Cinema, Podium en
Werkplek in Kortrijk

Fabrizio Terranova invites Vinciane Despret

OPEN CALL: Writing workshop that addresses the relationship to our dead

A writing workshop
5th and 6th of November 2022. From 10:30 am to 6 pm.
For 15 participants
€45 (2 lunches included)
arts centre BUDA Kortrijk (BE)

This workshop is part of our Learning Together program and the research project “Speakers for the deads” of the filmmaker Fabrizio Terranova. Fabrizio has invited Vinciane Despret to imagine and give a writing and performance workshop that addresses the relationship to our dead.

Each candidate can write in the language he/she chooses. Discussions will be in French and English.

Presentation by Vinciane Despret

The dead are only dead if we bury them…

I have a thousand reasons to tell you this, wrote a reader of The Black Veil to its author, Anny Duperey, “the dead are only dead if we bury them”. Otherwise, they work for us, they finish in another way what they were made for. We must accompany them and help them to accompany us, in a dynamic, warm and dazzling coming and going.” Responds, as an echo, to this letter, the words of the philosopher Etienne Souriau, taken up by David Lapoujade: “We know well that the surest way to undermine an existence, is to act as if it had no reality”.

Many people continue to maintain relationships with their deceased. This requires imagination. Not in the sense that we have to imagine what would not exist, but in the sense that we are often deprived to think and to activate this relationship to this so particular mode of existence of the dead, to ensure what we feel to be a demand of continuity of existence on their part. And we are all the more helpless because our environments are often hostile to this kind of relationship – because many well-meaning convictions (notably in the human sciences) continue to “undermine existences”.

And yet, many of us are working on the continuity of these relationships. With courage, with imagination, sometimes with joy (because the dead can make us happy). There are also dead people who insist. We learn to respond to them, or to solicit their requests. This takes the form of stories, narrations, that we learn to tell, so that they remain alive. Stories that we discover have the capacity to move us, to think, to create possible meanings that take us elsewhere, that intrigue and confuse us. Stories provoke others, they multiply enigmas and forks by summoning other narrations. It is this process that we will call “narrative matrix”. And the dead seem particularly gifted at weaving them for us.

The workshop will produce texts but also performances. It will be to the group to decide what will be shared outside and what will remain inside the group.

How to apply?

We propose that each applicant write a one-page text that is a tribute, a farewell text, such as is read in funeral or tribute ceremonies. This text will speak of a person whom one has loved and who has meant a great deal to one and to others. This text is about telling him or her, and sharing it with others. What can we write to her that will keep this person alive in our collective memory? How to make her known to others who know her less well? How do we talk about, elucidate or speculate about what she would have wanted us to do, and become with her, now that she is gone? How do we begin to ensure, with this text, an existence that counts, among us?

Please apply before the 2nd of October by email addressed to and mention in the topic “Vinciane Despret workshop”.
Specify if you need to sleep on site, we can help you find solutions.
We will answer you by the 14th of October

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