Alain Damasio at the Comédie du livre de Montpellier: “People are cut off from reality”

Alain Damasio at the Comédie du livre de Montpellier: “People are cut off from reality”
Alain Damasio at the Comédie du livre de Montpellier: “People are cut off from reality”

The author, who immersed himself in Silicon Valley, created a critical account of how technology and money guide humans.

His three novels (“La zone du exterior”, “La horde du contrevent” and “Les furtifs”) made him the greatest French science fiction writer. “Silicon Valley”, his latest work, is the result of his month-long trip to Silicon Valley, near San Francisco. From these seven chronicles, followed by a short story, it emerges that this immersion in the great factory of the future is almost a trip to hell. Meeting at the Tropisme hall, where he had carte blanche, Friday evening.

What do you remember from this trip to Silicon Valley?

Seeing how people work, the low diversity between them, their very strong individualism, the competition that reigns, the incredible money that is being made, it’s astonishing. The average salary is $15,000 per month! What is equally striking is that right next to the offices of X (formerly Twitter) there is an area of ​​extreme poverty. What matters there is not reality, but technology. There, they set up a start-up like one creates an association. Since it’s digitally based and there are very few costs, they can maximize their profits around a community. With digital, it has become very difficult to create connections. This results in great loneliness. There are more pets than children…

How does this universe infuse ours?

No matter where I go in the world, I see everyone on the same apps. There is a total standardization of practices, even though we all come from different cultures. The more individualized you are, the more you consume services, products, TV series, games, digital technology. It’s the idea that individual freedom trumps all else.

What is the danger for our societies?

What we are sold is that all types of connection are alienations, whether between us, with the living, with nature. This distorts the relationship we have with the collective, which is seen as something distressing, anxiety-provoking. While a well-built collective, there is nothing more liberating and emancipating.

This Sunday, meeting with the philosopher Yves Citton

This Sunday, May 19, at 1 p.m., Alain Damasio, who had carte blanche on this Book Comedy, meets literature professor Yves Citton, author of “For an ecology of attention” and “Altermodernities of lights” (Seuil ), in a dialogue entitled “Facing the coming world”.

“Yves is one of the most interesting philosophers todayunderlines Alain Damasio. He is a Deleuzian who has his review, Multitudes, on all contemporary themes of reflection. Through mythocracy, he shows how we guide our attitudes, our votes, our relationship with others and in particular with migrants. It shows the importance of the stories that influence us.”

Meeting this Sunday, May 19, at 1 p.m., at the amphitheater of the Faculty of Medicine. Free.

Is this what you experience with your “eco-place” in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence?

Yes, we set up the School of Living to forge links with the people of the valley, with the animals, with the biotope… I welcomed people in their thirties who had never bathed in a river where they had never picked mushrooms. Even among us, people are cut off from reality and have disinvested in their bodies.

Is this also the case in Silicon Valley?

Yes, there, we do sport to maintain the body machine, so that it is receptive to digital injunctions. But otherwise, the body is always sitting or lying down, at a temperature between 20 and 25°C. There is no more seduction in human relationships, no sensuality, no carnality. Everything is disembodied, everything is professional. And porn responds to frustration…

Manuela Parra and her stories of exiled women

Manuela Parra, who lives in Balaruc-le-Vieux, comes from a family of Spanish origin who fled Francoism to find refuge in France. For fifteen years, she has traveled France and Spain to collect testimonies from exiles.

“My book Borders and Women shows that this question is still relevant todayshe explains. One of the stories is about Naia, a young woman who took a boat from Libya. From small testimonies that I collected, I was able to reconstruct his itinerary.”

“I wrote these stories inspired by their testimonies or those of their loved ones when they disappearedsays Manuela Parra. They are punctuated by my poems and my engravings.”

If there was one word to define the work of the Hérault writer, it would be “transmission”. She witnesses this during the Franco-Spanish Meetings that she organizes every year in Montpellier, for ten days, with 300 high school students.

“Contrary to what we may think, young people are very sensitive to these wounds. I realize that sometimes, they carry more values ​​than adults. When we read to them stories of women on the path to exile , they are very touched and resonate.”

“We collaborated with SOS Méditerranée and we had young people who had crossed borders testify. We saw how high school students organized themselves to support them. We can take them as examples.”

President of the Voice of Extreme Poetry and Culture association, Manuela Parra is also part of a movement of poets in Spain. “At the beginning, I wrote about my emotions in relation to exile. Writing allowed me to step back and look at the destinies of others. This is where the need to transmit stories was born, but also values ​​such as humanity or welcome. Exiles represent a strength for the host country.”

This Sunday, May 19, Manuela Parra is at the Comédie du livre, on the Peyrou site (10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.-4 p.m.). From 4:30 p.m., she will be at the old medical faculty to participate in a round table from Éditions Chèvre-feuille étoilée, moderated by literary critic Margot Dijkgraaf.


NEXT Valady. Jean Couet-Guichot and Gaya Wisniewski, two artists in residence within the region