Once again I have dropped by the Royal Stables, the smaller (1) ones. I have already explained to my readers the significance of this horse-shoe building: in XVII and XVIII centuries the School of Royal Pages was located there. To be at that school you had to trace your nobility to thirteen hundreds and have a pretty high level of income; and so, the noble teenagers often had their fingers decorated with diamonds and those diamonds left us a many amusing inscription in
Versailles: I suspect the pages were the original inventorsChuck Norris jokes, which are as popular in France as they are in the US. Today Versailles School of Architecture has moved into the Smaller Stables; its students have replaced the Royal pages as the local pranksters; their latest contemporary art exhibition I have visited and will try to describe here.
Biodiversity! “Again biodiversity?” “Oui,” answered the third year student on duty at the gallery; but there was something in that smile of hers that made me continue inside the small inclosed space filled with plants and humidifiers — an indoor greenhouse stunk up with perfume. The last time I was here the same student shuffled around the room, watering red plastic pipes suspended from the ceiling; from there the bottled water percolated through sponges to the creeping plants wrapped around the red pipes. What now? More creepers? Yes, but these are mingled with hair! I’ve got it: a plant wearing a wig! Next to those plant-heads I went through some bushes of eyelids — leaves decorated with eye-lashes, and then got caressed by the latter-day thorns of fake nails. I scratched myself some more and contemplated this metonymy: the head, the eye, the hand, and what this fuzzy thing is all about I have no idea.
(1) The Smaller Stables are exactly the same size as the Bigger. In fact the twin structures are identical, but in the Bigger Stables they kept those specially trained war horses, while in the Smaller hunting horses. The Royal pages living quarters were located upstairs, on the third floor. Downstairs, besides horses, they kept some wild life, for example the wild boar; this way the hunting horses were used to the wild boar and stayed calm in the forest. On one occasion the boys decided to free the beasts, thinking that the boar would run back into the woods; but the animals disappointed them, they too grew used to the city and preferred to remain in Versailles, roaming the streets and eating garbage.