Cloud and chimera

Pensées hybrides



A subtitle could be “In Repair.”

Repair the body

Repair the mind

Repair the soul

And get a second chance at ex-isting.

Josiane (Muriel Robin) might be the central character after all. A character damaged by life emotionally and physically transforms her home into a space for artists (musicians, dancers, singers) to rehearse and workshop. A generous laboratory where friendships and romances are formed and/or thrive, where bodies find their way back into shape and harmony, individually and collectively. Josiane mentors Elise (Marion Barbeau) back into hope, tutoring her into a different relationship to herself and her father.

Like fixing a meal—cooking also occupies center stage as another expressive form of creativity—fixing bodies and fixing bonds require the proper ingredients, spices, talent and patience. A balancing act of “authority and freedom” as Jed Perl recently argued it in his eponymous work.

Literature also appears—if indirectly, through books that are either read and quoted, or given but remain unread—as part of this constellation of artistic practices.

A celebratory feast for our heart and senses.

En Corps is truly a gift for our post-pandemic humanity. Thank you, Mr Klapisch.

The movie invited me into a very personal dance.  

The film takes place mostly indoors except for a few ‘outings’ or ‘breaking out’ scenes as Sidney Lumet would say—the iconic urban beauty of Paris and the natural sublime of some coastal wilderness. After a number of sequences shot in Josiane’s large mansion, the action moves outdoors by the ocean. I have a shock. I cannot believe it…My eyes lock on the familiar-looking bench by the edge of the cliff and the beloved rugged coastline… This can’t be… I stop focusing on the action of the movie to collect other clues. The camera focuses on the characters and the bodies occupy most of the screen, but I recognize the patch of land! Yet my reason keeps resisting such serendipity until there is no doubt: I catch a sight of the ruins. Now the characters are on the well-trodden path I walked so many times over so many years, trying, like Elise, to fix a bad ankle while trailblazing new ways for my existence. Taken by surprise, I surrender to the deep sense of joy I feel rising in my heart, and the cinematic magic prevents this elation from turning into nostalgia. Like the actors on screen, I find the proper spot to contemplate and wonder, poised between gratefulness and admiration.

Later in the film, Elise mentions the place “between Plouharnel and Quiberon”. Indeed. A sort of in-between place for dreams bathed in the sunset miracle of perfect light and air.

I experience the Proustian subject’s sense of wholeness and fulfillment. A true and pure moment of joy. 

As I leave the movie theatre in a state of happiness I have not felt in a long time, Josiane’s final words to Elise still resonate with me—a legacy that only loving and compassionate resilience can inspire: “If you dance again, you will help all of us find our little entry into beauty.”

                                                                                      Marie LIENARD-YETERIAN

Earth Day 2022: Green Talk

Credit photo: Valerie SIMON

Le vert agite le blanc. Confusion apparente de la nature réinventée par l’image.
Mise en scène fugace, traversée d’ébauches et de promesses.
Quelque chose bouge, tressaille, se met en mouvement.
Plus près. Les yeux traversent l’espace immobile et poursuivent leur recherche.
Le regard hésite. Explore d’abord les bords et ses jaunes. Suit la courbe de quelque trajectoire, et traverse le flou. S’accroche à la lumière pour s’aventurer au centre. Et y rester.
S’y reposer.
Puis, de ce blanc scintillant, recommencer le voyage circulaire et redécouvrir la courbe des pensées et des émotions traversées. Et laisser ce qui émerge maintenant clairement habiter le rêve qui nait.

Different shades of green. Colors moving beyond the stillness.
A Whirling vortex.
The turmoil of your own thoughts follows the lead.
Your eyes take a step forward.
Your vision adjusts slowly and starts sorting out the small from the tiny.
Shapes and contrasts tease your imagination into creating.
Your emotional color sets the final hue.
And tone.
As you are stirred into patterns of your making.
Into the picture. And beyond.


Changer de regard pour ne plus s’aveugler.
Suivre les lignes esquissées par notre connaissance.
Reconnaître certains motifs.
Se perdre dans l’inconnu, dans l’immensité.
Comme on trace des constellations dans le ciel nocturne, sans jamais épuiser son mystère.
Laisser notre esprit danser en spirale avec le vivant.
Par tous les moyens possibles.
Entrer en résonance.
Toujours faire grandir la vie en nous, et autour de nous.
La sensibilité. L’harmonie. La tendresse. La beauté.



