Vivre // To Live © Chant Wagner 2019
Cars, Bicycles and the Sound of the Seine River
I realized after creating this photograph, how apt an illustrative parable it is of the Zeitgeist.
There you have a car racing by along a yellow line on which you can read "LIVR..." which evokes the word "VIVRE", "to live" in French...
With the Yellow Vests crisis going on in France, we've understood loud and clear that for some - for many - people, car is a bare essential in their lives. It needed repeating.
Movement is life and cars are lifesavers in rural areas of France with poor commute and communication means.
So, although cars can be stunning, they are not vital to city denizens. In fact, the other day I heard for the first time the lapping of the Seine river, from the street, thanks to a bicycle alley in the works. It was suddenly like living in a new sensory world, with a different apprehension of space and of the feel of the city. You were reminded of centuries past coming to realization that Paris sounded differently then. Imagine, being able to hear the sound of the Seine from high up on the street! The river felt close by - and nature was intimate. You heard the sound the Impressionists heard.
So, although we also needed to hear the message of cars being less than plaisanteries for country folks, we heard you.
City dwellers will still build bicycle alleys and hope that fewer cars leave their exhaust sillages to kill their air, but otherwise, we heard you, loud and clear - and we also heard the Seine river for the first time, as if it were still running in a Renoir painting.