“What is this creature, as it emerged from the bowels of the Earth ? Is it a chimera, a bloodthirsty monster or a benevolent creature ? Buried underground for too many years, the Ayoudin, a mining mythology, leaves the obscure depths to come and reconquer the Plain and take up residence there as a benevolent Guardian. Partly underground, his body embodies the historical past of Pit 7, with a keen eye to the future. His mouth, inspired by the local industrial architecture, welcomes the most daring. He stretches out his body to offer a resting space to his visitors. With his upright back, he invites visitors to play as well as to relax. It softens its claws to make a bench and spreads its back like a picnic area.
The Ayoudin returns to his land and invites us to reconquer a park in process of development, a history and a collective imagination.”
The ghosts of the mine
Labanque, the art centre of Béthune, invites Bruit du frigo for an artistic residency in a social neighbourhood, straddling the communes of Houdain and Haillicourt. The residency consists of an artistic production involving the inhabitants and local actors in order to reveal the territory through its singularities, its heritage, landscape, industrial and human characteristics.
It is a former mining site located in the heart of the neighbourhood that caught our attention. Of its past only remains the entrance of the shaft, materialized by a banal manhole cover. The pithead structure has been destroyed and there is no indication of the intense activity that reigned there until the 1950s. This vast empty space, out of time, which one enters almost by break-in, serves essentially as a place of passage. It is crossed by the residents because it allows them to reach more quickly the places of conveniences (shops, schools…).
This wasteland has the qualities and potential to become the major public space of the neighbourhood and its surroundings, a place of escape, leisure and sharing. Pit 7 is a latent urban park but is not yet perceived as such.
The Ayoudin, Guardian of the Plain
We propose to initiate a process of revalorization and reconquest of the Plain by creating the myth of a benevolent creature, the Ayoudin, guardian of the Plain, who after more than 70 years in hiding, emerges and appears in broad daylight.
After a stage of consultation on the development of the Plain and the imaginary that could be projected there, we have with the participation of the artist Guillaumit conceived the creature that allows us to accompany, to reinforce uses and to impulse new ones.
Following our intervention, the Municipality, aware of the natural and historical heritage that this site offers, has set up a consultation with the inhabitants in order to define the developments and equipment to be carried out on this park in progress. The Ayoudin is the first stone of a vast project that will be carried out in the years to come.
Vidéo : Benjamin frick