At Georges Didi-Huberman’s place there are thousands of books, cards and images. In his laptop are stored even more pictures, movie clips, music and texts. To develop his productions, he sits at the seamstress table that serves as his office. On it, he spreads his written and iconographic documents: “I turn them, then turn them over, reproduce them, annotate them, classify them, frame and unframe them, assemble and disassemble them, so as to shake them off “.
With the gestures of a craftsman, as he claims to be one, his intellectual work unfolds through concrete objects manipulated on this table.
La Table des Matières.
It is not a film project in the sense that, one day, we have decided to « make a film » together, because we had the opportunity to do so. First and foremost, it is about making the work in progress more tangible and finding ourselves, each, with his tools in hand. It is a coming together: to give form, today, to a dialogue fundamentally based on a friendship of thirty years. Indeed, thirty years of discussions, trips, exchanges on our passions and respective works. One of us is a filmmaker formed in philosophy, and who has never quit the latter field.
The other is a philosopher preoccupied with cinematic concerns. It is a coming together: to go even further, in anyway, away from what we do each on his side, with his own tools.
Thus, we are coming together, sitting at the big seamstress table that is a work table, and which becomes, on this occasion our “Table des matières” (table of contents). All the images will be used for texts, conferences, and exhibitions. Let us try to see…
We thought about filming for two to three days a year, for several years. We never prepare for the filming. The artifice that consists of re-staging the work is never an option. It is the work itself that decides, takes the stage, and imposes its temporality. One simply installs his cameras (a high angle shot above the table, and the other camera at hand), and the other carries on with his work, with the only difference that as his friend is present, he speaks out loud what he is doing in the present moment. We progress cards on the table: by spreading out images, cards, books and other documents; and while showing by the set of the cameras how this can be filmed.
We strive for an open apparatus. No preparation, no synthesis on a finished work, no freeze-frame; nothing but a glimpse of what is happening today and which will find its concrete form in a more or less distant future of Georges Didi-Huberman’s productions. It is about grasping a moment during one step of the work, the reflection, the handling of the images. There is also no format that decides the subject or the duration. We release a butterfly in the camera field. We give it free rein, we give ourselves free rein, we give the spectator free rein; so that he can feel like a third person, our alter ego, around this table… invitation to watch our work diary, trying to answer the delicate question: how to film the work of a thought?
Georges Didi-Huberman & Henri Herré