Pour en finir avec le jugement de Dieu
March 30, 2010 6:09 AM   Subscribe

Pour en finir avec le jugement de Dieu The completely insane and dying Antonin Artaud's last public performance, a radio show which wasn't broadcast for 30 years thereafter. English translation here.
posted by Wolof (24 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Heroin's a hell of a drug.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 6:24 AM on March 30, 2010

There's some lines I'm stealing from that, for sure.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:29 AM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

My French isn't nearly good enough to parse those nutty ramblings, but Artaud was a hell of an interesting fella, and I look forward to reading that English transcription later.

Reminds me a bit of William S. Burroughs's absolutely essential The Last Words of Dutch Schultz.
posted by Dr. Wu at 6:47 AM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

(from wikipedia)
He recorded Pour en Finir avec le Jugement de dieu [To Have Done With the Judgment of god] between November 22 and November 29, 1947. This work was shelved by Wladimir Porché, the director of the French Radio, the day before its scheduled airing on February 2, 1948. The performance was prohibited partially as a result of its scatological, anti-American, and anti-religious references and pronouncements, but also because of its general randomness, with a cacophony of xylophonic sounds mixed with various percussive elements. While remaining true to his Theater of Cruelty and reducing powerful emotions and expressions into audible sounds, Artaud had utilized various, somewhat alarming cries, screams, grunts, onomatopoeia, and glossolalia.

As a result, Fernand Pouey, the director of dramatic and literary broadcasts for French radio, assembled a panel to consider the broadcast of Pour en Finir avec le Jugement de Dieu. Among the approximately 50 artists, writers, musicians, and journalists present for a private listening on February 5, 1948 were Jean Cocteau, Paul Éluard, Raymond Queneau, Jean-Louis Barrault, René Clair, Jean Paulhan, Maurice Nadeau, Georges Auric, Claude Mauriac, and René Char. Although the panel felt almost unanimously in favor of Artaud's work, Porché refused to allow the broadcast. Pouey left his job and the show was not heard again until February 23, 1948 at a private performance at the Théâtre Washington.
posted by Hammond Rye at 6:48 AM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

fortunately somebody at greylodge.org mirrored the information formerly provided by ubu.com, whose Artaud sound archive now reads "All content removed by request of the copyright holder."

Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu, a work for radio by Antonin Artaud, recorded in several sessions in the broadcasting studios of the Radiodiffusion fran�aise, rue Fran�ois-1er, Paris, between November 22-29, 1947, and immediately banned from the air, was to become as legendary as the famous conference he gave earlier that year at the Th��tre du Vieux Colombier, titled, Histoire v�cue d�Artaud-M�mo (January 13, 1947, 9 pm).

It was the controversy surrounding this conference a few months earlier, and the rumours (including certain articles in the press) already in circulation on the broadcast in production, which in all likelihood attracted the attention of the Director-General of the Radio to the point that he asked for the recording. He banned the transmission immediately, the eve of the day it was scheduled to be on air, Monday, February 2, 1948, at 10.45 pm, as part of the series, titled, La Voix des Po�tes, in which Artaud had been invited to participate by the director of dramatic and literary programmes, Fernand Pouey. The latter, however, gained recourse to a committee of personalities, including Georges Altman, Jean-Louis Barrault, Ren� Clair, Jean Cocteau, Max-Pol Fouchet, Paul Guth, the Reverend Father Laval, Pierre Herbart, Louis Jouvet, Pierre Laroche, Maurice Nadeau, Jean Paulhan, Raymond Queneau, Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes and Roger Vitrac, who were to listen to the recording on February 5, 1948 in a studio in the rue Fran�ois-1er unit. In the face of opposition, the Director-General evaded the issue by claiming he did not feel duty-bound by their favourable verdict. He maintained the ban and Fernand Pouey resigned.

