Conference on a couch

  • 2011-2020

The Conference on a couch is constantly evolving performative device, gathering in a given time and space a certain number of individuals, technologies, energies, materials, for a collective experience, with or without spectators - connected or not - on the web, around a figure, a concept, a discourse, words, which performers accompany, moderate, parasitize, smooth, disturb, challenge. Unprecedented, indeterministic situation, the Conference on a couch explores, delivers more than it delivers, it never fails.

It is also a critical machine driven by pesky kids, ungovernable, sometimes imbeciles, who want to do controlled slippages, who want to throw oil on the fire and fire in bowls, who want to associate freely, run in the corn fields, rob the banks, jump into cold water, not sleep at the scheduled time, say that there is only one life, only one planet Earth.

A conference on a couch even exists without electricity. In a boat. Online. In a box. A conference on a couch is always before us. A conference of a couch escapes, escapes from itself. It never swims in the same river.

The question of authority is "central". It's always at play. The guest lecturer creates a spine for his lecture. But it's likely to be twisted. It is particularly interesting to perform with a person whose point of view we cannot share, partially or absolutely, a person whose universe escapes us. How interesting it is to perform with a person whose positioning is appreciated but who has a tendency to monopolize? If it is not absolutely a question of being in the conflict of ideas or the opposition, the invited person, who is always informed of the issues and perspectives, may choose to participate because the model or the process interested him/her as a way to get into the ring. Philosophically, the Conference on a couch highlights the notion of truth, as it sets in motion too the dynamics of reality and system.

From a technical point of view, it is always a question of relying on an apparatus (a metadiscursive machine, imaginist) suitable to performativity composed of a set of machines, instruments, materials. We summarily call this "apparatus" (any reference to the definition given by Giorgio Agamben is assumed): "technical management".

We play on contradictions. If it is necessary to "facilitate the technics" so that it does not constitute an excessive obstacle to the realization of the conference, it is however important that accidents could occur (thus creating breaches, pathways). These accidents can be quite unexpected or caused during the conference, spontaneously. It is indeed wise to accept that things elude us and slip. The conference then becomes a metaphor for existence.

Anyway, the technical management (orchestration, sound management, video, streaming stream) is associated with a set of tools for the work of textual, visual and sound manipulation. It appears then that a conference defies the notion of spectacle. If it can be spectacular, it is not a spectacle, much less a repeating spectacle. The content is to be renewed (hence the change of speakers), and each conference is a situation / interface that brings the meeting into play.

Framing but above deframing. Configure, but above all escape any configuration, framework, definition (it's dialectical). If a conference "is" a conference, it is also a distance from the classicism and the academicism of the conference.

Always in research, the conference is the moment of diversion, bypass, reversal, together. Play to invent, more than being a toy. Play to understand the patterns. Play to build and deconstruct, but never to destroy. A thing, a process, a model, a material, a living structure, the Conference on a couch calls us. It makes the request to exist. It manifests. It wants to express herself, sometimes explode. It is a meeting, a complex event, a prepared but non-directive ecosystem, never untied from the macroscopic and microscopic environment nor from the social and political context in which it appears. It organizes and provides the conditions for possibilities for a multidimensional creation that feeds on everything that makes it and does not anticipate what is likely to happen. Pretext, gestation, punctual community, it is a way of uniting to experience limits, to hatch. Exceeding as a driving force, not as a belief. It plays with borders, truth, reality, frames, borders, that she works, moves, shakes up. It is a modeling and manufacturing tool assisted by the desire for creation, a tool for bringing the power into play, it still looks at its challenges. It is up to everyone to thwart the authority of the speaker. It is up to everyone to thwart authority when it manifests itself. The choice is ambiguous, contradictory, narrative, discursive, grinding, polishing, milling, serious or joking. It's a comedy, a mystery and a tragedy, a labyrinth, it orchestrates and choreographs the complexity of social relationships. It is a harmony of brass, gold and silver.

As an organic totality (organological too (cg Stiegler)), it takes into consideration the action and liveliness of all the objects, machines and flows that compose it - approaching in this sense the recent theory known as the actor-network. As Simondon would say, it is allagmatic.

Active, autopoietic, staging bodies and minds, it designates an occasional world (concrete utopia) to live, to think, to feel, to exist, to interpret, to put into crisis, to see, for everything, for nothing. Space of freedom, capsule, dialectical hollow at the bottom of which we throw the omelet of chaos, cosmic soup, driven by difference and repetition, multireferential, transgenerational, it mixes the order of discourse, it borrows, it digests, recomposes, decomposes, synthesizes, precipitates, it activates ideas, signs, expressions, gestures. It belongs to the history of creation as the history of creation belongs to it.

It radiates, it is a particle accelerator. It is also anamorphosis, vanity. It is its fantastic side. It is "precious insecurity". But it can be a ring, a tatami mat, a battle ground, a place of adversity: it is its stingy side. Variable, modular, combinative, each conference, imprinted with a libertarian dimension, involves speech, word, image, flow, energy, sensation, time, symbolic behavior, animism. It ties and unravels, builds and deconstructs, paraphrases, metaphrases, dephrases, makes noise as it speaks of silence, unleashes, plays with codes, diagrams, encoding, decoding. It allows you to continue to explore the world, to travel, to meditate, to plan, not to suffer.

Between writing and improvisation, action, provocation and participation, mastery and letting go, it is learning, howling and whispering, typhoon and breeze, in search of balance. It confuses him there and elsewhere, enriches the encounter, moves all the time. Mirror, prism, wormhole, it offers us a glimpse, to perceive, and is intended only as options, territories, hypotheses, potential uses, taking distance.

Text by Manuel Fadat

  • The Conference on a couch started several years ago thanks to ther cooperation between Manuel Fadat, William Gosselin, Sandra and Gaspard Bébié-Valérian. As things progressed other people have been integrated in it, for special events, others lecturers as Colette Tron, Thomas Ricordeau, Annie Abrahams and Dorian Reunkrilerk.
  • Performances: Living Room, with William Gosselin, Montpellier, 2011.
  • Festival Hybrides, with Manuel Gosselin, Montpellier, 2012.
  • Oudeis, with Colette Tron, online/ Le Vigan, 2015.
  • "Machines", Zinc, Marseille, 2016.
  • Oudeis, with Annie Abrahams and Dorian Reunkrilerk, 2017, Le Vigan.