Filmer les jardins by Jean-Philippe TEYSSIER – Château de Bénouville

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Filmer les jardins by Jean-Philippe TEYSSIER – Château de Bénouville

How does a landscaper-designer find himself at the centre of a television programme focusing on historic gardens?  An incursion and a critical view of a landscaper-designer in the world of garden documentaries.

Since the Lumière brothers and their short film The Sprinkler Sprinkled, presented in 1895, the link between the garden and the small or the silver screen has been perpetuated. Cinema embraces the atmosphere of gardens and their symbolic or poetic nature (for Stanley Kubrick, Peter Greenaway or Tim Burton for example), whereas television offers a more lighthearted glimpse, sometimes from a botanical angle, more rarely a historical one, virtually never delving into their composition, experimentation, future or new modes of management. A few programmes have met with success among viewers, such as Nicolas le Jardinier (Nicolas the gardener) or, more recently, Silence ça pousse (Sh! It’s growing) in France and Monty Don on the BBC. Yet, did they speak sufficiently about gardens? Is there a specific way to film and to talk about gardens on TV? Has television fully grasped what gardens are about? Has it succeeded in unveiling them? What are the limits television fails to surpass when representing gardens? Can television programmes, and their complex and imposed format (or formatting) incarnate gardens and not simply describe their decor and their anecdotes? And what about music, about editing or even about the use of drones to identify and to qualify a garden?  What actors are required to ensure they are fully understood?  How does the European cultural channel Arte stand out from the crowd? Readily proclaiming his subjectivity (he is not particularly fond of television and does not own one) and his partiality, the landscaper-designer Jean-Philippe Teyssier will come to share his critical experience of television via the 60 garden documentaries in which he has participated for Arte.   He will decipher the outlook this form of media offers to gardens, the various stumbling blocks, the recipe for producing a successful film, the reasons for less accomplished productions and the conflict between the need to equally satisfy newcomers, impassioned amateurs, avid gardening enthusiasts and garden and landscape professionals (gardeners, landscapers, art historians, architects, artists, etc.).

Jean-Philippe Teyssier

Jean-Philippe Teyssier is a ‘DPLG’ qualified landscaper and a graduate of the ENSP (National Graduate School of Landscape) in Versailles and the Edinburgh College of Art. He was born on the 24th of January 1978 in Saint-Agrève, on the plateau of the Ardèche mountains. He has been presenting the TV programme entitled Jardins d’ici et d’ailleurs (Gardens from here and elsewhere) on Arte since March 2015. Co-author of the programme and in charge of the destinations it covers, in collaboration with Sylvie Steinebach (producer), he has compiled a collection of 60 documentaries on the history of garden art in Europe, Japan, Iran, Morocco, Indonesia, the United States, Russia, etc. He previously worked as a landscaper for five years with the Parisian agency Mutabilis. In particular, he worked on the project to revamp the centre of Mulhouse. He also coordinated studies for the Steinbach Park in Mulhouse and the outline and studies for the redevelopment of Place de la Paix. In addition, he contributed towards the guidelines of the restructuring plan for the centre of the city, located in Alsace. With Mutabilis, Topotek1 (Berlin) and Atelier 9.81 (Lille), he developed a 3.5km scenographic trail designed to offer Mulhouse’s tourists and inhabitants a brand new outlook on the town.  He also designed the exterior areas and the interpretation trail for the centre for education on the environment in Bouaye (Nantes), in partnership with the Atelier Philippe Madec (tender, outline, studies and development). His own business also develops and designs a number of urban walks in association with the Promenades Urbaines association in Paris. He is behind a range of excursions focusing on landscape and urban nature in Belleville and in Ménilmontant. He develops walks focusing on urban agriculture for the cultural sites La Gaîté Lyrique and the Pavillon de l’Arsenal, and on the Bees and Queens of the Basilica of Saint-Denis. In 2013, he organised a three-day ‘performance walk’ through Edinburgh, covering the Scottish capital’s geographical structures (volcano, valleys and river), political and cultural challenges in Great Britain and the urban theories put forward by Patrick Geddes. Based on a few private gardens in and around Paris, he created the Ile de la Pépinière in the Hortillonnages d’Amiens estate, in association with the landscaper Fanny Anthoine-Milhomme and with support from the Maison de la Culture.