To develop library awareness of the recent inquiries of the Centre National des Ecritures du Spectacle (National Center for Stage and Theater Writing), to give an idea of what a stage at the forefront of today’s arts and technologies would be to territories directly concerned by the transformation of writing and reading. Such were our objectives when programming Outside lectures in the Gard and Vaucluse departments.
With a practice at the intersection of the visual arts, sound production and theater, and in collaboration with different artists, Thierry Fournier explores the question of writing in an unusual way for theater: with Outside lectures he offers a writing of the arrangement via materials taken from our political, technological and media surroundings. A light and mobile form that was developed to go right up to its audience, flexible and adaptable to all sorts of spaces found in libraries, and likely to provoke discussions and debates.
With the use of composite and ordinary materials—from television to cellular telephony, ministerial circulars to mongeese—so often expunged from the theater stage and through the role and presence of Emmanuelle Lafon, Outside lectures hooks up various recording devices to fragments of reality within one common space. The performances’ unity is woven from a common thread of inquiry: the question of access, or more precisely a range of scenarios dealing with “crossing” that demarcate inside and outside.
The only way to account for our technology environment, which has substituted nature for all intents and purposes, is to select fragments, juxtapose them, and have them commentate one another. The materials exist as such, yet are caught up in a new composition that both includes and surpasses them; they resonate and create new constellations of meaning. Outside lectures functions as follows: it is a non-linear, caustic, and sometimes abrupt account of the world through either live or pre-recorded devices, each conceived of to undermine political, technological or media-related levels of reality all rendered inconspicuous through daily usage. A reality of exclusion, surveillance and enclosure hides beneath the promise of access for all.
This art of writing for the stage requires its own reading modalities. Otherwise put: this creative process produces a new relationship between work and spectator. It is difficult to apprehend according to habitual judgement criteria, which, incidentally, it generally ignores or puts into perspective. It is presented as a crossing, a sensitive, poetic and cognitive experience that requires the spectator to make their way by free association between the proposed materials. On this particular level, Outside lectures sometimes intrigued spectators, even upsetting them. Yet it also created some magical moments where you felt a sort of public consciousness was gradually forming, an almost tangible clustering of questions, curiosities and perceptions on site.
When I think of Outside lectures, I think of a vigil around a fireplace that would both warm us up and enlighten us: a small assembly of spectators giving themselves over to the collective understanding of a world that was only more opaque for trying to become visible, where each and everyone’s participation was tested in the search for shared meaning.
I wish here to thank all of this adventure’s protagonists: first of all, the librarians who played this game with such enthusiasm, the Gard and Vaucluse departments who made it possible, and of course Thierry Fournier and Emmanuelle Lafon who crossed both departments recreating a space in each library where Outside lectures could be heard.
Assistant-Director of la Chartreuse
Director of Centre National des Ecritures du Spectacle