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A note on Hausmann

video installation, 2018/ 2020

Jonas Vansteenkiste applied for a residence in 2018 to investigate his facination for the city of Paris and its urbanization.

During his stay at Cité international des arts Paris, he did research in architectural archives of the architectural and architectural heritage.


In his research, he was fascinated by the stratification of the city and its history. He is particularly fascinated by the Hausmannisation of the city.

Haussmann's renovation of Paris was a vast public works program commissioned by Emperor Napoléon III and directed by his prefect of SeineGeorges-Eugène Haussmann, between 1853 and 1870. It included the demolition of medieval neighborhoods that were deemed overcrowded and unhealthy by officials at the time; the building of wide avenues; new parks and squares; the annexation of the suburbs surrounding Paris; and the construction of new sewers, fountains and aqueducts. Haussmann's work was met with fierce opposition, and he was finally dismissed by Napoleon III in 1870; but work on his projects continued until 1927. The street plan and distinctive appearance of the center of Paris today is largely the result of Haussmann's renovation

the work "a note on Hausmann", starts from the fountains in Paris, the video shows us details of one of the beautiful drinking places in the city. Although, just like Hausmann's intention, this fountain also has a certain danger. The drinking fountain is inhabited by bees and wasps that makes drinking dangerous. Vansteenkiste emphasizes this by editing extreem close-ups and by the sound scape with a poem and voices by Gertrude Stein.

Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874 – July 27, 1946) was an American novelist, poet, playwright, and art collector. Born in the Allegheny West neighborhood of Pittsburgh and raised in Oakland, California, Stein moved to Paris in 1903, and made France her home for the remainder of her life. She hosted a Paris salon, where the leading figures of modernism in literature and art, such as Pablo PicassoErnest HemingwayF. Scott FitzgeraldSinclair LewisEzra PoundSherwood Anderson and Henri Matisse, would meet. Vansteenkiste uses Gertrude's voice and poem:"If I Told Him, A Completed Portrait of Picasso" 

Gertrude started writing, specializing in automatic writing, a stream of consciousness technique in which the subconscious mind is guided as much as possible. Just like in modern painting, Gertrude wanted to let the existing order and structure make way for new ways of seeing and describing in literature. Her way of writing did not always take into account the applicable grammar rules, but she claimed that there was a need for a shock effect and inconsistency.

The observation and reflection and tensions between image and sounds makes it a note on the life and dynamic of the city.

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