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Jonathan Baillehache
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“Locutions introuvables” is a literary program inspired by Marcel Bénabou’s Ouilipien method published in The Oulipien Library N.25 in 1984. This program was presented in the “Les Immatériaux” exposition of the Centre Pompidou in 1985, but it was Éric Joncquel who ported it to the website ALAMO (l’Atelier de Littérature Assistée par la Mathématique et les Ordinateurs). The program is also inspired by the notion of “langage cuit” (over-done language) by Robert Desnos. Entitled “Quinze locutions introuvables, mais qui doivent enrichir notre sagesse” (15 lost expressions, but that ought to enrich our wisdom), this program takes one hundred and forty expressions and cuts them up into two parts and recombines them in order to form original expressions. Thus, the “head” and the “tail” of the expressions are mixed up to create lexical chimera. The program works by composing expressions randomly. That is to say, the creation of these “lost expressions” is a function of the combination of different elements that provides the reader with the opportunity of interpreting the text, or rather the scripton, in a personal manner. For example, one of the expressions created by the program is “tirer le diable par le bout du nez.” This expression closely resembles the real expression “tirer le diable par la queue.” Therefore, the resemblance could confuse or trouble the reader, according to the reader’s reaction confronted by an unknown yet familiar expression. In spite of that, this complicity of the program grants the reader a level of liberty in interpreting the expression and giving it an independent sense. The viability of the lost expression does not therefore come from the lexical sense of its elements but rather the sense that the reader creates. Since the lost expressions imitate the structure of true expressions, the reader can use this complicity when reading them. As such, it can be said that the program produces an esthetic of complicity. With more than one hundred and forty expressions cut up and recombined, there are an exponential number of expressions the reader can form by generating them. In this way, the program truly succeeds at enriching the wisdom of the reader by conferring unto him/her original expressions.(Source: Jonathan Baillehache)