A talk by ICLS Visiting Scholar, Prof. Sophie Klimis, Université Saint-Louis-Bruxelles

« Discordant harmony » is a translation of Heraclitus’s palintropos harmoniè. For the pre-Socratics, it refered to the dynamic and paradoxical unity emerging from contradictory forces, such as when one is playing the lyre or bending a bow.

This notion is taken as a paradigm to think the self-creation of both an autonomous subject and a democratic community in a global and multicultural world. This implies a research-creation process that articulates the following conjuncture:

  • A critical discussion of contemporary philosophical concepts coming from very different backgrounds (Castoriadis’s ‘imaginary significations’, Meschonnic’s ‘rhythm’, Glissant’s and Chamoiseau’s ‘creolisation’, Rancière’s ‘mésentente’, etc.) ;
  • Poetical experimentation, searching for a poetical language at the crossroads of different languages : les Belgicaines (French, Dutch, German, Walloon, Flemish), questioning « Belgian identity » from my perspective of an immigrant background (Greek, Russian and Georgian origins), in collaboration with Belgian artists ;
  • Thinking from participant observation in ‘Events’ of ‘Discordant Harmony’, such as the sit-in of a group of illegal migrants (“sans papiers”) at the  Université Saint-Louis-Bruxelles in 2009, which brought about efforts toward the creation of “dialogue spots” where specialized scholars and migrants meet and exchange ideas;  and the creation of a new course on “Philosophy and Citizenship” for secondary education students following the recent Brussels attacks.

Image is Les Perses by Claudia Bosse/Theatercombinat, photo Regis Golay, Geneva 2006.