Archives du mot-clé ecology

Marie Jorio – English

Retour au texte original en français : Demain, Demain !


Tomorrow, Tomorrow!

Ecolo-musical Lecture
For reflecting, dreaming, acting

Marie Jorio, 2018



From music to ecology, from ecology to music
Examples of audio files
Extracts of texts of the programme
How did I become an ecologist?



From music to ecology, from ecology to music,
to break down the walls of denial, fear, anger…

Marie Jorio is an urban planner committed to ecological transition and has extensive experience on stage in theatre/music performances. She found herself in the situation of (trying to) break down walls, literally and figuratively, as early as her engineering studies, where her artistic sensibility had difficulty finding a place, and as an urban planner, as a weaver of physical and human links.

In the proposal “Demain, Demain !” [“Tomorrow, Tomorrow!”] she wants the audience to reflect, dream and act, in order to overcome the denial or stupefaction that suffocates us today in the face of the magnitude of environmental issues.
Accompanied by the theorbist Romain Falik, and by other guest artists depending on the venues, she puts in place an original form of sensitization that mixes the reading of reference texts by major authors on ecology with literary and poetic texts, and a sensitive musical accompaniment of Baroque and improvised music.
Considering that music, like all forms of art, is a form of demand and implementation of the happy sobriety to which our societies should turn, its crossbreeding with ecology becomes a foregone conclusion.

To make people want to read and learn more about ecology is another aim of the lecture-performance. The performance program, which is the result of a long and ongoing bibliographical quest, presents classics of the genre, such as rarer texts, fictions, essays or poems, and attempts to combine the bitterness caused by the observation on the state of the planet, an existential reflection and an enthusiasm for action. The reading can be extended by an exchange on the subject of books and reading suggestions.


Audios (other examples are available)



Extracts of text in the performance program

Pierre de Ronsard, Contre les bûcherons de la forêt de Gastine

« Forêt, haute maison des oiseaux bocagers,
Plus le Cerf solitaire et les chevreuils légers
Ne paitront sous ton ombre, et ta verte crinière
Plus du Soleil d’Esté ne rompra la lumière.

Plus l’amoureux Pasteur sur un tronc adossé,
Enflant son flageolet à quatre trous percé,
Son mâtin à ses pieds, à son flanc la houlette,
Ne dira plus l’ardeur de sa belle Janette :
Tout deviendra muet : Echo sera sans voix :
Tu deviendras campagne, et en lieu de tes bois,
Dont l’ombrage incertain lentement se remue,
Tu sentiras le soc, le coutre et la charrue :
Tu perdras ton silence, et haletant d’effroi
Ni Satyres ni Pans ne viendront plus chez toi. »


Reproduction (Poem by Marie Jorio, from the blog « ne levez pas les pieds »)

La ville semble proche de l’effondrement,
Ses habitants fourrés dans des boîtes métalliques,
Comme des petits pains frôlant l’indigestion ;
Le moindre grain de sel fait gripper la machine.
Tout cela est complètement fou
(et pourtant ils pondent).

Mais quoi ! La ville est-elle folle au point
Que l’on construise toujours plus
Sur des lignes pourtant saturées ?
Et 100 000, 200 000, 300 000 mètres carré,
Pour se faire élire, s’ériger une gloire, une fortune.
Les conducteurs de métro sont-ils condamnés
A rouler au pas dans la peur d’arracher un bras ?

The city seems to be on the verge of collapse,
Its inhabitants jam-packed in metal boxes,
Like bread rolls verging on indigestion;
The slightest grain of salt causes the machine to stall.
All this is completely insane
(and yet they hatch).

What the hell! Is the city so insane
That we build more and more
On lines that are already saturated?
And 100,000, 200,000, 300,000 square meters,
In order to be elected, to build a fame, a fortune.
Are subway drivers condemned
To riding at a slow pace in fear of tearing off an arm?


How did I become an ecologist?

Marie Jorio, August 2018

How did I become an ecologist? Why did I become an ecologist? It is interesting to ask this question.