A modern tragedy and a tragic flaw: a lie cannot help truth prevail.

A study in human emotions and passions: jealousy, rivalry, bitterness, fear, anger.

Some parable about the impact of social networks on our lives.

For better and for worse.

The motifs of imprisonment and disenfranchisement. Authoritarianism and surveillance.

The recording of a private scene, the public showing of it without any context. To harm and destroy the other. Out of resentment and/or jealousy.

The scapegoating.

The blackmailing.

Social networks might give uncanny power to personal grievances.  

The appetite for scandal and warmongering.

Manipulation and hypocrisy.

Rumors come and go, shaping the reputation of a man, and his life.

The inaudible voice of compassion and redemption.  

A man is trying to fix his life and mend for his former ways.

But he is brought back to his past relentlessly and mercilessly.

The enduring loyalty of family ties.

And love.

The beautiful bond between the father and the son.

Appearances and what they seem to say.

The truth and its battlefields.

A haunting question: what would have happened to Rahim’s fate without new technology?



A of betrayal, courage, censorship, fear, sacrifice and wit.

Uncanny times that bespeak ours.

The double frame of the movie in the movie.

A series of mirrors and traps.

There is always more than first meets the eye.

The self-reflective dimension.

The deja-vu: breaking into the safe box, on screen and reality.

Playing with the viewer’s assumptions.

Film introduces the notion of illusion and performance.

The surprise effect and the ultimate sacrifice (killing the beloved).

Who is to be trusted? Who is reliable?

Putting the collective good over the personal happiness?

The game of hide and seek with the authorities. How to develop strategies of resilience and survival in the face of an authoritarian and brutal regime. 

The chess game, the safe deposit box, the films.

Performing and using a persona to escape, to defeat surveillance.

To betray or not to betray? Is it betrayal when the government has proved so inhuman?

To be a spy or a hero? “Desertion” is the word the husband uses…

The drive through the forest: the only moment of lightness in a claustrophobic world.

The sense of threat, the constant fear of denunciation.

Projecting the film for the soldiers. The reversal and some possible denouement.

Why did her husband do this? To protect her? To protect himself?

Lack of resolution and closure.

The wife’s laughter is the only available means of dismissing horror and torture. 

Her withdrawing into madness withholds the dilemma of expressing the truth in a way that would harm her and betray her husband and his cause.

Erasmus’s In Praise of Folly! The Shakespearean fool.

Finding shelter in an asylum, pretending to be mad in order to remain sound… Her only possible escape?

The incongruous and paradoxical hope that Japan will be defeated in order for the war to end.

Yet, some enormous and unspeakable sacrifice will be performed.

The coda: the effect of war, the allusion to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The collective toll paid by the population. She alone walks out like some ghost haunting reality.

The sea/The shore: to be left behind. Crying out of fear or relief?

His leaving and waving goodbye on the dingy boat. Escape (desertion) as the only outcome. To face the rage of the sea rather than remain silent.

The lyrics of the song in his own film provides the real message—a message that she alone can decode.

Of note:

Three lines that resonate with our current predicament:

The husband to the wife: What seems normal to you might be offensive to others in these times.

The wife to the childhood friend turned torturer: You used to be nice. If the current time has changed you, perhaps you can change the current time.

The wife to the family doctor: Pretending I am a mad woman is the way to survive in this world without becoming one.

Marie Lienard-Yeterian


The opening shot a déjà vu feeling. In film and in reality.
The famous crane shot in Gone with the Wind and its merciless exposition of the destruction of Atlanta (and the South and its army).
The rubble of countless contemporary cities in the wake of war and ethnic/religious conflict.
A sequence mediated by familiar images of recent news coverage. An uncanny moment of recognition.
The lingering uneasiness left by the contemplation of ruins—real and metaphorical—in our current holiday context two years in a pandemic that has exploded our comfort zones.

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To dig into the truth. Literally and metaphorically.
At the individual and at the collective level.

Bodies pregnant with legacies—tender or violent.
A gestation process, and a painful delivery.
Dealing with the aftermath. 

The opening sequence: 
Taking pictures, trying to capture life in a snapshot. To hold still what is moving. To record and remember. The lines of a face, the sparkle of a gaze, the light of a smile.

Pictures of the past and of the present. 
Pictures as tokens of History and its lieux de memoire.
Revisiting the pictures, revisiting History. 

