Le jardinier de Dali

Le Jardinier de Dali (Dali’s gardener)
Antoine Schmitt, 1999.

Computer, amplifier, loudspeakers, generative sound algorithm based on rules, waterproof box.
Outdoor sound installation.

Le Jardinier de Dali is an outdoor audio installation, which indefinitely attempts to reproduce the sounds of a working gardener, with more or less success.

Exhibited in the ouverture 4 exhibitions, in the Château de Bionnay, in july-september 1999. Curator : Olivier Reneau.

“Dali, the surrealist painter, had a lazy gardener, who often stopped working. Dali could hear that the gardener had stopped working because there was no more gardening sound coming from the garden. He would then admonish the gardener, who would start working again.
At some point, the lazy gardener designed a machine, made out of wood and other materials, that would produce gardening sounds, so that he could stop gardening without Dali noticing it. But Dali recognized the difference in the sound between the real gardening sounds and the machine’s sounds.
So the gardener improved the machine to make the sounds sound more like real gardening sounds. But, whatever the successive improvements, Dali could always tell the difference between the real gardener’s sounds and the machine’s sounds.”
This story, which I never could verify but which I liked a lot, was told to me by Philippe Ramette after I told him my fundamental questionning about the difference between a noise and a strange noise.
From this story, I designed the “Jardinier de Dali” piece, which implements Dali’s gardener machine inside a computer, using real gardening sound samples, mixed in real time by a computer program according to gardening rules, and with a degree of freedom. The sound is quite realistic, but “not quite”, inciting passers-by the listen.
The machine is always running, start “working” at 9am, pauses for lunch and stops at 6pm. It is intended to be installed in a public garden.

Antoine Schmitt – January 2001

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