August 2, 2021

“We will only find the desire to live by renewing the links with the living”

From the most political of French science fiction authors, we know the powerful imagination and the ardent criticism of addictive technologies and the society of control. His latest work, Scarlett and Novak (Rageot, 64 pages, 4.90 euros), challenges adolescents on the fatal risks of smartphone addiction. We know less that Alain Damasio, tireless surveyor of scrubland and mountains, tries to recognize, or rather to “To experience”, the flight of the red kite and the circaete Jean-le-blanc.

The author of The Outside Zone (CyLibris 1999; La Volte, 2007), de The Bracing Horde (La Volte, 2004) and Stealthy (2019) receives us in his Marseille apartment, on the edge of the Calanques Park, the Mediterranean on the horizon. But his dreams are elsewhere, on a piece of mountain pasture where he nurtures the project of building, with others, a place “Where to experience this world in which we would like to live”.

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For the author of dystopias often inspired by reality, there is no longer any doubt that in a world of limited resources, the story of progress driven by technological innovation and economic growth has already come to nothing.

The writer, whose political conscience was forged by reading Nietzsche (1844-1900) and Deleuze (1925-1995), now quotes with the same enthusiasm the works of political ecology of Bruno Latour, the naturalist philosopher Baptist. Morizot, or the work of the lawyer Sarah Vanuxem on the concept of “land commons”.

A new story remains to be invented but which one? For Damasio, it goes through the outline of an art of living with a “user-friendly” and emancipatory technology, the patient reweaving the links. “To oneself, to others and to other species”, and the defense of a right to experiment, within “Self-governing areas” (ZAG), other social, political and environmental rules.

In May 2020, you co-signed a call to say “no to a return to normal”, published in “Le Monde”. What state of mind are you in today as life begins to take its course?

For a year and a half, we have been living a vital and painful experience, which could be science fiction, in its essence, namely to realize what was at the beginning only a concept, a potentiality. With Covid-19, the abstract possibility of individual confinement on the scale of four billion people has become real: we found ourselves guinea pigs in a global anthropological laboratory!

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