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Comics: an art without memory?

What is the mode of inscription in the time of the comic strip? The question settles because its editorial system seems to privilege the development of « novelties » susceptible to take place in a « commercial war » and to give so reason to Thierry Groensteen who qualifies the comic strip as « art without memory » and asserts: « the comic strip is an art which cultivates gladly the amnesia and does not have big concern of its heritage » (La bande dessinée : un objet non identifié, L’An 2, our translation). The series and its hero, whose longevity sometimes exceeds that of their creator, seem to embody this temporality raising from a law of the market and transforming the author into a simple « actor » playing a character. The comic strip would recover thus completely from the logic of synonymic cultural industries, according to Théodor Adorno, of « anti-culture » because based on the resumption and the stake with current tastes of things already produced rather than on the exploration of the artistic possibilities that it offers.

We suggest questioning this report and approaching a problematic dimension of the comic strips: what values and which forms acquires for the comic strip the inscription in past?

  • Which initiatives make of the comic strip the privileged witness of an art history and an evolution of our societies as, for example, within the framework of exhibitions?

  • What are the efforts of professionals of the book industry (publishers, booksellers or librarians) to administe or create collections proposing works going back up to the origins of comics?

  • Do not the authors make the promotion of a new way create and read the comic strip by showing interest to the past (let’s think to history, autobiography or reference practices to other authors) ?

We propose to all researcher, whatever is their status, to send us a text of 3000 signs exposing: the object of the intervention, the corpus or the material on which she intends to lean and the electronic address of the author. To guarantee the quality of the debates, these documents will afterward be subjected in a anonymous way to the scientific committee.

Benoît Berthou, founder and director of Comicality: ben.berthou@orange.fr

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