Plastir number 60


Jean-Pierre LUMINET is an astrophysicist, writer and international speaker. He has been a researcher at the CNRS since 1979 and worked at the Paris Observatory until 2014. Today he is director of research at the LAM (Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille, France). His scientific work on black holes and cosmology has made him internationally renowned. He was the first in 1978 to numerically calculate the visual aspect of a black hole, an image confirmed in 2019 by telescopic observations. In 2003, he also made the headlines in scientific journals around the world for his theory of a finite and « crumpled » universe. Winner of many awards, including the European Prize for Scientific Communication 2007, the asteroid No. 5523 bears his name in tribute to his work. He is also an Officer of Arts and Letters and a member of the scientific committee of PSA (Plasticités Sciences Arts). To his activities as a scientist, he adds that of an author, in turn essayist, novelist and poet in a protean work where science, history, music and art are linked. He has published some thirty books, translated into a dozen languages, as well as CDs, DVDs and documentaries for television. His latest book, « L’écume de l’espace-temps« , published in October 2020, is devoted to the theories of quantum gravitation. He delivers for our pleasure in PLASTIR, a magazine to which he had honoured us to contribute in the past with the artist Anne-Marie Pochat (Plastir 3, 04/2006), and then with Elisa Brune (Plastir 15, 06/2009) with  (Bonne nouvelle des étoiles), his thoughts on the inventiveness of the scientist and the close links that can articulate it to the artistic creation. In fact, Jean-Pierre Luminet shows us through great names of poetry such as St John Perse and Valery (who was notably illustrated in the Mediterranean cradle) as well as science with Einstein or Kepler, that among the advances of modern physics, are the different theories of « quantum gravity » trying to unify the laws of the infinitely large and the infinitely small. All these approaches testify to the extraordinary freedom of invention when it comes to understanding the « fabric » of the universe. They also highlight the limits of the usual « scientific method » which, too strictly applied, hinders creativity and discovery, without forgetting the role of archetypal representations of the world that the most imaginative scientists carry within them in the same way as artists. This exploration of the field of art-science, more and more prevalent and legitimately reciprocal today, can only be enriched by these crossed experiences! See Luminesciences, the author’s very rich blog:


Susannah HAYS MFA, MA, Ph.D. is a fine art photographer and educator whose philosophical approach to image-making contributes to her understanding of the human predicament. By way of Nature’s Discourse: A Co-Evolutionary Systems Approach to Art and Environmental Design (University California at Berkeley, 2016) and Nature’s Discourse: Transdisciplinarity and Vagus Nerve Function (ATLAS, 2018), she joined Dr. Porges at Cape Cod Institute in August 2019 to discuss the biological and moral imperative for Humanity programs to instill the necessary curricula to responsibly transform our somatically pressured autonomic nervous system, so that our higher, more recently evolved neo-cortical psychic energies may refine and adapt our latent (largely dormant) human potential. She currently works as a consultant at the Intropy=Entropy Institute in San Francisco (California) and is a member of CIRET (Paris, France) and CETRANS (São Paulo, Brazil). This contribution, made in collaboration with psychiatrist and neuroscientist Stephen W. Porges, author of the polyvagal theory, and with the renowned artist and modernist architect Harold Terry Lindhal, whose bios you will find in the article, follows the author’s previous publication in Plastir 59, 12/2020. It aims, according to Susannah Hays, to influence the prolonged constitutional capacity to transform our species potential where humans no longer remain implacably bound by Jacksonian dissolution patterns of behavior. To do so, I present the science of Dr. Stephen W. Porges’ « Polyvagal Theory » in conjunction with Harold Terry Lindahl’s « Gestation, History and Potential of Humankind » exhibition, which together express an emergence potential for realizing transdisciplinary, generative art perspectives. Since the intelligence embodied in human consciousness is obtained through brain-body connectivity, the bio-psycho-physiological processes described in Porges’ and Lindahl’s work indicates how the “rupture between the organs of reflection and those of decision-making in society” may become reconciled.