Shots of commodities sometimes replace photographs of people. Objects too, have a life of their own and bespeak other historical processes.

The toy that was buried is unearthed and can circulate again between generations. In its proper place. In the proper hands. 

Bodies hijacked by death in the midst of their activities. The volcano of Civil War has buried them beneath its fatal ashes. 

Life holds still, like the memories that provide the only guiding thread back to them.

The archeological work of digging up oblivion and erasure. The emotional work of processing the unearthed artifacts. 

To confront and articulate historical and personal memory without ignoring what meets the eye. First and after. 

The legitimacy given by science sometimes helps.

The body does not lie. 

Genetic evidence, or bones in the earth. The veracity of facts can no longer be denied.

Some cognitive coherence and emotional alignment for Janis. If your passion is to bring to light what is, then you start with your own life. Even if it takes time. Janis’s journey inscribes itself in the national journey. 
It takes time to restore what has been broken, stolen, damaged. 
But truth makes you free.

Telling a story or inheriting one: trying to patch together lose narrative threads on the twin loom of memory and the imagination.

Love in its many faces and guises. 
Love that comes and goes.
And returns, uninvited, to haunt scripts of domesticity and normativity. 

The final shot: 
Cecilia the truth-inspirer is looking down on the historical legacy that awaits her.
A new Spain, perhaps, where the past can be laid to rest, where survivors can mourn their loved ones, and where filiations can be revisited.
it is as if, under little the little girl’s gaze, artifacts of the past retrieved their human form: a palimpsest of humanity that only love can see—defeating, if for an instant, the legacy of hatred. 



Witty and fast-paced, Wes Anderson’s film triggers in us a compulsion to move on.

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Pour un Manifeste de la Distance

Le contexte pandémique qui régit notre existence depuis mars 2020 nous a amené à re-penser des notions clés de notre existence—en particulier dans notre rapport à l’autre. La technologie s’est avérée essentielle dans notre vie relationnelle, à la fois professionnelle et personnelle, et le virage post humaniste amorcé depuis ces dernières années s’est confirmé. Mais une régression a aussi caractérisé notre humanité « amputée » par le manque de présence dans le monde physique. Par ailleurs, d’autres dimensions de l’expérience humaine voient le jour, et se font valoir. La distance—et son corollaire—le « distanciel »—ont trouvé, à notre insu peut-être, une réalité et une consistance inattendues. 

Où sommes-nous maintenant? Dans quel(s) lieu(x)? Dans quel espace-temps?

Dans nos nouvelles vies de travailleurs digitaux, d’amis à distance, de clients en ligne, nous cherchons désespérément les autres, la “dimension humaine”, le “langage non verbal”. Il nous semble que “quelque chose manque” dans les expériences à distance, mais ce quelque chose est difficile à saisir et à décrire précisément. Nous opposons distanciel et présentiel, nous avons le sentiment d’être coupé des autres dans le Digital mais quand peut-on vraiment prétendre être ensemble?

Suffit-il seulement de partager le même espace physique? Pourquoi alors peut-on se sentir intimement lié à une histoire fictive et à son auteur, tous deux très loin de nous, dans l’espace et dans le temps. Un livre a-t-il un langage non verbal? Comment se fait-il que nous puissions voir des dieux dans l’alignement des étoiles, des animaux dans les nuages ou des signes dans nos rêves et nous sentir connecté à ces images, d’une façon profonde et intime? Où est exactement la “dimension humaine” d’une constellation?

Vous pouvez lire ce que j’écris, vous pouvez entendre ma voix, voir mon visage ou mon corps bouger le long de différentes lignes, mais je ne pourrai jamais partager avec vous ce que cela fait d’être moi. Je serai, à jamais, le seul à en faire l’expérience, et cela disparaîtra avec moi. La conscience possède une singularité intrinsèque qui agit comme un trou noir: rien ne peut en sortir, rien ne peut se déplacer directement d’une conscience à une autre, sans passer par une forme de transformation, de reproduction, de médiatisation. C’est un point de distance nulle. Le seul. Là où je suis. Contracté à l’infini.

Et pourtant nous ne sommes pas seuls. Il existe des expériences que nous pouvons partager, vivre à plusieurs. Et l’une des plus essentielles à l’être humain est l’expérience d’appartenir à un groupe, d’être ensemble, de se vivre en tant que partie d’une communauté.

