More than 150 years ago, Auguste Comte forged an utopian project named positivism, in which the past feeds the present, in order to create a future where order and progress rules.
Comte said “The Deads govern the Living ones”
According to him, the best of dead people’s minds survives. Society improves trough the accumulation of knowledges. This sentence seems ambiguous but was idealistic in Comte’s mind.
150 years later, Humanity is in suspension. A post-capitalistic Society blaming itself on the impossibility of creating a better Future. We see Future like a cycle that repeats itself : rise of fascism, raising economical inequalities, atomic threat. Our popular Culture is full of dystopies (The Handmaid’s Tale, The Walking Dead, Black Mirror). For modern iconoclast thinkers like Hito Steyerl or Adam Curtis, our society became a living-dead culture, which repeats and feeds itself endlessly. We can’t understand the sentence “The Deads govern the Living ones” as a positive one. The Deads seem to govern us, like a past that weighs on the present and prevents us from considering a unleashed Future.
Is Auguste Comte’s vision outdated? Are we trapped in something inextricable for we abandonned a certain kind of idealism?
The in situ work created for the Maison d’Auguste Comte is a confrontation between Comte’s idealism and current cynism. Utopia in front of Dystopie. Videos of wrestling and fighting politicians are the starting point of this confrontation. The current political Dead-end is repeated in an endless Loop, like a shapeless tide of zombies wearing ties. These governing Living-deads contrast with the conserved Philosopher’s Apartment, full of positivists Relics of an ideal we have forsaken.
Musical composition & audio installation : Frédéric D. Oberland.
With the support of La Galerie Particulière.
In collaboration with Agence PAM.
Maison Auguste Comte
The Maison d’Auguste Comte is the Appartment where the French philosopher Auguste Comte (1798-1857) lived. Located in the Rue Monsieur-le-Prince, 10, it’s the last place he occupied, from 1841 to 1857, the last 16 years of his life. Afterwards his disciples took care of the apartment where his Philosophy was born, observing the last will of their master. The apartment has become a Museum open to visitors and is now the property of an international Association dedicated to Auguste Comte. After crossing the doorstep, the visitor can see the Comte’s Home as he knew it, with the original furnitures and his own personal Objects. The thematic tour recently established gives the visitor informations about Comte’s philosophy while preserving the Appartment’s authenticity.