By Artaud’s request, a second private transmission of the broadcast was organised by Fernand Pouey, before he definitively left his post, for a certain number of people who were absent on February 5. It took place on Monday, February 23, 1948 in a disused cinema, dependent on the Radio, the Washington (curiously enough, this is also the name of the boat that would bring him back from Ireland in September 1937), rue Washington. At the conclusion of this session, which brought a new success for Artaud, his friends Marthe Robert and Arthur Adamov were to express certain reservations - which appeared to strike a sensitive note with Artaud, in a letter he addressed to Paule Th� venin on February 24:

“The criticism of M. and A.A. is unjust but the starting point must have been a failure to make the transition,
this is why I’ll never intervene on the Radio again, and from now on will concentrate myself
to the theatre as I see it,
a theatre of blood,
a theatre which with every representation will have gained
he who plays as well as he who comes to see the play,
more over
we do not play,
we act.
The theatre is in reality the genesis of creation. 1

The programme itself is composed of a set of texts that Antonin Artuad conceived for the event, dictated to a secretary placed at his disposition by the Radiodiffusion, in November 1947. The montage can be broken down in the following way:

1. opening text
2. sound effects which fade into the text performed by Maria Casar�s
3. the dance of the Tutuguri, text
4. sound effects (xylophones)
5. La recherche de la f�calit� (performed by Roger Blin)
6. sound effects, beating and exchanges between Roger Blin and 1
7. La question se pose de (text performed by Paule Th�venin)
8. sound effects and my cry in the stairwell
9. conclusion, text
10. final sound effects 2

In his letter of protest to Wladimir Porch�, director of the Radiodiffusion, reproduced by Paule Th�venin in the “Dossier de Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu” in the thirteenth volume of the Complete Works of Artaud, published by Gallimard, Artaud wrote:

“I wanted a new work that catches certain organic points in life,
a work
in which we feel the whole nervous system
burning like an incandescent lamp
with vibrations,
which invite
his body
in pursuit of this new, strange and radiant Epiphany in the sky.
Anybody, down to the coal merchant, must understand being fed up with the filth-
-physical, as well as physiological,
and DESIRES an in-depth
change.” 3

We can refer to the extensive aforementioned notes and notably to a number of letters Artaud addressed to the various protagonists in this affair, to Fernand Pouey in particular, who put his position in the balance and “used it to tip the scales.”

The script of the transmission was published in April 1948 by K �diteur, a short time after the death of Artaud on March 4, 1948. Before its republication, in an extended version with supplementary material including the letters and press articles, in the Oeuvres compl�tes, a relatively poorly printed pirate edition was available in several Parisian bookshops on the Left Bank during the summer of 1973-proof of the interest aroused by this text. This time we are releasing the integral recording of the broadcast which produced, in Artaud’s own words, “a devil of a snag.” 4

The ban of this work was the last great deception wreaked upon Artaud, who considered it “as at last a first rendering of the theatre of cruelty.”

–Marc Dachy
translated by Chantal Marette

1 Oeuvres completes, XIII, Paris, Gallimard, 1974, pp. 146 -147. For further information on Artaud and the theatre in general, notably the manifesto of the theatre of cruelty, refer to Le th��tre et son double. 1 was translated in works from the final period by Antonin Artaud. Edited and translated by Clayton Eshleman with Bernard Bador (Boston: Exact Change, 1995).

2 Extract from a letter to Fernand Pouey, January 16, 1948, in Artaud, op. cit., pp. 126 - 127.

3 Artaud, op. cit., pp. 130-132.

4 Letter to Marc Barbezat, February 16, 1948 in Artaud, L�Arve et Faume, D�cine (Rh�ne), L’Arbal�te, 1989, p. 96. An invaluable volume of drawings by Artaud was published by Jacques Derrida and Paule Th�venin by Gallimard (1986). Following this a catalogue of drawings was published by the Mus�es de Marseille and the Reunion des Mus�es nationaux in 1995, and a catalogue by the MoMA, New York in 1996.
posted by Hammond Rye at 6:54 AM on March 30, 2010 [5 favorites]

worth mentioning that by this point Artaud had been treated with electroshock for a few years, which probably didn't improve his... clarity.
posted by Hammond Rye at 6:58 AM on March 30, 2010

Weird and strangely entrancing. I listened to some of the broadcast then retreated to the transcript and in despair took refuge in the links that provided this précis at wfmu.
I will now start the cycle again.
Thanks (I think) Wolof.
On preview: hate the �, Hammond Rye.
posted by tellurian at 6:59 AM on March 30, 2010

posted by dragonsi55 at 7:21 AM on March 30, 2010

I loved the Bauhaus song: Antonin Artaud.