Les conditions qui permettent de générer cette expérience et de la développer est ce que nous appelons interactions. Par les mots et les gestes que nous partageons, les interactions nous connectent en réseau, et structurent nos communautés en y distribuant sélectivement les discours et les actes. Cette segmentation de nos échanges peut suivre des rythmes variés : très désynchronisés dans les lettres d’amour traditionnelles, ou vibrant à très haute fréquence dans les disputes intenses. Mais je sais toujours lorsque c’est mon tour de parler ou d’agir. Les interactions savent traverser le temps et l’espace, elles permettent de transformer la distance en un espace commun dont je peux faire l’expérience.

Je ne saurai jamais si vous percevez le monde de la même façon que moi. Je ne saurai jamais si nous voyons le même rouge. La couleur n’appartient qu’à nos mondes intérieurs. A tout jamais hors d’atteinte de l’autre. Et pourtant nous pouvons expérimenter un monde commun, par-delà cette distance infinie.

Enfants, nous avons hérité du pouvoir de transformer le monde. En utilisant la formule magique “on dirait que”, nous savons comment construire des univers parallèles dans lesquels et avec lesquels nous jouons, ensemble, avec d’autres humains, partageant l’expérience de la coopération dans le même espace imaginaire.

Grâce au pouvoir de notre imagination, nos interactions sont en effet indépendantes de la réalité physique. Elles n’ont besoin que d’une convention partagée pour advenir. Au-delà de nos jeux d’enfants, la réalité déborde d’artefacts qui matérialisent des ensembles de conventions, en délimitent la zone de pouvoir : la signalisation routière, l’argent, les professions, les entreprises ou les propriétés privées n’existent et ne sont efficaces que tant que tout le monde y croit. Même si l’on ne sait pas si les autres le voient du même rouge, on s’arrête au feu de signalisation, car c’est de cette façon que les grandes personnes interagissent sur la route.

Quand nous jouons, quand nous dansons ou construisons une cabane, nous vivons une expérience synchronisée, dans un temps commun. Mais l’interaction peut s’étirer, se désynchroniser le long du temps. L’artisan répétant le geste transmis à travers les générations, les chasseurs lisant les empreintes de leurs proies, le chaman possédé par les esprits… tous mobilisent leur imagination pour coopérer par-delà l’espace et le temps, avec différents acteurs, humains, non humains, artefacts, actuels ou virtuels. Nos modes de coopération savent se jouer de la distance.

L’adoption du logiciel Zoom dans le quotidien de nos vies personnelles et professionnelles a révolutionné nos vies, et on en a d’abord peu perçu les conséquences à tous les niveaux, y compris anthropologiques. Au printemps 2020, le nombre d’utilisateurs est passé, en l’espace de quelques semaines, de 2 millions à 200 millions. Zoom s’est finalement imposé comme le moyen incontournable des diverses modalités communicationnelles pour aller jusqu’à conditionner—et façonner peut-être—notre vie sociale, familiale et même spirituelle. Il s’est généralisé en tant qu’outil de choix de l’enseignement en ligne pour cette année 2020-2021, en particulier dans les universités où finalement, après un bref retour en présentiel, tous les cours (magistraux, travaux dirigés et séminaires) sont repassés dans le mode virtuel. Son succès est en grande partie lié à sa facilité d’utilisation, mais aussi à sa poly-fonctionnalité. Vu au départ comme un pis-aller et/ou une solution d’urgence et temporaire, il est finalement apparu comme facilitant, voire générant, une autre façon de vivre—et faire vivre—la classe. Et sa longévité n’est plus remise en question—pour le meilleur ou pour le pire, seul l’avenir nous le révèlera.

Zoom orchestre en effet des modalités inédites de ce que l’on pourrait appeler « l’être ensemble ». Lorsque le cours par Zoom s’est imposé comme fondement de l’enseignement supérieur dans de nombreux pays, des questions ont surgi plus ou moins rapidement, en particulier la manière de s’approprier cet outil devenu incontournable. Tout enseignant sait que la manière de se représenter les enjeux pédagogiques et des taches d’apprentissage a un effet primordial pour l’apprenant ; dans le cas de Zoom, il fallait transformer une limitation ou contrainte en atout innovant et innovateur. Il s’agissait en particulier de s’approprier la distance—distance abolie, au moins temporairement, par l’intimité créée par le visage sur l’écran. Le professeur parle à chacun et à tous dans une logique dialectique alors que la parole passe entre les participants, de carré en carré, et que la discussion dans le chat fournit un autre conduit de communication qui redéfinit la distance entre les participants. Du lien a ainsi été construit dans un contexte où quelquefois, comme pour l’acteur qui rentre en scène, l’enseignant devait croire que son public était bien là, dans le noir de sa salle faite de mini camera obscura. Et vaincre le trac de rentrer dans l’intimité de ce que ces carrés, noirs ou pas, révèleraient malgré eux.

