The Deligny Endeavor (5th episode): Deligny in practice(s)

National Dance Center
Paris, 11-12 of October, 2019

In 1967, after thirty years in institutions helping maladjusted children, Fernand Deligny left for the Cévennes following in the footsteps of an autistic child: Janmari. He was joined there by young adults who were passionate about his institutional experiments. Until his death in 1996, he received there children suffering from early childhood autism or who were judged incurable. “We set out,” he wrote, “to find what made us invisible to that kid; invisible, but not quite.” To give substance and life to this “not quite,” Deligny and his colleagues invented a new way of creating society at distance from language and from all that comes with linguistic communication: the need to understand and to understand oneself, to be a mirror of the other and love that which is similar. Where there are no words, a different reality emerges, regulated by coincidence. Traces, rhythms, forms that must be remembered so that, in the absence of a shared space, a common memory, a memory of gestures and images, can be sedimented. From storytelling to cinema, from theater to cartography, Deligny mobilized all the registers of art and all possible media. Over the course of that experience, he invented new tools to remember together what could not be lived together. In 2017 and 2018, over the course of four days at the Centre National de la Danse and under the guise of the HAR and AIAC laboratories, with the Universities of Paris-Nanterre and Paris 8 Saint-Denis, we explored the context and the expectations of “the Deligny endeavor.” For this fifth edition, conceived within the framework of the “La tentative Deligny” project supported by the EUR ArTeC, we inverted the perspective and questioned its scope for contemporary art practices. How do Deligny’s experiments resonate with contemporary choreographic practices? How does this echo in his own practices of the image? How is the gap that Deligny maintained during his lifetime with regard to the status of art now taken up in the concerns of living artists? This fifth episode will take place at the Centre National de la Danse on October 11 and 12, 2019, through two days of workshops based on the work of Mathilde Monnier and Xavier Le Roy. The main occasion will be to mix performances, collective work in workshops, and join in conversations based on the current pieces of the artists involved.


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