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Donatien Grau, Sylvère Lotringer: I Was More American than the Americans

Donatien Grau, Sylvère Lotringer

I Was More American than the Americans
Sylvère Lotringer in Conversation with Donatien Grau

Translated by Peter Behrman de Sinéty

Softcover, 96 pages

PDF, 96 pages



In the mid-1970s Sylvère Lotringer created Semiotext(e), a philosophical group that became a magazine and then a publishing house. Since its creation Semiotext(e) has been the place for stimulating dialogue between artists and philosophers, and 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 its creator Sylvère Lotringer has rarely divulged 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, which 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 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.

  • 7–36


  • 37–49


  • 51–70

    Interviews and Politics

  • 71–84

    Anatomy of Subversion

  • 85–94

    "Scenes and Stages": On Pierre Guyotat

  • USA
  • France
  • postmodernism
  • autobiography
  • deconstruction

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Donatien Grau

Donatien Grau

is a scholar and author. He currently serves as head of contemporary programs at the Louvre and as chair of the Association Pierre Guyotat.
Other texts by Donatien Grau for DIAPHANES
Sylvère Lotringer

Sylvère Lotringer

born 1939 in Paris, lives and works in Los Angeles. He is Professor Emeritus at Columbia University. In the mid 1970s he founded Semiotext(e), a research group that became the journal and later a publishing house. Semiotext(e) has played an essential role in the dialogue between the art world, the world of philosophy, critical thinking and the punk scene of downtown. Semiotext(e) affiliates meet in clubs, on university campuses and in the desert of New Mexico. It has accompanied Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Paul Virilio, Jean Baudrillard, Patti Smith, John Cage, Italian revolutionaries and the Black Panthers. Sylvère Lotringer has led a life as a theorist, editor, filmmaker, and existential experimenter, which makes him a legendary figure today.