La fonctionnalité chat a joué un rôle central dans une véritable métamorphose de nos cours magistraux, par exemple. Elle permet à l’enseignant d’écrire les mots difficiles ou les concepts clé à la vitesse à laquelle les étudiants peuvent les assimiler ; elle facilite la prise de parole chez les plus timides qui peuvent ainsi intervenir dans le cours d’une façon qu’ils ne l’auraient jamais fait en présentiel, soit par dans chat collectif, soit directement dans le chat privé à l’intention de l’enseignant.

Pour l’enseignant, il s’agissait de jongler entre le contenu à présenter et la gestion des remarques ou questions faites dans le chat ou par le biais des « mains levées ». Une mise en œuvre éprouvante, il est vrai, mais qui a eu des résultats inespérés. La charge cognitive liée à l’apprentissage à distance a pu être allégée, et le décrochage inhérent à ces technologies où l’on peut effectivement être connecté, mais non présent, a été réduit. En effet, la dynamique ainsi créée a généré une atmosphère qui a permis à chacun de se sentir inclus, loin du formalisme de l’amphi, et une certaine intimité dans l’échange faite au rythme de la conversation plutôt que du cours magistral a induit un rythme d’assimilation plus approprié pour l’étudiant qui, par ailleurs, sentait qu’il pouvait à tout moment intervenir et agir sur ce qui se passait. Il y a donc eu un bénéfice au niveau de l’apprentissage ; l’étudiant directement ou indirectement sollicité a contribué véritablement à la formation du corps organique que constitue le cours par Zoom, devenant acteur dans un processus dialogique de construction du savoir.

Arrêtons-nous enfin sur une expérience particulièrement riche menée dans les cours de théâtre où les étudiants sont devenus effectivement des acteurs en jouant des extraits de pièces étudiées pendant le semestre. Ils ont pu se servir utilement des maniements d’identité possible liés à l’affichage du nom sur l’écran, et mêler techniques théâtrales et cinématographiques, en particulier par le recours au gros-plan, les effets hors-scènes (voix off) et les coupures abruptes (en éteignant la camera, créant des effets de montage) plus frappantes pour un spectateur que le jeu d’un rideau que l’on ferme et/ou que l’on ouvre. Nous (spectateurs zoomiens) avions bien l’impression de « faire public » ; l’émotion était palpable, et rires et applaudissements se font fait entendre pour la plus grande joie des acteurs à la suite d’un type de spectacle qui nous avait bien fait entrer dans l’économie de l’illusion théâtrale.

Finalement, on peut conclure que, si ce logiciel a signalé et rappelé la place importante de la technologie dans nos vies posthumanistes, il a aussi conduit à ré-inviter notre humanité (blessée et vulnérable) dans la salle de classe et cette pratique humaine unique qu’est l’enseignement—et, de ce fait, à la ré-inventer aussi. Par ailleurs, c’est toute la dialectique du maitre et du disciple qui a repris sa place à travers le face à face—par écran interposé, certes, mais bien réel. La parole du professeur, bien que destinée à un groupe, épousait souvent la courbe de l’échange individuel, gagnant de ce fait en intensité et en authenticité—peut-être même en vérité—et en efficacité heuristique et épistémologique. La maïeutique pédagogique du mode didactique s’inscrit dans de très anciennes traditions trouve une urgence et une pertinente renouvelées par son expression digitale. Qu’en penserait Socrate ?…

Nous sommes aux balbutiements de quelque chose de nouveau, et si l’expérience du distanciel reste, aujourd’hui, difficile, nous ne pensons pas que la distance soit le problème. Les expériences digitales sont limitées parce qu’elles laissent trop souvent notre imaginaire de côté. Là est la vraie distance, inépuisable et fertile. Notre monde imaginaire nous permet de nous échapper de nos limites physiques, de nous métamorphoser. L’expérience digitale ne sera pas meilleure parce que le son ou la résolution de l’écran augmentent. La technologie doit nous permettre d’explorer l’infini de nos imaginaires partagés. Nous sommes des voyageurs, la distance est là où nous nous épanouissons.



