La Borne de Fer
Illustration: ©Valérie Etterlen
FANTASY . TALES . QUEST .
10+ years old
Together, we will go in search of a mysterious creature that has been haunting the woods for an eternity. Unfortunately, I am no longer able to move around, but this app will help me guide you. Moreover, it will also let us capture and hear the voice of this mysterious creature, to understand who it is and what it is doing there. If everything works out as planned, that is.
La Borne de Fer is a sound trail where participants are guided by the designer of a ‘sound emission zone detector’. The aim is to discover what has been hidden in the woods since Roman times, by finding bits and pieces of stories scattered around the forest.
Based on the history of the region, this quest is also inspired by the poetic and legendary potential of the Borne de Fer forest and its mining landscape.
La Borne de Fer was created as part of the In the field project, for Esch2022, European Capital of Culture.
The stories span several eras, from the time of the Romans to modern times. They are intrinsically linked to the forest and to the mining activity that has structured the region over the centuries. Since La Borne de Fer does not have any legend, the artists themselves invented legends from the history of iron mining and a character who had haunted the woods since antiquity.
In the writing of the stories, the theme of borders is very present. It is approached at different levels: the first, most obvious, is that which concerns the border between the space of the forest and more civilised spaces (town, fields, farms, etc.). Another has been established between the human and the monster, or rather the way we view the monster. We can also envisage a boundary between the time of the walk and the spaces of time summoned by the stories.
Other themes are reflected in the texts, in particular that of the lure of profit. The traces of iron mining in the landscape, visible everywhere in the forest, are a reminder of how many people throughout history have sought to enrich themselves in this territory. The trail chooses to transpose this quest for wealth by creating a legend in which the men are not only looking for ore, but a real treasure hidden in the heart of La Borne de Fer.
The musical composition is part of an already very rich sound landscape.
At the beginning of the journey, the voice of a narrator appears on a large path separating forest and field. The male voice is that of the person who created the app that the listener is using to find a lost treasure. We also hear a female voice trying to lure the listener into the forest, as she has been trapped there since ancient times.
The contrast between these two voices creates a clear boundary between the wilderness (the woman trying to lure the listener into the forest) and the civilised world (the game master who created the app). Throughout the trail, we hear a voice that oscillates between the spoken and the sung, in order to recall the world of tales, which have been accompanied by instruments since the dawn of time. Antoine Spindler plays pizzicato (plucked strings) on his viola to recall this aspect.
Matthieu Epp is a professional storyteller who performs in France, Belgium and Quebec; on theatre stages, and also in storytelling festivals, media libraries, retirement homes and schools. Between 2013 and 2018, he developed the project ‘Il y a des portes’ (‘There are doors’), a mix of live performance, podcast, video game, digital writing and improvisation. Winner of the Tango&Scan scheme, he has been giving video game creation workshops in secondary schools since 2017. He is also developing the YouTube channel of the company Rebonds d’histoires, and has created ‘Les Runes d’Odin’, a show that combines video games and narration, where the audience’s participation influences the story told.
Svië is a duo made up of Gaëtan Gromer and Antoine Spindler, sound artists and composers of electro-acoustic music.
Gaëtan Gromer leads a creative activity at a crossroads between composition, performance and multimedia installation. He uses the astonishing power of suggestion and immersion of sound to deliver a certain view of the world, a particular point of hearing, to ‘tell’ with sound. He is one of the winners of the Imagina Atlantica 2012 European Digital Arts Prize in Angoulême and wrote the music for Samuel Henry’s Juste l’embrasser, which won the SABAM prize at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival in 2008.
Antoine Spindler is a violist and teacher at the Haute école des Arts du Rhin. A member of the Ethos Quartet and the Plurium Ensemble, he has also played with the Linéa Ensemble and the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra. He has performed on several stages, including the Festival Musica in Strasbourg, the Tonhalle in Zurich and the Asian-Pacific Contemporary Music Festival in Seoul, South Korea. He specialises in electroacoustic and mixed music, notably with the Live.Animated.Orchestra or as a member of the Jafta trio.
With the support of Esch2022, European Capital of Culture, as well as the French Ministry of Culture, the DRAC Grand Est, the Région Grand Est, the Centre National de la Musique, the Collectivité Européenne d’Alsace, the Département Meurthe-et-Moselle, the Ville d’Esch-sur-Alzette, the Ville et Eurométropole de Strasbourg, LISER (Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research), the Musica Festival and Puzzle Thionville.
In partnership with Residhome Luxembourg and the Cottage Luxembourg.
Text: Matthieu Epp
Music: Svië (Gaëtan Gromer, Antoine Spindler)
Sound recording: Marc Namblard
Illustration: Valérie Etterlen
Voices: Sylvie Brucker, Matthieu Epp (French version), Richard Doust, Julia Whitham (English version)
Voice Studio: Innervision
Art Direction: Gaëtan Gromer
Acknowledgements: Jules Ferry Elementary School (Russange)
Production: Les Ensembles 2.2