Lengerer’s engagement with the French social worker, writer and filmmaker Fernand Deligny (1913–96) forms the starting point for the project, which will be realized in cooperation with Kolumba, the Westdeutscher Rundfunk music studio and FLACC. In the 1940s Deligny began working with children as a social worker. From the very beginning, his work was complemented by his writing: “Le moindre geste a une histoire” / “The smallest gesture has a story,” he wrote in the first sentence of his November 1966 article Journal d’un éducateur / Diary of an Educator. In the course of the 1960s, Deligny increasingly withdrew from institutional contexts. Together with a group of young adults he founded a community in the south of France in order to live with children labeled by psychiatrists as “autistic.” In his work as a pedagogue, he aimed not to educate or heal the children entrusted to his care, but rather to enable them to create an environment and an arena for their own unique ways of utilizing space and time. Over the decades, a number of documentary films with accompanying texts were produced (such as Le Moindre Geste, 1962–71, and Ce gamin, là, 1975, dir. Renaud Victor) as well as writings on the cinematographic image ( Camérer, 1983, and Ce qui ne se voit pas, 1990). His ideas about film emerge in the way the sound track is employed in Ce gamin, là. Deligny uses the film’s voice-over as a literary narrative voice cautiously placed in a parallel relationship with the filmic image: a sound track which is laid “alongside” the picture track, and which expresses itself in a fragile balance with the children’s NOT SPEAKING.
Achim Lengerer’s approach to Fernand Deligny’s thinking takes place “inside and outside language.” At Kolumba, an archive will document the work of Deligny and his colleagues: Drawings, cards, magazines, books, texts and the film Ce gamin, là provide insight into their thoughts and actions. Lengerer will explore Deligny’s thinking-in-language in a collective translation workshop focusing on his voice-over texts and other writings, while the emptied-out Tower Room next door will be used as a space for activities “hors langage / outside language.” Public Rehearsals for a Soundtrack will serve as a social-relations laboratory, allowing the artist to experiment with directed and undirected action in line with Deligny’s distinction between the verbs “faire / to do” and “agir / to act.” How can we create spaces for aural, sensual interaction and social action/negotiation that are characterized by divergence as well as attentiveness and consideration, and which express themselves outside hierarchizing language?
At FLACC, the project leaves the museum space behind: Tested strategies of action/negotiation will be incorporated into a contemporary sociotherapeutic practice in conjunction with various private and municipal groups in the town of Genk. Will artistic practice be revealed as a naive experiment? Or will there also be applications in social spaces outside the museum for some of the movements discovered? Can they attain the social relevance that social utility entails?
The entire project will be documented in an audio piece, created in collaboration with the WDR in Cologne, and in the publication Scriptings #40, to be produced at FLACC and published in winter 2014-2015.