Gestural Philosophy

Küsntlerhaus Büchsenhausen, Innsbruck, Austria.


My project focuses on the work of the French pedagogue Fernand Deligny (1913–1996), in particular his archive, preserved at the Institut Mémoires de l’Édition Contemporaine (IMEC). So far, Deligny’s work has been approached from three disciplinary areas in France and abroad: philosophy, pedagogy, and social work. In each of them, art in its various manifestations has only been considered as a tool for exploration and representation, but not as the direct means of research. My project seeks to compose a methodological framework based on practice and on the material condition that sustains and characterizes Deligny’s archive, to expose and unfold his practice’s important feature as a procedure of artistic knowledge.

The language Deligny produced over the years was sufficiently plastic, both in its fragmentation and elusiveness, to materialize in novels, poems, theoretical essays, letters, drawings, films, actions, and meetings. It seems to me that Deligny’s entire project embodies the state of the undomiciled, in the sense of a practice based on a constant movement of avoidance. Deligny avoids the norms that we usually presuppose to give a form to something. In his view we must start from an attitude of abandonment, which is then prolonged by promoting non-disciplinary solidarities. This means in his case: by abandoning the university, then Armentières, and then La Borde, by running away, by turning away, by drifting. This will mark his gestural philosophy. A gestural philosophy is brought about through minor gestures, becoming present through different materials; it happens in the act of forming a procedure that avoids any fixation.

Gestural Philosophy will develop a novel approach to Deligny’s practice, anchored on two axes of knowledge exogenous to the academic context: on the one hand, using artistic research as the main methodological tool; on the other, using a theoretical framework based on contemporary Latin American philosophical thought, which has maintained a particular relationship with poetic, visual and performative production. The research outcomes will be presented during various public events and formats such as panel discussions, reading seminars, and workshops, aiming to elaborate a critical-creative research approach based on practice.