Is there a downloadable version of Artaud's performance?
posted by cjorgensen at 7:27 AM on March 30, 2010

Some of it is quite lovely, at least in translation.

And then he starts talking about shit again, and it becomes readily apparent he was... not well.

Currently listening to the Exciting Part.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:31 AM on March 30, 2010

Those indians wank on his bones
posted by Flashman at 7:40 AM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

cjorgensen, check out Hammond Rye's link above. There's one long mp3 there.
posted by roll truck roll at 7:47 AM on March 30, 2010

Content aside – the guttural utterances; the low growling; the pursed lipped popping sounds; the high-pitched screeching; the cadence; the rolling 'R's; the percussion; the passion; along with the pop and crackle of the recording, make for a dramatic pronouncement.
I now say, thank you for introducing me to this Wolof.
posted by tellurian at 7:48 AM on March 30, 2010

I have a standard set of text blocks I like to keep handy whenever I encounter someone else's chatty Markov Chain chat-bot. A lost scene from Austin Powers 2; some of Drusilla's more interesting comments from Buffy, some Burroughs, Salad Fingers, and so forth. Just a few quick conversations and the 'bot in question produces nothing but word salad for some time to come. This is so going in there.
posted by adipocere at 8:00 AM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Artaud's the one that said "The only true performance ends in madness," right? I always thought went rather nicely with Bill Shakespeare's "All the world's a stage" in terms of explaining the fundamental psychosis of our times.
posted by philip-random at 8:40 AM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Qtips ... [leaves before more non sequitors come spilling out from her fingers but its lovely *sighs*]
posted by infini at 8:47 AM on March 30, 2010

And then he starts talking about shit again, and it becomes readily apparent he was... not well.

No, I'm pretty sure all that talk about shit was an in-joke beetween Artaud and Fernand Pouey (the director of dramatic and literary broadcasts for French radio).

posted by Kirk Grim at 9:06 AM on March 30, 2010

> Content aside – the guttural utterances; the low growling; the pursed lipped popping sounds; the high-pitched screeching; the cadence; the rolling 'R's; the percussion; the passion; along with the pop and crackle of the recording, make for a dramatic pronouncement.

Indeed, and I join tellurian in thanking you for the post. I pulled out my copy of Le Théâtre et son double and read it while he ranted in the background, and it gave me a new feeling for that amazing text. I wouldn't have wanted to spend a lot of time around Artaud, but I'm glad he existed.

And if you're not familiar with Artaud, don't be too quick in deciding what is a reflection of madness and/or drugs and/or electroshock. He was never a mellow, conventional guy.
posted by languagehat at 11:07 AM on March 30, 2010

This is the perfect thing to play in the background during a dinner party. Perhaps during the main course, when the ham is being carved.

It's shocking how the drugs and semi-madness transformed Artaud from being a handsome actor into a veritable insect-like demon.

Here's one of my adolescent heroes, the estimable Brother Theodore. Who was more or less channeling Artaud, via Jerry Lewis, or something.
posted by Skygazer at 12:02 PM on March 30, 2010

Incidentally, if anyone here hasn't read Artaud yet, you really owe it to yourself. If you don't read French, start with The Theatre and its Double for just his theory, or this book for everything.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:18 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm a fan of Artaud. He was pretty messed up at times, but he also had a hidden inner clarity which he revealed at certain moments.

Un-sourced anecdote: Artaud annoyed an interviewer after his release from the asylum by hitting the piece of meat on his lunch plate. Later it was revealed that this was a common practice in a place where the meat was often maggot-ridden. Of course, with our enlightened perspective, we all know that maggots are also a good source of protein, although perhaps distasteful.
posted by ovvl at 3:54 PM on March 30, 2010

I'd love to hear adipocere's copy of the lost scene from Austin Powers II.
posted by ovvl at 3:56 PM on March 30, 2010

Is there a downloadable version of Artaud's performance?

Here's an MP3 of the audio.
posted by exogenous at 8:36 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Mon Dieu!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 9:16 AM on March 31, 2010

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