April → May 2022
- San Francisco
Nothing has impacted our daily lives more than big tech. They are the digital era masters, they are the ones who built it. This constant digital tracking, which is the new gold mine, is the symbol of our modern capitalism.
My work encompasses a philosophical, sociological and anthropological approach that makes me one of the most techno-critical science fiction authors in France. But writing hasn’t always been the obvious choice. Today, I perform on stage, I work on video games, and I write scripts. Yet I always go back to writing, and it feels right. My connection to language is physical: any words, vowels, consonants call for a color, a sound, a feeling. I don’t feel such a bond with other forms of art. The definition of sci-fi is, to me, what technologies do to humans. It was an intuitive choice. Science fiction is a genre that provides you that kind of freedom, whether it be in the style, narrative structure, paradigms, or inventions. There are no limits. It’s also a genre that has always led people to reflect upon our society, politics, and anthropology. It’s a way to build parallel worlds dealing with all social issues today’s society may know. Then, you can exaggerate and transpose as you like.
Born in 1969 in Lyon, Alain Damasio is a French science fiction author and typographer. His favorite field is political anticipation. He combines this genre with elements of science fiction or fantasy and describes political dystopias. A committed man, this intermittent of militancy sharpens his weapons at the philosophical forge and nourishes his concrete struggles as much as his books.
Nothing has impacted our daily lives more than the tech giants: Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon (GAFA). They are the digital era masters, they are the ones who built it. This constant digital tracking, which is the new gold mine, is the symbol of our modern capitalism. It is from people’s browsing history and digital behavior that we will maximize the profit of our companies. Since I started writing 25 years ago, I have immersed myself in it and have analyzed it continuously.
But San Francisco always had an edge, a good story to tell, it’s a city of avant-garde, of artists, who have a much more critical approach to this spectrum of modernity. You can think of the protests over the skyrocketing housing market caused by the hub of the high-tech industry. I want to discover this hidden side that has rarely been disclosed in America.
I think this residency will put my techno-critical standpoint in to perspective. It is quite easy to criticize from afar, but it is crucial to be on site to be able to grasp and comprehend the reasons for such a craze of the public towards this all digital world. They truly believe in it. This part of the world concentrates almost everything that I criticize or fight against: capitalism, transhumanism, surveillance…in an all-connected world. Still, the goal is to meet the leaders of Silicon Valley as well as the actors of the famous Universities of Berkeley and Stanford (among others), and hopefully conduct a masterclass there.
The classic architectures, the campuses, the headquarters: I will also be able to get the pulse of the region.
I will often be at odds over the topics brought through my meetings; the way of life there is quite different. I know, from my past experiences in America, that the techno-critical attitude, or the simple fact of not having a cell phone, as I do, is beyond radicalism. It is way beyond a far-left posture; it’s almost unthinkable for them! It is this quality of friction that Villa San Francisco offers.
There is an inspirational purpose to my visit, the one that will fuel my work, but also one expanding my reach. There is a lot at stake. La Horde du Contrevent is, to date, fully translated into English by American poet and writer Alexander Dickow, and we are looking for a publisher to release it in the English-speaking market. For me, professionally speaking, this is my top priority. The transcription of my novels in movies/TV series, podcasts/radio series, the adaptation of La Horde du contrevent in scrolling strips (a new format of digital art) and the development of the application MOA (narrative augmented reality) are also being considered and discussed.
Founded in 2004, La Volte is an independent publishing house that publishes novels, novellas and collections of short stories by French and foreign authors every year. Animated by a horde, constantly moving, of friends and enthusiasts – “les volté.e.s” – La Volte creates original object-books, mixes emotional experiences through the association of books and music, with, always, an artisan approach. The editorial line crosses the literatures of the imagination, in particular science fiction, and so-called “white” literature. The requirement of writing and imagination encourages authors to create singular works, sometimes unclassifiable, stories that find a natural place in the publications of La Volte.