘performance’ as Shiv Sena ruffians is to have on Mr Kapur, they rehearse the question of the role of the audience, free will and destiny. They acknowledge that their performance will be unorthodox: while an audience for the kind of street theatre they specialise in always knows it is watching a performance, Mr Kapur will be unable to distinguish between performance and reality. Unaware, he will be both actor and audience: ‘An actor without awareness is a wooden puppet,’ declared Gautam grandly, believing he had scored a decisive point. ‘In a culture where destiny is

in Rohinton Mistry

disobedience, combining elements of street theatre, festival and what can only be called non-violent warfare’ (Graeber, 2002: 66). Such activities contrast sharply with traditional forms of protest associated with the social democratic Left and trades union politics over the last forty years. If nothing else, these protests have a very different feel about them. When compared to the prearranged march and rally, more recent protests certainly induce a sense of organic autonomy within their participants. Nonetheless, these tactics converge with the anarchist culture of

in Changing anarchism
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atmosphere of the games and transnational connections they make, however, allow them to escape those hardships, if only temporarily. Nurse explains that the “merriment, colourful pageantry, revelry, and street theatre” of diaspora carnivals “are born out of the struggle of marginalized peoples to shape a cultural identity through resistance, liberation and catharsis” ( 1999 , p. 662). The Afro

in Sport in the Black Atlantic