Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mouse Mountain Park

This afternoon marked my final sortie pedagogique for this trip. We went, at my friend Ellen's suggestion, to the Parc Montsouris, in the 14th arrondissement, in the south of the city. Even though it didn't quite match the high level of fun set by last week's Space Invader excursion, it was still a lot of fun.

There are several interesting features in the park. One of these is a high concentration of Arago medallions, or médaillons Arago

Fran̤ois Jean Dominique Arago (1786 Р1853) was a French mathematician, physicist, astronomer and politician, famous for his work on the wave theory of light and his work at the Bureau des Longitudes. To commemorate Arago an 'invisible monument' was created by Dutch artist, Jan Dibbets, in 1994. It consists of 135 bronze medallions, each 12cm [4.7"] in diameter, inlaid into the ground along a 9.2km [5.7 mile] stretch of the Paris Meridian Line.

In addition to the dozen or so Arago medallions scattered throughout the park, there is another public art installation worthy of mention:

Un banc qui parle!

Ten of the benches in the park are equipped with hidden loudspeakers activated by motion detectors so that when one sits down the bench begins to speak. Unfortunately, this particular installation sounds better in concept than it did in practice, as the recorded messages are barely above the volume of a whisper and are very difficult to decipher. A further drawback is that each is in a foreign language -- the recordings are actually by students from the Cite Universaire across the street from the park. Each is allegedly a discourse on the topic of love, but you wouldn't know that from listening to them. Still, it was a lot of fun searching out the ten talking benches and trying to decipher their messages.

The park had its fair share of birds:

and statues:

And when I got home, there awaiting me was a delicious madeleine for dessert.

Another fine afternoon in Paris, courtesy of the ACCORD school (and Ellen!).

No comments:

Post a Comment