First answer, very clear in my memory: Christmas 2002, I’m staying with friends in Lyon, their apartment in Croix-Rousse neighborhood. They subscribe to Télérama and I read an article by Jean-Marc Jancovici about global warming. My Cartesian and naturally worried mind is struck by the subject. I would spend the following weeks devouring his website; his somewhat haughty polytechnic tone is not enough to spoil its real popularizing qualities, especially when it illustrates the gigantic amounts of energy we waste, with conversions into a number of slaves. I realize irrevocably that our growth-based lifestyle cannot continue for long in a world of finite resources. This simple reading definitely changes the way I look at the world. I’m a beginner urban planner, working on the redevelopment of Les Halles, Paris’ central metro station; this work is somewhat consistent with my brand new environmental concerns, since it involves improving the capital’s public transportation network.

If I go back further in my memory, I find older traces of awareness of the fragility and infinite beauty of nature. A summer trip in the family car, probably on the “sun” highway south. We come across a quarry in operation; “Dad, what are we going to do when there won’t be any more stones?” I don’t remember much of the answer, which was supposed to reassure me that we would always find some. Always…. Until when? And then I discover and devour all of Pagnol’s books and take advantage of the summer vacations in a large property in Provence to spend whole afternoons in the garrigue. I observe the fauna and flora, invent paths and stories. My childhood and early adolescence are marked by immersions in the forest and nature, which the urban planner that I will become will completely forget to the point of being afraid of the slightest thorn and the slightest noise each time I return to nature.

How to deal with this sensitivity and restless consciousness? For 15 years, it has been more of a weight than anything else, a black cloud over my head that I had to forget as best I could in my daily actions. I savor the long summer evenings thinking that these may be the last ones… Practicing self-mockery so as not to get too much attention, I try to convince and make my colleagues and those around me aware of the climate issue and the depletion of resources. At the beginning of the 2000s, the subject is minor and controversial. The qualities of logic and rigor that led me to study engineering, without any vocation, are the same qualities that made me recognize in the curves and figures, brilliantly exposed by Jancovici, among others, an irrefutable fact. These same engineering studies have had the result of making me skeptical about the validity of scientific models to describe the living, or in any case to grasp their limits. Understanding that models are by definition approximate with respect to the infinite complexity of nature, was undoubtedly the demonstration of an ecological intuition that was unknown at the time. In any case, this ecological consciousness, if it does not translate into political commitments – I have seen up close the Greens of the Parisian microcosm who have perfectly cooled the idea I might have had of getting involved – has a very concrete consequence on my private life: while my engineer friends already have 2 or even 3 children, I take refuge in the idea of not having any, overwhelmed by the responsibility of leaving them a dilapidated world and a disillusioned tomorrow. However, I have enough social sense not to worry my friends that having a third child seems irresponsible to me in view of the state of the planet.

And then the environmental issue progresses in the media, as all environmental signals turn red. It is becoming difficult to ignore the issue. My job as a developer, building infrastructures and selling land to developers or social sponsors, is becoming a heavy burden. Of course, I have chosen to work on projects that are exemplary from an ecological point of view. But the worse environmental news accumulates, the more I am convinced that the scope of the changes to be made is enormous, and that continuing “business as usual”, mixed with green cosmetics, is totally trivial.

Changing is slow and painful. An immense anger overwhelms me. What can I do about it? What drops of water to bring into the ocean? If the legend of the hummingbird, which carries its share of water to extinguish the fire, puts balm in our astonished hearts, it nevertheless masks the need for changes that go far beyond individual initiatives. How can we live with this acute lucidity of the impending collapse? With the bad conscience of being better off than many others? How can we continue to breathe, to laugh, and find the path of action that will give meaning to this life that has become precarious? How can we live when we are aware that the human species has its days numbered? What killjoys these eco-freaks!

This anger, combined with a few accidents along the way, pushes me to change my professional path, to turn to teaching and counseling; to try to transmit new, possibly radical, ideas, while maintaining a certain independence of mind. And above all to slow down the pace, to sing, to get closer to nature, to better apprehend the necessary changes, and to calm down, little by little, the anger.

