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photo Ingrid Janssen

We scatter ashes, as if it is only once death has been declared that we can envisage the body multi­ plied and its absorption by the world. The only double we generally accept is that we see reflected in a mirror. Yet, imagine that a flash suddenly brings it to life and the thought is unnerving. One wrapping defines one individual -step past this symbolic frontier and you can envisage the flood­ gates opening to a terrifying expansion of the boundaries of thought and all the realms of possibility… The Internet is precisely such a space apart, where, having finally become virtual, the body can, without risk, divide, dilute itself and imagine itself ubiquitous. Nothing then remains but the substance, the originator, the individual who produced the first impulse. E.T. plunged into a virtual world as if into an experience which echoed his own from 1983 -an experience of legal non existence which forced him to endlessly redefine himself on the edges of reality. The legal guardianship of mental­ ly incapacitated adults, laid down as a postulate of life, effectively equates to erasure from the social record, to a removal from the world which electrifies the essence of the individual, in other words, the body and soul. Leaving judges to take on the responsibility of enshrining his existence in law, that of an individual under legal control and his other self, its mirror image, his deepest inner part, who, of course, they could never control, E.T. marked out, on this dual track on which he traveled incessantly back and forth, the boundaries of a space where, under the weight of coercion, he found freedom. For this was -and is- a search, a quest, that E.T. conducts on the line between the social and the religious, weaving together the paths of all mysteries. He lived with dark ways residing

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in his flesh, he threw his whole physical being into his secret quest, experiencing dangers at the surface of his emotions and bringing the infinitely sacred to the surface of the legal. Freedom to lead his life with full knowledge of how things really are -crossing a minefield or an obstacle course, he embarked, with enormous self-discipline, on

Obscurum per obscurius a path where the law was weak­ ened by being too present. This was a journey of initiation which put the body to the test, in as much as the battle and resistance became constant, each action in the end leading inevita­ bly (like a disability) to its continuation into the legal sphere. It was in this undefined area that E.T. was to enact his experience. So films, like referees, play the role of witnesses, and at the limit of the impression made by the body in reality, their single viewpoint is duplicated as it is bounced back to them. From the fissure emerges the point of non-return for the "I". "I", which beyond its psychiatric manifestation, experiences the irreducibility of the "being". E.T. accompanies his journey with symbolic images -on one hand the great book of the law, on the other the Great Book which is the Bible. Between them, with neither god nor master, but always seeking meaning and direction, walk his flesh, his thoughts and his relationship with society. Each time, he is tested, the end molded by suffering, in self-abnegation. Leaving the outer body, dissol­ ving, becomes just another way of rediscovering his essence. It is in the multiplicity of images, their accumulation over the time that

actions last, that he deconstructs and reconstructs himself. For his approach is utopian. By in effect questioning the position of the individual facing the legal system, the news and economic, political, social and religious groupings, he reveals what is possible and the networks that can give him genuine freedom to imagine the world. In 1980 E.T. came of age -the age they call carefree, when people usually rush to take their place in the social order. It is difficult though, in this day and age, to take side roads in all innocence. The end of this century looks after itself, it dreams of finishing with utopias and marks the death of the avant-garde. Finding reasons to hope then becomes an impossible battle. So E.T. decided to go his own way. However, in choosing to become a legal guinea pig, a laboratory animal to be dissected, he did not in any way allow the law to restrict him. On the contrary, he put himself under its constant gaze. The freedom he gave himself was still only that of the freedom to weigh up the tiny part where it could continue to function within himself. As Cain under a staring eye constantly on watch from the shadows of the tomb, he thus moved forward, reflecting an image whose strength was to lie in transgression and thus in humanity. It was while under supervision that he questioned the system, constantly doing things that clashed directly with the machin­ ery of the legal system; so that he can now relate this absurd story in which each setback underlined the flimsiness of the original case. This picture of life under legal guardianship can only belong to tragedy. Indeed, to think of yourself as experimental terrain implies a huge degree of honesty, so it is to be expected that this initiatory chapter will be written with savagery.


Opus IX: Abode of Chaos / La Demeure du Chaos 1999-2013  

thierry Ehrmann: we put all our passion and folly into preparing this French-English Collector, the book of the decade: 504 pages / 4.5 kg /...

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