Comment "Loft Story" validated Michel Foucault's theory

When “Loft story” confirmed Michel Foucault

TELEVISION – It was 1969. Light years away from reality TV and the first season of “Loft Story”. French philosopher Michel Foucault, a leading figure in French Theory recognized and invited around the world, publishes What is an author: the book, since integrated into its Sayings and writings (Gallimard), explores the very fluctuating role of the “author” of a work through the ages of its anonymity in sacred texts, up to the figure of the brilliant writer established from the 18th century.

In these writings, as often with the man of Keep an eye on and punish, the material for endless exegesis, on the concepts of appropriation of a work or the erasure of the author, is hardly lacking. But the philosopher also develops a concept that the lofters, despite themselves, have fully validated, more than thirty years later: that of the erasure of the “author function” in the 21st century.

Whoever writes, but also the proofreader, the publisher, the company itself, explains Michel Foucault, today everything influences a work of fiction, plays on its reception: “We delimit, we exclude, we select: in short , […] we are hindering free movement ”. The concept is as commented as it is complex, but to sum it up in the extreme, the philosopher called in his demonstration at the end of the author, the latter limiting the appropriation of the text by the reader, and with it, of the author function.

Michel Foucault interviewed in 1966 about his book “Words and things”

This is where our lofters arrive. Or rather, the lofters seen by another intellectual, who died in September 2020, Bernard Edelman. Renowned jurist, also philosopher, the author was particularly interested in tyranny and servitude, especially voluntary … a good reason to tackle in the years 2000, to an analysis of the phenomenon “Loft Story” in a chapter of a book published by La Découverte editions, Art in Conflicts.

Cameras have replaced the author

To apprehend this phenomenon which changed television, Edelman, analyzing without make-up the emission and the debates which they surrounded it, then summons Michel Foucault. According to Foucault, he explains, the status of a fictional author is once again in the process of being transformed, of disappearing. How, in what form? This, Foucault did not know yet, but for Edelman there is no doubt: the Loft, it is the realization of this prediction.

The author, he tells us, has already been slowly pushed out by the industrial proliferation of television productions (we were only in 1969!). But this exit is made by means of a dangerous mistake: the lines are blurred between fiction and reality, the screen and the programs which take place there becoming more “real” than the lived experience, the reality being always simulated with more precision … to its height, Loft Story: “the imagination of a reality itself imaginary” Edelman tells us. And this imaginary has no author.

Neither author nor actor, says Edelman, but only a “machine”, that is to say this system of surveillance cameras now well known. By his very presence, he arouses an intrigue; it completely alienates the participants: “the author function is transferred to a machine which symbolizes the power of the market”.

Credits of season 1 of “Loft Story”

How is it possible? How can the author, the one who normally writes fiction, give way to a machine that produces intrigue? It’s tragically simple, Edelman analyzes. The intrigue here is the “process of removing an individual’s sovereignty to transform him into a servant”. Without privacy, no identity, according to Freudian theory. Without identity, they become “empty human beings” and are only the characters of the production which laid down the rules of the game.

Reality has become a fiction by the mere fact of the machine: there is no longer any need for an author to create fiction. The “market” took care of it by putting itself on the scene, through individuals who are not actors, but nevertheless play a role, itself on stage. Michel Foucault was right, the author function has been totally transformed, erased. But, in Edelman’s mind, it is for the benefit of a “totalitarian” device, that of Loft Story.

See also on Then24: What TV looked like in 2001 when “Loft Story” launched

Disclaimer: If you need to update/edit/remove this news or article then please contact our support team Learn more

Leave a Reply