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  • Lisa

Volatile rue Vivienne

Updated: Oct 1, 2021

Improbable Walks, Season 2, Episode #5: Often visited for the beautiful BIBLIOTHEQUE NATIONALE RICHELIEU (currently being renovated), this street was once the address of remarkable Montrealer, the soldier-conman Jean-Baptiste LeMoyne, Sieur de Bienville, founder of New Orleans, along with two 19th-century inventors, Edouard-Léon Scott de Martinville and Gustave Trouvé, and the somewhat melodramatic Isidore Lucien Ducasse, author of the "Contes de Maldoror." So here you have a one of the few portraits of Bienville; images of Scott de Martinville and Trouvé. The next row of photos are flights of fancy, rather literally: first, a photo of an art piece by American Surrealist photographer Man Ray: "L'Enigme d'Isidore Ducasse" - this enigma is a sewing machine wrapped in an army blanket & tied with string, originally created in 1920. Ducasse's poetic novel had a profound impact on the Surrealist movement, long after the author's death in 1870. And the final image is an interpretation of the mechanical bird that Trouvé invented. Finally, take a listen here to listen to one of the earliest recordings of the human voice, Scott de Martinville singing "O Clair de la Lune" (the recording is played around the 2minute mark, but the whole video is really interesting.)


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