The Trois Fontaines Interviews: Accompanied, in the Wild

Ali Hmiddouch, Serge Valdinoci, Foutre de Dieu, trans. Sylvia

Pictures and original text from: Et puis après ça commence, INgens.

Accompagnés, dans le sauvage.jpg

A. Hmiddouch: One has the impression that what you propose appears as a sort of wild mystique, insofar as there is the real and a leap to be made. There truly is not any accompaniment, or just a theoretical accompaniment, but it is something frightening. Now, in most mystical traditions there is still a progressive accompaniment, a quite tight framing. And this is still something quite violent, that we do more or less alone. It is an approach which can leave us destitute. There is access through the book and then there is the real…


S. Valdinoci: What I try to do in the books is to push people, almost immediately, and these, these are the reasons for what we call my "intellectual" opacity. I put people… I go directly inside. And this is a choice. With that, if it is not enough, there is an interesting mystical tradition, notably in France, in Germany, and this little tradition—which is smaller than that of which you speak, which is enormous—, this tradition gives a bit of the equivalent of an accompaniment, this accompanying grind.

In fact, I do not want to produce a path. I say no, there are more essential things to be done.


A. Hmiddouch: What is interesting is that you both shove the reader but, you also take them by the hand at the same time. There is both something very soft and very violent which is given at the same time. It is a writing, it is true, I was going to say: very energetically charged, in fact, something is going on in this writing…


S. Valdinoci: I am conscious that I charge emotion at the electrical level at the start and—this is without any pretention—I often finish in softness… if it was too much for the person in front. I tell myself good, we will balance [équilibrer] it a little, we will try to take their hand, often enough...


F. de Dieu: But, in this logic of accompaniment, you were nevertheless one of the only professors at the Université de Reims to be conscious that training a student to think was to be there for him for four or five years, that there was a true work of backing, of psychological support, that the types of transference between professor and student had to be dealt with. Which we did not see other colleagues doing. There is nevertheless an affective or friendly accompaniment that you cared about.


S. Valdinoci: What you say is true, I was there, not to make a career, i.e., finishing in Paris, I was there for the students. And, indeed, I hoped to have them for four or five years, so as to produce men or women and make them feel the chaos. Sometimes I felt in my classes that it was escaping, it was leaving… I wanted to tell them that a college class is not a class that one takes on a piece of paper and then spits out on the day of the exam. I do not know if everyone understood that, far from it. But in any case, that was my radical goal at Reims, that was all I sought. I never did administration.