Abdelkader BACHTA is a professor of philosophy at the University of Tunis. Regular author of PLASTIR (see Summary), he focuses his studies on the epistemological field, scientific theories and their different currents, notably constructivism and mathematical modeling, but not only. He has published extensively in this field in the journal DOGMA and has recently devoted a book to this subject entitled: « René Thom et la modélisation scientifique », L’Harmattan, Paris, 2013). In this essay, he chooses a particular angle of attack of Morin’s work contextualized by the health crisis that we are all going through since a year. In fact, whether it is La pensée complexe or Pour une crisologie, Morin’s humanistic approach provides a framework for reading both pointed and singular of the crossing of crises as their mode of apprehension by a man increasingly cornered, both victim and own architect of its ills. Thus, the impact of coronaviruses go well beyond the sanitary problem: they question, as the author shows it well, the clash of cultures, the fragility of the human being, his indissoluble link to the environment and the bonds of fraternity which bind him with his nourishing mother, the Earth. Morin says in substance that « science is not the depositary of certainty »… and that « the containment can help us to begin a detoxification of the nature »; he indicates, says the author, the possible deviant character of the coronavirus within the critical state itself, its multiform virulence and its metamorphic potentiality. This is a neuralgic point in times of crisis because it could push the Earth system to clean itself up and to modify itself in depth, both ecologically and economically, through an overcoming of the contradictory globalization-deglobalization, growth-decrease, development-wrap. This is where the pandemic could have some positive effects for humanity. According to Abdelkader Bachta, « complex thinking (with its designated characteristics) constitutes the ultimate foundation of Morin’s thinking on the coronavirus », because even if it is globalizing and does not exclude classical thinking, it plays on the uncertainties proper to critical states to accelerate (foment?) change.


Catherine MARY is a journalist and writer. Since 2012, she has regularly contributed to the Science and Medicine supplement of the newspapers Le Monde and Le Temps (Switzerland). She is the author of transdisciplinary surveys, reviews, portraits, forums. A former student of the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon, she has a doctorate in virology and has also studied art history. She approaches the journalist by taking a critical look at the way in which scientific knowledge is constructed in the contemporary world. She deals with subjects related to the definition of madness, bioethics, uses and representations of DNA, the drug market or even encounters between art and science. She is also interested in the renewal of the gaze on the living and has reviewed the books of thinkers such as Vinciane Despret, Baptiste Morizot and the Icelandic anthropologist Gisli Palson. In Chalk and blackboard, matters to think about (Le Monde, 2014), she explored the relationship of mathematicians to the blackboard to understand the function of this iconic object in mathematical creation. In The Habit in Psychiatry, Reflection of Our Hesitations (Le Temps, 2016), she explores the link between the habit of the madman and representations of madness. In Race: genetics facing its demons (Le Monde, 2018), she probes the unthought of the discourse of contemporary genetics to reveal the way in which they contribute to the rebiologization of the notion of race. Long an analyst of international policies for the control of infectious and emerging diseases (1997-2011), in 2009 she warned of the risk for democracy of loss of confidence in medical experts, in two columns published in Le Monde following the pandemic of H1N1 flu. She is also the author in 2011 of a reference portrait of the infectious disease specialist Didier Raoult in the American journal Science. As a writer, she is the author of « Le Gros » (Color Gang 2011), a text immediately spotted by the former editor and writer Geneviève Brisac. She is also the winner of the 2016 Treilles Foundation Author Residence Prize for an autobiographical story exploring the theme of family violence in a context of sectarian influence (in progress). At the center of her reflections is the question of the minority point of view made invisible by the norm of a social group with the political question of the coexistence of narratives in the background. She summarizes her article as follows : In his show conference, Le Pas grand chose, the circus artist Johann Le Guillerm embodies a buffoon who mimics the flaws of the “scientifiss, son of science” ». He presents himself as an idiot, « the one who does not know but who attempts the knowledge« . Its corrosive spirit causes the viewer to laugh, for example when he compares the abilities of bananas to sway on their sides. But this show also raises the philosophical question of the nature of the gaze focused on the world, being part of the debate between the defenders of reason and those of the sensitive which already opposed Goethe in the eighteenth century to the followers of Newton’s color theory. Thus, while revealing through a series of monstrations, the absurdity of the world produced by the scientism, the idiot of the Pas grand chose implicitly denounces the orientation of the gaze according to a unique point of view which imposed itself with the invention of perspective. In the lineage of contemporary artists who since Cézanne question this focus, he is inspired by his practice of the circus to map what he calls « the space of points of view », and tries to fit together on the same cartography, a multitude of points of view on the same object. Continuing his story, he tells the inner journey that leads him to build his own culture as his gaze adjusted. He thus rehabilitates the sensitive experience of the world, as a way of elaboration of true knowledge. This opposition between reason and the sensible specific to modernity is nonetheless weakening at a time when the need to rethink the posture of the researcher in the face of contemporary challenges arises. The myth of scientific objectivity which until then placed the scientist outside his object of study is cracking, and the researcher, having come down from his pedestal, is gradually becoming aware of his own subjectivity. In a book recently published by Odile Jacob editions, “Le cinéma interieur”, the neurologist Lionel Naccache calls out to the defenders of reason on the need for everyone to become aware of their own beliefs. Projects integrating art and science also make it possible to experiment new postures to question the world and within them, new alliances are forged between reason and the sensitive.

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