There are no answers, just paths to take. The practice of singing and performing arts are my lifebuoys of lightness and beauty to support the cloud which is much darker than fifteen years ago. And then sharing this weight with other convinced people, with whom there is no need to “show green paw”, is absolutely necessary for me to move forward. Consciousness is progressing, and we will soon all be schizophrenic: we know that we have to change everything, but we are only human, and we continue to live, to change cars, to discover Thailand… Some of us are hoping for a violent shock (but not too much) as soon as possible, which will serve as an electroshock. One thing is sure, being a shrink is a way to the future. And being an ecologist is not only an external struggle, more and more violent, but also an internal one, to try to stay straight in the storm of uncertainties and worries.


Ecology of practices

Return to the French text

For an

What do we mean by “ecology of practices”? The term ecology affirms that living beings have some relations to their environment, in configurations of interdependence. Life and above all the survival of living beings depend on other beings, whether live or inert, in particular situations. Ecology has become an important preoccupation because of the threats to the survival of the whole planet today, precisely in relation to human actions. The ecological questions more and more pertain to important cultural domains and to the relationships between human beings; in going beyond a purely scientific preoccupation, they intrude on the political sphere.

In the arts, ecological concerns centered recently on awareness of natural phenomena, the disappearance of certain species, or on heightened attention to our urban environment in the perspective of a moralization of excessive uses and of a desire to create reasoned practices respecting the spaces of others and the environment in general. In the cultural domain, ecology is considered as the influence that the environment exerts on behaviors and mentalities of individuals immerged in it.

For the PaaLabRes collective, the utilization of the term of “ecology” has another meaning in its relation to practices. The term “practice” refers to concrete situations involving actions inscribed in some duration. Practice most often implies relationships between human beings in a collective, and also interactions of these same beings with objects, all this happening within a well-defined material, cultural and institutional environment. It is this particular agency of all the interactive unstable elements in duration that constitutes a “practice”. In artistic domains, the practices are defined at the same time by:

  1. Some hierarchic relationships between qualified persons. The idea of hierarchy implies that there are more or less qualified people and that the qualifications might vary according to defined roles, certain roles having the reputation of being more prestigious than others. Hierarchies can be more or less affirmed and more or less controlled by democratic rules.
  2. Relationships between persons and objects resulting in particular actions. The objects influence the actions of people as much as people exert their craft on the objects. Some technical gestures are developed according to how tools of production behave.
  3. Usages that are more or less fixed by rules. The rules come from established traditions, or can be invented for determined contexts. They are more or less explicit, and when they are implicit, there is often the impression that they do not exist. In order to create the absence of rules, one has to invent mechanisms, which in order to be efficient have to be organized like sheet music.
  4. Relationships with the external world, notably with the public through particular media. But also the relationships with other neighboring practices, in order to be different from them, to be influenced by them, or in order to disqualify them.

Practices can then be thought of as beings, as living entities in themselves, which interact in various ways with other practices. The interaction between practices is precisely what is interesting for the PaaLabRes collective as a fundamental concept to be developed.

The concept of “ecology of practices” has been developed by the philosopher of sciences Isabelle Stengers, in the Tome 1 of Cosmopolitics.1 In an interview published in the magazine Recherche2, Stengers, talking about ecology in terms of relations between individuals and between populations, describes them as offering three possible options, which vary according to circumstances: a) the individuals can be preys; b) they can be predators; c) they can be considered as resources. One of the favorite examples for Stengers, inspired by the practices introduced by Tobie Nathan, gravitates around traditional pre-modern or non-modern psychotherapy practices. Most of the time these practices have some difficulty to coexist with scientific approaches that disqualify all the others in the name of rationality, and that tolerate them only reluctantly as part of a museum-based survival of cultures. However, the keys to success of therapies can often be found in the belief systems and cultural environment of the concerned individuals:

In ecological terms, the way in which a human practice chooses to present itself to the outside world, and notably when it proposes to enter in relationship with the general public, is part of its identity. At present, the identity of physics is at the same time made up of all the beings that it has created, the neutrino among others, and of its incapacity to present itself to the general public. For me, to try to create new links of interest around physics and other practices means making a proposition, not of radical change but of a mutation of identity. (…) The physicist would no longer be this being who, suddenly, intervenes in the name of rationality disqualifying all the others. (…) In my speculation, this physicist could become an ally if we would decide, for example, to take seriously the traditional psychotherapeutic practices that bring into play djinns and ancestors. He would know that in saying that, one does not pretend that the djinn is of the same nature as the neutrino: he would know that one is going to be interested in the risk of these practices, in what they are able to achieve. In this world in which the practices are present through their risks and their requirements, the physicist can coexist with the traditional therapist.3.