A collaborative writing project

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Earth Day 2021


LEAF 1: The Sunflower Dance

I’ve been having these dreams lately, dreams of precious clarity. I am standing in a field of sunflowers and there is a river that runs through the middle, a river of crystal clear water. Even awake I can hear the sweet melody of the water rippling in the sun and against boulders. I am there alone, barefoot and I am at peace, finally. But I am alone, until she comes to me, Granny. She appears and stands right by my side and we stand still watching the shiny water and the golden sunflowers. It feels as years pass us by, and I feel my toes turning into roots, delving deeper and deeper into the ground. Slowly ivy is growing all over, « this is peace » I say to myself. The world has forgotten all about me, but Granny is there with me and as we both turn into trees I wake up. 

Although she passed away three years ago, Granny is still the ghost looming over my writing; she’s the bitterness in my words and the hope in my defeats. I wasn’t there when she decided to kick the bucket. I came back from the big city when her health seriously started to decay, I gave her my goodbyes and when I was gone she left too. Deep down a part of me knows that she had been waiting for me to finally go in peace. Granny was a real piece of work and I have heard many times through my life that I had inherited her fiery temper, her knife-sharped tongue, and her bullet-like stares. 

I was her pride. 

Granny had always been misunderstood, people always took her apparent coldness for a lack of feelings, but she once said to me :
 « people like us put on this mask because we feel too much and it would be unbearable for everyone, including us, to show it ».

Granny felt a lot, and in a world where it always felt like I was stranded on a shore, she’d always been my raft. Suffice to say I wouldn’t be who I am today without her. She is both my roots and the flowers blooming in my heart, she’s the one who taught me to run barefoot in the fields to connect with the Earth, and it’s the reason that I celebrate her on every Earth Day.

On top of my bookshelf, there is a pile of journals and books that belonged to her and that have been collecting dust there for years. I never opened them, I barely touched them, I think the last time I dared to was the day I placed them on that top shelf. There is something sacred about books, and journals, at least to me, and knowing that they belonged to her made them even holier, but last march, out of curiosity I opened one. It was an orange, fabric-bound journal with a washed-out orange cover and gold lettering reading the words « Agricultural Diary, 1967 ». I spent a few minutes touching the cover, thinking that she had done the same years earlier, and then I mustered the courage to open it. 

It was blank. 
I flipped the pages, looking for something, a trace of her, and then I found it. 

« March 16 :
I planted my tomato seeds today. 
Marcel told me it would never grow, it’s too early.
I’m gonna show him that he’s wrong. »

There was nothing else. Just this. No indication of what happened next. Was she right? I can’t tell for sure but it made me laugh so hard, almost tearing up at the images these words conjured up in my mind. I could see her small figure storming out of her greenhouse, cheeks tainted with red, and mumbling under her breath that she was right and that she will prove it and that she would shut him up. If there is one thing that I’ve learned about Granny was that no one should try to come between her and her garden. Even if sometimes when looking back, I tend to think I might have been the only one who could. 

One of my earliest memory I have of her is one that took place in the greenhouse, her real home. I couldn’t have been older than six years old, and I was there sitting on her lap listening to her talking about all of the flowers and plants that she was caring for. I can’t tell you what they were, but I know that this is the day I fell in love with nature. Through the years, growing up, going to her place was my favorite thing. My grandparents were farmers and therefore had a lot of land and plants. Granny and I would walk the grounds together, and she would introduce me to every single flower, branch, and leaf. What I loved the most was when summer was coming and sunflowers were blooming, she would take a piece of fabric and we’d lie beneath them, watching the golden flowers move to follow the sun. Together, we could spend hours laying there on the ground under the yellow hue. In her garden she would tell me stories of witches that grew magical plants; I used to be obsessed with witches at the time and Granny would make up stories about the plants being alive and being able to understand us. We would dance with the sunflowers, laughing ‘till it hurt. 

The sunflower dance. 

I hadn’t thought about that in years. I would stand on my tippy-toe, hands in the air moving like leaves in the wind, turning on myself the same way the sunflowers did. One day, after the sunflower dance I sunk to her lap, laughing and she whispered in my ear the secret, her secret. 

