The last time we met Frédéric Ferrer on a set, it was the Jardin de la Vierge at Saint Joseph High School in Avignon. He then tried to classify with the enthusiastic thoroughness of the scientific expert the 325 artists who had walked the same soil in twenty years, according to astonishing criteria of the type: "If we subtract the number of artists who have thrown the most objects on the board among those who have touched the ground the least … "To hear him speak to us today, a few hours to present at La Villette Borderline (s) Investigation # 1, his new true-false lecture on the limits of the Earth and the theories of collapse, we say that if he could label the pigeons in order of appearance in the window frame, behind us, he would plant us there to do it.
Frédéric Ferrer is an obsessive pataphysician, who kneels before the Flaubertian heroes Bouvard and Pécuchet, admires Erik Duyckaerts – whose first performance was entitled Explain the transfinite to his friends. He also loves France Inter's popular science show the Small Boats and confirms his great passion for the indomitable mentor of the classificatory art, Georges Perec, "Especially for Attempt of exhaustion of a Parisian place" he says.
Exhaust is a task that is well suited to Frédéric Ferrer, he who likes nothing as well as establish diagrams, curves, spreadsheets and PowerPoint to quantify the unquantifiable, try to rationalize what can not be, show how much it is tragic, and therefore so beautiful, to constantly fail to circumscribe the real, to make chaos objectifiable.
This former geographer turned artist-speaker remembers very well his conversion, this precise moment when he understood that he would make expertise – from "the joy of knowing » – a dramatic playground. "I was in Brussels to listen to a lecture and I saw the front of the researcher in front of us begin to bead. He was realizing that he would never be able to condense years of research in an hour, that what he had to explain was too immense … In short, that he was in the process of messing up his lecture. He began to speak with an urgency that showed a passion and an astonishing heroism. I always wanted to ride Macbeth but once in the Thalys, I knew it was that, the transmission of knowledge, that I wanted to stage. "
In In search of lost ducks, Frédéric Ferrer seized an experiment conducted by NASA, which dropped 90 yellow plastic ducks in a glacier to measure the speed of warming. In Vikings and Satellites, he summoned Erik the Red in the debate between "Climate skeptics" the "Warmists" about Greenland. Wow commissioned by the National Center for Space Studies (Cnes) and the Observatory of Space, made assumptions about possible forms of life elsewhere. Each time they are very serious studies, for which the artist meets a number of researchers and travels on the field. But there are also studies of the veracity of which there is always a suspicion, given the details on which the speaker focuses, crazy presentations that he offers to his audience and preliminary questions that he adores finely: "Why the Virgin?", "How to return a cod?", "How to stop a mosquito?"
What he prefers, moreover, is to play his lectures in research laboratories or universities without revealing his identity as an artist. "Sometimes I do it at the invitation of researchers who, like me, love to pretend to be a scientist. It's magic, the moment of awareness, to see the faces of the students in the amphitheater get up little by little and googling my name. On this point, the ones I admire most are the Yes Men [collectif américain d’activistes adeptes du canular, ndlr]who pretend to be experts at the World Trade Organization. "
The coming of researchers to his theatrical performances always puts a lot of pressure on him. So she is currently climbing for borderline which takes as its theme "collapsology" (study of collapses) and brings together four comedians-scientists from different parts of the world. Coin in parallel of which he begins the creation ofOlympicorama, a series of episodes that will try to exhaust various Olympic disciplines by 2024. In January, he will go in recognition to Olympia, and is currently seeking to contact scientists, "And also heroes. For example, I am still trying to reach Marie-José Pérec, whom I would like to invite on the set of the 400-meter episode. You do not have his number, in Libé? "
Borderline (s) Investigation # 1 of Frédéric Ferrer Until December 8 at La Villette (75019), December 12th and 13th at the unique place in Nantes (44). Other conferences on tour.