Alain Barthélémy - Ether
Alain Barthélémy‘s work is composed of texts, objects, and media which take part of a program one could qualify as anthropo-fictional. His production most often brings to the surface missing narratives, origins and context of the objects being left to the unknown. His material is, in that sense, as much the multiplicity of the untold stories as the physical existence of his installations. Untold, but yet rooted in a speculative anthropology, which would go beyond its original subject of the anthropos, to include an extended network of beings, from the machine to the animal through the invisible and the unspeakable.
extract of Un entretien en cohue concerning the artist
I think you remember, we had once started a conversation about language, and what came quickly to the point was the question of translation ; the travel from a language to another would probably scratch some of the realities we would have wished to transmit. I did mention at that moment Samuel Beckett, for whom this approximation, located in the translation process, offers a space to be taken advantage of, a space where the non-mastery, the non-confidence is an opportunity to overcome conventions and offers the freedom to invent and make less “univoque” forms and formulations
Yes I do remember this walk and this conversation ! I totally share your feeling and your thoughts about language. I also think language is one of the very first representational systems. It is therefore the place of invisible conventions but also of very loud and normative ones (thinking of modes of language which express direct social function : class discrimination or administrative technicality, to only mention two of them).
As you underlined once, theres is a “right talk”, which regards spelling and grammar at the first place before extending to a good and proper use of language. This “right talk” is a normative talk, this is the talk of conventions, which embodies an ensemble of social codes and impose their forms and control. Feeling uncomfortable, alien in a language is often the symptom of a search for those social codes. We don’t understand anymore how we should talk what we “should say”. But this unease might be overcome because there is, in this situation, a great opportunity (and a great excuse !) to escape from the crushing normativity of the “right talk” and to singularize with the invention of one very own language.