« I’m a witch» she said « the sunflowers dance with us because I ask them too. » 
She then went on to sing me the lullaby she had created for me. No rhyme, no rhythm but it was the best. It was, my, lullaby

« Down by the lake there’s a house where the witches go,
Down by the lake there’s a house where the witches dance,
And the world stops
And the flower blooms,
And the world goes on
And they sing and dance
Down by the lake.
Down by the lake there’s a house you can go to, 
When the world seems to fade,
When the flowers cry 
And the tree dies,
Down by the lake the witches talk to flowers
And the wind sings back to them.
Down by the lake there’s a house where I lived since I was a girl,
Down by the lake
Down by the witch’s house
There’s a place you can call home »

It all clicked, it was this house, her house. She was the witch from the song, and my eight-year-old self believed it with all his might. But Granny was so much more than the witch from that song, she was a teacher, she taught me the way nature worked and the Earth turned, and on this Earth Day, it is my duty to share it with the world. 

When in her garden, Granny had three rules she kept repeating to me.

Number One: You get what you give

The Earth takes care of us, we have to take care of her. If you plant something for your pleasure or your needs, you must plant something else to thank the Earth for giving it to you. It can be anything, anything is valuable because it’s the intent that matters. As long as you want to want to thank the Earth, she knows.

Number two: The Earth is a lonely loving mother 

We are children of the Earth. She is a mother that remembers every child who walked her, everyone that ever existed still lives in her heart but she is lonely. People have forgotten about her, and she is mistreated, so, whenever you can, you should walk barefoot. Walk barefoot and let her feel your presence that’s how you show love. It’s all about the energy, you have to connect to the Earth from time to time.

This one, the last one, was learned at my expense. I remember she was showing me around and telling me about a plant she’d been trying to save for weeks. Honestly, I wasn’t impressed, the plant was nothing short of special, and I told her. She scolded me and gave me the third rule that day.

Number three: All flowers deserve to bloom

Just like people every flower is unique and worthy of love. Even if you can’t see the beauty of it, every flower deserves to bloom and live happily on its own.

            Remembering all of this, it seemed natural to me, when I found her journal to reiterate her experience. She was the reason I went to buy tomato seeds for the first time in my life and planted them on March sixteen. I have been caring for them ever since that day. All this process made me feel so much closer to her, knowing that I was doing exactly what she did years and years before I even came to this world. It might only be tomatoes but this experience was an emotional rollercoaster. I have been tending to them for more than a month now and they have sprouted, and grown so much, and I can finally say that Granny was right.

She’s gone but she’s everywhere, I find her in every flower and every plant, and even though she’s not here anymore, she’s still the one who’s always right. 

In her words, 

« Be blessed, 
And don’t forget to bloom. »



‘It seems to me that we all look at Nature too much, and live with her too little.’

Oscar Wilde

Nature, with a capital letter, is indeed something we look and observe passionately, but merely as a thing of beauty. Treating it as an object and not an ally is what O. Wilde warned us about decades ago. But even then, treating it as an ally is not enough. Another famous near-aphorism states that we need nature, but that she does not need us. It is rather curious how we tend to personify Earth as a she, and yet, to not consider her as more than a just thing, an object or a tool.

In this short piece, I do not intend to distance myself with this problematic human-nature. I am just as guilty. But mentioning it, again, is not enough. Actions do speak louder than words, yet, each year we hear the same hammering of hopes, wishes, and promises from world leaders, politicians, activists, and everyday citizens alike. Sort of like this post. What can actually be done?

A serious emphasis has been put on the benefits of a plant-based diet. To go into detail is not intended here, nor is the idea to sermonise, but the meat industry consumes staggering amounts of natural resources. Eating less meat, or completely stopping it altogether, is something to consider. An entire subject in itself. Along considering reusable bags, recycling, saving on water and so on, they’re all good ideas. Sure. But there is only so much one can do on an individual level. Collectively, we can be an imperishable natural resource.

But I’ve writing so far as if we all had similar impacts on the environment. But linked to the meat industry, all industries pollute in great amounts. In greater amounts than you or me. Some even put phoney half-hearted, half-arsed messages on how nothing matters more than the environment as they proceed to pour toxic wastes into the nearest river. One would think that politicians would have done something, but what came out of the COP conferences? What have our leaders put in place? Maybe actions are not only to be taken by us by ourselves, the common people, but to be decided by those who have the actual means and possibilities to positively impact the environment. If they will not, why cannot we rise to those ranks? Why should we not elect those who want actual changes? Why not knock at the corporations’ doors, let our voices heard by those in power, by those who preach but do not practise? This is not a call to revolt, but hopefully also not another message lost in indifference.





