1993, performance / experimental intervention, Joachim Stein

Circulation, Dijon 1993

Rue de la Liberte is the main shopping street in Dijon/Burgendy. On a distance of approximatly 200 m between Place François-Rude and Place de la Liberté the street is very narrow – only one vehicle can pass at the time. Rue de la Liberté is closed for all traffic, except busses from the public transportion company (STRD – Société des Transports de la Région Dijonnaise). Most bus lines in Dijon pass through the narrow street in the very center of the city, turning it literally into the city’s heart, with traffic lights taking the role the tricuspid and bicuspid valves.

In january 1993 Joachim Stein positioned himself at one of the traffic lights (the one near Place de la Liberation, at the western end of Rue de la Liberté). When the light changed to green he started running at maximal speed, closely followed by the bus that had been waiting there. Only a few seconds after arriving at the traffic light at Place Francois-Rude, it changed and he had to run back, followed by a bus again. Since every run was performed at maximal speed, Stein got exhausted quickly and therefore slowed down the traffic soon.

After a while the busses wouldn’t reach the other side in time. The bus waitng there to pass in the opposite direction had to wait for another period, because the lights had already changed and a second bus was already on its way. The entire system broke down and the police that had been informed by bus drivers ended the intervention after only ten minutes.

The intension of the Intervention was to impose the limitation of the artists blood circulation system on the city’s transport system (la circulation).

“Dijon has a justified reputation for the best public transportation system in France. Buses run almost everywhere and are clean and efficient.” Handbook for Participants of the ‘Colby in Dijon program’ / Colby College, Waterville, Maine USA

“Joachim is probably the best trained artist living in France. He cycled up to Mont Afrique, with out even getting out of the saddle.” Cyrille Hugon – friend and fellow student of Stein, 1993