|The Floating Dinner buy
Translated by Ana Iwataki
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« I’m a recording instrument… »
« …I want to be a machine, and I feel that
whatever I do and do machine-like is what I want to do. »
A dinner. It was a dinner. A real dinner. But a kind of dinner of conspirators. I mean, I’m saying conspirators: serial novel kind of conspirators, like in The Mysteries of Paris, like in Alexandre Dumas (I like Alexandre Dumas a lot, never outdated), not terrorists preparing an evil deed. A bogus secret society kind of thing. The romantic vision of a conspirator, there you go! A small group of friends, or not yet friends, brought together to have dinner and converse in a remote, unexpected place. Seedy? Unique is more like it. Its pretext? A title-pretext more than a theme. Like the title of a popular novel. Or a B movie. Or a logo. The Cult of the Exiled. Each of the future guests received by email, like a secret ticket, the following text as it figures on the Facebook page “LCDB (Le Culte des Bannis / The Cult of the Exiled)”:
There are artists and artworks enjoying such a capital of admiration that we qualify them as a “cult”. […] There are, among the artists that we would easily define as a “cult,” creators of all stripes co-opted by others from a different domain: “filmmakers for artists” (FFA), “musicians for architects” (MFA), “artists for writers” (AFW), etc. We can only question what unites and simultaneously marginalizes them, even delegitimizes them as authors. In short, what makes them exiled…”
This text came with a formal invitation, in which the date and the location were indicated (Tuesday March 3, 2015 at the “Maison flottante” of Cneai,1 anchored on Île des Impressionnistes in Chatou), and its context (the solicitation of Peeping Tom’s Digest, in residence there, to organize “something” around the Cult of the Exiled). Everything was thus precise (keywords: “cult” and “exiled”) and, for all that, as unclear as possible. Olivier Cadiot (O.C.), one of the future guests, had some responses to my email: “I’m not at all sure to understand this cult affair, but as it happens, I want to find out more,” finishing with a “banco” and a question: “dress code”? No dress code, my friend! A vague colloquium, ideas not fully fledged. Incidentally, I accompanied the announcement of this dinner with a photo extracted from Jean-Luc Godard’s La Chinoise that seemed to me to perfectly sum up the situation: “One must confront vague ideas with clear images.”
Let’s resume. It was a dinner. A real dinner. Where we ate, and very well, and where we drank, of course, and where we talked. A lot. What was said? How to conjure it? A cross between seriousness and vagaries. That’s it, vagaries. Asides, repartees, ellipses, digressions, circulation of unrestrained speech, truncated speech, in suspense. Things that gel, or that don’t gel completely. We jump from one thing to another. The ease of some, the restraint of others. Incomplete exaltation, meditation out loud, a false verbal jousting aborted by the sudden appearance of a sumptuous cheese plate immediately shutting the trap of speakers.
Yes, how to reconstruct this moment, long moment (three hours?), that each of the guests experienced differently. “Telling, a beautiful puzzle.” I don’t remember who said that, but that’s it! Exactly that. A beautiful puzzle. Not easy, in fact, to recount it. Mission impossible, even. Except to accept the idea that every reconstitution is partial, and necessarily partial. Each reconstitution, in whatever domain it may be, verges on reinvention. “The world is my representation,” said Schopenhauer. Let’s start from this postulate: this dinner is my representation. And my reinvention. I mean, something like that. The story that follows, incidentally cut quite short (digest), is not a transcription, then, even if I would have liked to be a tape recorder that night. To be just a machine. However maybe, after all, I am a machine. What is replicated doesn’t come from tapes, revealed to be inaudible. Unusable sound mush. Purely mental recording and pretty debauched. It’s better like that in the end. And so the myth is born. Approximations? Trickery? The false is a moment of truth.
The “Floating House” is an elegantly outfitted barge. Floor at sea level: the impression, indeed, of floating. Two large bay windows look…