In the arts, in particular in musical art, because it is so much linked to identity problems, the disqualification of the practices of others is the rule rather than the exception. The genres or styles are more often preys or predators, rarely resources. The disqualification can be manifest in four different ways and often simultaneously: firstly it can be made on the basis of competences or of technical artistic expertize, either for example that someone would not be able to read musical scores, or that someone could not improvise during a social gathering; secondly the disqualification can be measured according to a presupposed authenticity, either for example by blaming a practice for not respecting a tradition, or on the contrary by accusing a tradition of being the source of a lethal stagnation; thirdly, disqualification is induced in relation to a public success, either in accusing the artistic form of being commercial to the point of not belonging any more to a legitimate art, or in blaming it for being too far removed from public understanding to the point of being completely marginalized; and fourthly disqualification can manifest itself in relation to official learning institutions, either when a given practice would be excluded from them, or on the contrary when this same practice strongly asserts its existence by staying outside any institutions, considered in this case as the source of too confortable existences.

The issue of attempting to get rid of the infernal logics behind the disqualification of the practices of others, in order to replace it by a pacified ecology of practices, is far from simple. The solutions lie not in putting an end to conflicts or in forcing cultures into an idealized “melting pot”, but in seeking rather to organize the confrontation of practices on the principle of mutual recognition and equal rights. The main difficulty of this political program lies in that it is not sufficient to let cultures coexist in a given space, even if it seems pacific at first: the multiples enclaves in a shared institution (or a common territory) remaining in mutual ignorance of their respective raison d’être and simply limiting their relationships to their juxtaposition, or even to their superimposition, do not create the conditions of a viable democratic contract likely to pacify fundamentalist antagonisms. The effective confrontation of practices in mechanisms that have to be invented, which oblige them to interact while respecting their own existence, without compromise, becomes a necessity in order to face (at least partially) the difficulties in which our societies tend to sink. Only the existence of public institutions dedicated to this effect could arguably avoid the permanent danger of more or less violent civil wars.

The ecology of practices takes the form of the continuous emergence of new practices stemming from the already existing ones and continuous disappearance of other practices. This phenomenon seems to have been strongly reinforced since the advent of electronic media’s instantaneous communication. The onset of these numerous practices implies in each case, as noted by Isabelle Stengers, the “production of values, (…) the proposal of new modes of evaluation, of new meanings ».4In the perspectives of the ecology of practices, the issue is not to think anymore that these values, evaluations and meanings should replace the old ones in the name of a truth that one would have finally discovered, but that they “are about the production of new relations that are added to a situation already produced by a multiplicity of relations ».5 The extraordinary multiplicity of practices that emerge and disappear, through the very varied content of the meanings they express, results in a calling into question of normalization processes that led to universally recognized truths imposed on all. To ideas, the source of imposed “undeniable facts”, is opposed the resistance of practices that confront the instability of realities, and their values relative to contexts.

Consequently, the idea of ecology of practices is not only about the contents of the works or of artistic approaches in relation to sound ecology: that is on the one hand the issues relative to sound pollution in our societies, and on the other hand the enhancement of diversified sound environments. The ecology of practices involves a complex ensemble that gravitates around notions of interaction between human beings, and between human and non-human beings, in particular with inert objects and technologies. In this context artistic practices are confronted, like any other practices, with difficult dilemmas having to do for example with issues such as data hacking, respect of author’s rights, advertising power of the media, cultural industries economy and the funding of alternative practices, free or paid access to information, facilitated access to learning (notably about specialized techniques) and to critical thought, access to employment, in short anything that contributes to influence the environment, its unstable and uncertain future, and the beings living in it.

Jean-Charles François – 2015
Translation Kerrie Szuch and Nancy François

1. Isabelle Stengers, Cosmopolitics I, Bononno, R (trans.), Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press (2010).

2. Isabelle Stengers : « Inventer une écologie des pratiques »

3. Ibid., p. 59.

4. Cosmopolitics I, op. cit., p. 32.



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