On Tuesday October 15, 2013, 7.30pm, in Marseille, France 150 plates of aligot (i.e. mashed potatoes and fresh cheese from Aubrac, a French dish from Averyon) were eaten in rue Pastoret, in a city which usually deliciously smells of saffron-flavoured semolina, spicy pastilla or fish dishes. Bertrand Davenel, PR officer at Théâtre du Merlan, instigated this unusual meal. Men and ideas circulate, dishes are passed around but nothing is held captive.
How could the thinking of pragmatist art philosopher Joëlle Zask—whom Christophe Rulhes had wanted to meet for so long—and the members of the GdRA—art buffs, fond of cultural democracy, participation and John Dewey, as Zask is—get together for a while? By organizing a gigantic “aligot party” in one of Marseille’s streets, at the foot of a flat crowded with an amazing audience of people keen on philosophy, performing arts and meetings, gathered for a two-voice conference—verging on free communication and talk—lead by Zask and Rulhes. Fiction, reality, characters, the public, experience, emancipation, so-called “good” and “bad” culture were among the topics discussed, with texts by Edward Sapir and Joëlle Zask as a backdrop.
Other meetings took place, for instance in 2014 at Ombres Blanches bookshop in Toulouse. The GdRA wishes to invite Joëlle on a regular basis in order to research on a performative form oscillating between show and conference, improvisation and writing, a hybrid play in progress, the result of which will depend on the moment and the audience. Joëlle is the author of seminal works such as Art et démocracie, a book which debunks the reification of the artist’s experience; Participer in which this word is given concrete weight and is articulated with some artists and cultural operators’ concerns; Outdoors Arts, through which the readers make their ways alongside art and its venues, in keeping with the experience of everydayness. She is also the French translator of most of John Dewey’s authoritative work
Joëlle Zask’s blog:
About the “aligot meeting”: