What the undesirables desire _ Florian Gaité

What the undesirables desire

Parasitism is a skill. Not everyone is capable of inviting themselves to table, embedding themselves in a home or infiltrating a host without arousing suspicion. It can be hard to distinguish hostility from hospitality,[1] to organize the world according to one’s needs without passing for an egomaniac. Marianne Villière has made an art of it. Like any good parasite, she knows she must conform to conventions to subvert them, to mimic others to make them other, and use language to spark revolution.

The parasite is a pyrotechnician. Both artist and terrorist. 

They sculpt the world to produce cosmogonies. 

The actions imagined by Marianne Villière rebrand identities and ecosystems to neutralize their authority.[2] Perform space to liberate it from its usual functions. Perform the body to turn it into a marginal free zone. Make the imagination an instrument of constant heterotopia. Her behavioral poetics are a gentle manipulation that disarms the machineries of death and security and converts them into expressions of life.

The parasite thrives on metamorphosis: 

of the self, the host and the ties between them.

Parasitism is relationship.[3] Complementarity, substitution, instrumentalization, reciprocity, exploitation and amalgamation: the parasite is constantly oscillating between symbiosis and alienation. With this inventory, Marianne Villière is working toward a new relational economy focused on interpersonal – and interspecies – solidarity. Put your lips to a leaf, protest with the birds, reconnect with the heavens, inhabit your own body: in the affectionate tone of a note to a friend, she calls for dissident comradery between beings that have nothing in common but a lust for life.

Ruled by poetics, committed to superfluity

Some things resist by being pliably soft. Marianne Villière’s seemingly innocent diversions combine the unruliness of a mischievous child with the rebelliousness of a mutineer. Hers is an inventory of ways to thwart capitalism’s imperatives by sabotaging the apparatus of control, by underperforming, by being unproductive and leaving evidence of useless activity. In opposition to the politics of immunity – which aims to eradicate undesirables and restrict their detours and wanderings, their taste for overstepping limits – this is about never toeing the line.[4] Bushwhacking off the beaten path is, in fact, the prerogative of all insubordinates: our chance to be extravagant and futile, to deviate. — Florian Gaité

Traduction : Margaret Besser

[1] Jacques Derrida invented the neologism “hostipitality” to express this challenge: in welcoming someone into your home, you always risk letting in the enemy; there is no hosting the other without a kind of violence, a risk to the self. (Jacques Derrida and Anne Dufourmantelle, tr. Rachel Bowlby, Of Hospitality, Stanford University Press, 2000.)

[2] In the sense that parasites, to serve their interests, can cause bodily changes in the host (e.g. size, color, odor) or change how it relates to its natural environment so completely that the entire ecosystem is transformed.

[3] Michel Serres (The Parasite, tr. Lawrence R. Schehr, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982) describes the parasite as a master of transformation and communication in whom relationship and invention are closely linked. Much like an artist.

[4] “The politics of immunity … has not grasped the possibilities presented by difference that perturbs, heterogenizes and, in so doing, invigorates by inventing new bifurcations, reintroducing the unpredictability and diversity inherent to life forms … Capitalism is probably the most advanced form of parasitism: it exploits and sickens. … But parasitism can also be a space for the collective destruction of imperialism, capitalism or racism, by inverting their program of immunity through necessary disobedience.” (Marion Zilio, excerpt tr. Margaret Besser, Le Livre des larves, PUF, 2020.)