Culture is future »

03.30.2016

Contribution: "Enterprising culture" by Jean-Philippe Domecq

Cultural emulation

« Which advice would you give to young cultural entrepreneurs? »

I am only a writer, not an adviser. I am only a writer, which by definition means lonely, but I have nothing against the word “enterprising”, which is strong and fine, productive. I am not even against the economic meaning of the word, how could I be, even if I see some people fall into this cliché, well fitted for their rhetorical emotion; how to be against an entrepreneurial spirit when we use technical means of circulation which it renews all the time, sometimes in a better – sometimes in a worst – way? What we call enterprising, to be honest, is connected to the spirit of initiative without which there is no creation, in absolutely no field. Even us, lonely “creators” working at our desk, in our workshop or our multimedia studio, are we not stimulated by the work of others, tickled by their discoveries, which open the gates to ours? Rembrandt’s workshop, or Jackson Pollock’s, were places of debate, tensions, emulation where the spirit of individual initiative fed both from competition and cooperation with others.

Keeping this in mind, we know the days we are living in. And they tend, like the previous and the next, to find new oppressions to ward off conquered liberties. I especially think about what I called “vulgarism”, by which I mean cultivated vulgarity of intellectual, artistic, literary life, cultural in a way, which is a word used accurately. Culture is turning against culture, that is the essence of our time. And regarding this France is particularly pioneer because it inherits from an ancestral wide range of intellectual opinions, since the Enlightenment philosophers to writers (most often lugubriously “engaged”), and is therefore the country with the most mediatized authors, who wield the most established power, but also with a narcissistic dimension. From there, the sectors of press and edition followed this exact same path. But they support and diffuse it, and here is the result: the most renown writers are now the most obscurantist ones, and mistake is no longer only human, but it also makes an impression. There is something to enterprise there, like the philosophers of the Enlightenment had to create their enterprise of liberty facing obscurantist and mainstream knowledge. 

Every age has to create new spaces for quality and civilizing liberty, and that is what being a cultural entrepreneur means today: to produce the qualitative work no longer offered by dominant structures. Edition in this regard deeply needs it, as well as plastic arts, medias, and cinema, though the latter manages it to a small extent.

About Jean-Philippe Domecq, novelist

First known for its Robespierre, derniers temps (1984), where the literature serves as a complementary approach to the historians works of the period, he is foremost a novelist. He is the author of two novels cycles («Le Cycle des ruses de la vie» and «La Vis et le Sablier»), in which he explores a new novelistic genre, the «metaphysical fiction». But he is best known for his essays, because of the controversies they initiated, especially regarding his protest approach to what he called the «Art of the Contemporary», of which he criticized the critics, combining theoretical analysis and description of the attitudes they reveal. In the spirit of a «moralist» literature inherited from the Provinciales or the Caractères, his work gives birth to a kind of Comedy of the critics, which lead the arts community and the times. It is also the case for his criticism of French literary critic (especially in Le Pari littéraire, published in 1994 and consequently ignored by critics, and then republished and emphasized in Qui a peur de la littérature? in 2002). These two sets give a view on what he calls the Situation des esprits (interviews with Eric Naulleau published in 2006) in contemporary French culture. More informations on the blog : http://leblogdedomecq.blogspot.fr/

© A. Leotard