Union Internationale de la Marionnette

Non-Governmental Organization affiliated to UNESCO


“To question is to take a leap into the question. The question is the call to jump, which cannot be held back by a result. You need a free space to jump, you need a firm ground, you need a power which, from the sure immobility, changes the movement into a leap. … But in the depth of the flight, where questioning, we flee, there is nothing sure, nothing firm. Everything is already filled by our very flight”

(Maurice Blanchot, La Parole Plurielle, l’Entretien Infini, p. 24-25)    

Times change and so do realities, subject to new responses as well as to our imaginations. And yet we remain strong in our attachments and our questioning. We reveal ourselves as great and weak in poignant and creative moments of ourselves. To think about the future is also to open our thoughts to something we do not know, to the foreign as well as to what is not self-evident, because we do not know and, despite our curiosity, we do not know what lies ahead. There was a time when waiting was significant for a period. Godot will always be expected, or is it the reality of Ubu, always more actual that the paradox of power is that of not acting and not changing. Godot and Ubu are responses to the contradictory expectations of waiting or not waiting.  

Change is like going beyond the limit, just questioning or opening a new dimension and sometimes (disappointing) ourselves, because we are not brave enough to really change. Because change is always more than bringing about change, it is not thinking, or wishing for change, but realising that change may not be, that change will have to become an encounter and even more than an encounter, listening. Opening up to create and formulate issues remains a dream, with our mouths full and our eyes closed. To discover, perhaps?

This new year will be the year of wishes and promises, like all years, and perhaps with the hope of the new and renewed. The lamp can be rubbed, and the evil genies can light up our wishes.  Or only, a lamp can light us in the darkest night, or in the daytime. What use is a lamp in the daytime? Or we could rub and rub, and ruin the glow. Nothing is more fragile than the future. Something that comes along and confuses us, or thwarts all that was planned, because what comes along thwarts what is expected. Can we surprise ourselves, and more than surprise ourselves, astonish ourselves? Can we create and propose a future?

As puppeteers and artists, we want to see shows, and lots of them, and the creation of new shows, so that puppet shows can awaken and excite every spectator beyond expectations. Will UNIMA be able to keep all its promises and hopes? Isn’t disillusionment the pleasure of looking, like disappointment, the pleasure of the text (Roland Barthes)? Why believe that the negative is more than the negative? And that pleasure is the path of the gaze and the text? That pleasure would be the theatre of the gaze and of the word, of matter and of dreams, of desire at last desire, always burning and being consumed, because pleasure is fragile and always the fragile movement of a gesture and of the moment. Duration is always a questioning of pleasure, or simply a questioning (without pleasure?).

Always formulating, always projecting, always wanting something else, or reformulating this idea, this project, or this other thing in another way, because it is a question of responding and proposing. To propose a future, in spite of everything, is to propose this project of gestures and moments, of looking and listening, of presence and duration. UNIMA is all this, and it is above all the future of this project, which we are building together, because we believe that the puppet arts formulate the answer to the disenchantment of the world.    

Happy holidays to all of you, and wonderful things to do in 2022!

Dimitri Jageneau
General Secretary