Can’t you hear her cry?
Can’t you see her pain?

Once beloved and respected by all
Dear Pachamama
Each of her children celebrated as gods and goddesses
Across all four corners of this earth we call home
To Incan Into and Mesopotamian Shapash we owed the miracle of the sun
Chinese and Dahomey thanked Hengo and Mawu for the gift of light within the night
Egyptian God Shu and Celtic Borrum carried our boats with their winds
Romans and Celts revered Neptune and Nehalennia for the infinite source of life found within their seas
Bunzi showered the lands of Kongo allowing for crops to grow
Humble were Hawaiians when faced with the power of Pele’s volcanoes

What has led us to this?

What has led us to now?

How did we get here?

What have we done?

Each day the news heralds in
Yet another fire, another flood, another hurricane
It is Mother Nature’s cry
For all of her children are slowly dying
And it is our hand that is killing
Millions of species are disappearing in order for us to thrive

Or so we think…

This is in fact a suicide.


LEAF 5: My Dear Workers

Like your primate friends, you are on the front line.

Too many times you have been criticised, frowned upon, if not completely ignored: with minimal wage often comes very little gratitude— yet, you know you are instrumental in the survival of us all.

From above I watch you running around, relentlessly carrying food and other necessary goods—sometimes much bigger and heavier than you are.

I see you following strict orders on how to handle them, where to store them, and how fast you should go. I see you step aside when necessary, so your co-workers can carry on with their business.

Each and every one of you has a precise task as regular as clockwork. You all walk, lift, lay down, and repeat—without even stopping for a break.

You always wake up at dawn and start your daily routine without complaining. Neither the wind, nor the rain, nor the snow, nor the pandemic will ever stop you. It is as if those did not even exist.

You are tiny by your status, grand by your devotion.

You are Mother Nature’s creation.

Today, we celebrate you both.

Adrien SPIGA


Il n’y a pas de distance, il n’y a que des trajectoires.
Il n’y a pas de limite, il n’y a que des intensités.
Il n’y a pas de position, il n’y a que des vitesses.
Il n’y a pas d’extrèmités, il n’y a que du milieu.

Nous nous sommes imaginés distincts de la nature, nous nous sommes rêvés sur une autre planète. A distance. Hors sol.

Nous avons fantasmé la ligne droite du progrès, tracée dans un ciel vide, d’épaisseur nulle, nous avons cru pouvoir effacer tout ce que nous ne voulions pas voir. Déchets. Rejets. Immondices. Balancés au-delà des mots et de nos villes dans des trous qu’on a voulu croire infinis.

Nous avons voulu tracer la frontière entre nous et le reste. Nous avons désiré que notre magie et nos incantations nous protègent une fois pour toute. Segmentations. Fractionnement. Polarisation.

La nature ne s’extrait pas de la nature. La nature est le milieu et ce qui le constitue. Du vivant chacun de nous est une trajectoire, une intensité, une vitesse. Chaque poussière d’un même éboulement. Chaque extension d’un même rhizome. Chaque instant d’un même temps. Continu. Fluide. Neutre.

Pas de ligne droite, pas de ligne pure, toujours des enchevêtrements. Chacune de nos trajectoires, chacune de nos actions s’appuie sur le milieu en même temps qu’elle y agit. Elles sont le milieu, elles le forment, le déforment, rien n’en sort, et tout ce qui semble s’accumuler dans leurs méandres diffuse en réalité dans d’autres trajectoires, à d’autres vitesses, rejaillira avec une certaine intensité.

Nous ne sommes pas fixes. Nous sommes en devenir. Nous sommes le devenir du milieu qui nous traverse et que nous habitons. Nous sommes une colonie, une multitude, toujours en mouvement, toujours en métamorphoses. Nous sommes le vivant qui cherche à subsister, qui se déploie en nouvelles arabesques à travers le vide.

Que voulons-nous devenir? Sur quelles trajectoires? A quelles vitesses, avec quelles intensités? Voulons nous être le milieu qui se désagrège, qui fuit, qui se recroqueville et meurt?

Quelle forêt voulons-nous être? Quel rhizome? Quel lichen?
Comment pouvons-nous continuer à devenir?


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