The Deligny Endeavor

National Dance Center
Paris, April 19, May 2, November 18, December 16 – 2017

A hallowed figure for all those concerned with the fate of “maladjusted” children during the half-century that his research lasted, Fernand Deligny (1913-1996) addressed his practice and his theoretical reflection – with education, community work, institutions, the image, cinema, and writing– to autistic, wild or out-of-the-ordinary children. Widely discussed since the beginning of his activities in the 1940s, Fernand Deligny later fell into a kind of cultural clandestinity after his death. He reappeared in the public arena in 2007 with the publication by L’Arachnéen of his OEuvres, an exceptional volume of 1848 dense pages uniting a large part of his texts and the films that accompanied them. The following year, L’Arachnéen published other texts, including the novel La septième face du dé, Cartes et lignes d’erre, and, in 2013, the Journal de Janmari. More recently, Lettres à un travailleur social (2017) was released.

Over a decade, these volumes have introduced a new generation of readers to his approach and created the conditions for the third stage of Deligny reception, currently underway: first in France, then, with new translations, in Europe, the United States, and more recently in Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries.

Thus it was, several of us recently gathered to discuss the questions raised by this new work at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) and in the dance space Base Dinâmica during an International Fernand Deligny Meeting: With, Around and From the Endeavors (August 25-27, 2016). We came away convinced that surveying this Deligny territory has only just begun and that the adventure must continue.

This “we” only asks to expand: a small group of four researchers, united by the remarkable actuality of the Deligny endeavor, working in the fields of art –cinema and writing, among others–, anthropology, and the clinic. All eager to chart the political resonances of his work today.

So as to launch an international research program in 2018 and 2019, we propose this year four initial conferences open to all the different fields that Deligny traversed, without ever becoming attached to one single field. We intend to put forward a range of questions with those who, like us, read, practice and think along with Deligny.


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