I Was more American than the Americans
Sylvère Lotringer created Semiotext(e) in the mid-1970, a philosophical group that became a magazine and then a publishing house. Since its creation, Semiotext(e) has been the place for free encounters: John Cage reading Nietzsche, through Deleuze; punk meets philosophy; the possibility of sexualities and alternative politics; the immediate dialogue between artists and philosophers. American artistic and intellectual life for the past fifty years has largely depended on it. The model of the journal and the publishing house revolves essentially around the notion of the collective, and their creator Sylvère Lotringer has rarely given himself over to the continuity of his personal journey: his existence as a hidden child during the Second World War; the liberating and then traumatic experience of the collective in the kibbutz; his Parisian activism in the 1960s; his time of wandering, that took him, by way of Istanbul, to the United States; and then, of course, his American years, the way he mingled his nightlife with the formal experimentation he invented with Semiotext(e) and with his classes. Since the early 2010s, Donatien Grau has developed the habit of visiting Sylvère Lotringer during his trips to Los Angeles; some of their dialogues were published or held in public. We are given an entry into Sylvère Lotringer's life, his friendships, his choices, his admiration for some of the leading thinkers of our times. The conversations show bursts of life, traces of a journey, through texts and existence itself, with an unusual intensity.