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The Trial of Fiction

A mock trial of the border between fact and fiction
Commissioned by Nuit Blanche 2017
In the audience room of the Council of Paris in the Paris Town Hall


PhD in Philosophy, Mathieu Potte-Bonneville is senior lecturer at the École Normale Supérieure at Lyon. Former president of the Collège International of Philosophy and co-founder of the tri-monthly magazine Vacarme. He is in charge of “Ideas and Knowledges” at Institut Français and he often collaborates with the programme La Grande Table at France-Culture. He has notably published Michel Foucault: L’inquiétude de l’histoire or D’Après Foucault more recently.

Mathieu Potte-Bonneville ©cobblestuv

Producer at France Culture for more than 10 years now, Caroline Broué has been directing the programme « la Grande Table » from 2010 to 2016. This January, she published her first novel, de ce pas. She is also writing for Grazia and collaborates at 28 minutes (ARTE).

Caroline Broué, Courtesy Radio France, Christophe Abramowitz

Prosecuting advocates

Françoise Lavocat ©SeuilFrançoise Lavocat  is professor of comparative literature at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle. She specializes in theories of fiction (fact and fiction, possible worlds, characters), early modern literature, and catastrophe narratives. She is the author of Usages et théories de la fiction, la théorie contemporaine à l’épreuve des textes anciens (ed. Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2004), La théorie littéraire des mondes possibles (ed. CNRS, 2010), and Fait et fiction, pour une frontière (forthcoming with Seuil, 2016).


Alexandre GefenFounder of the literary research website Fabula, Alexandre Gefen is researcher at the CNRS and directs the review Nouvelle Revue Esthétique (PUF). His research concerns questions of literary theory applied to contemporary French literature. He has published the volumes Inventer une vie (2014), Vies imaginaires (2015) and co-edited several works such as Frontières de la fiction (2002) He has coordinated an international research project entitled “Pouvoir des arts” funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche, and has published widely in many critical journals and literary magazines.


AlisonJamesAlison James is professor of French Literature in the Chicago University. She is working on twentieth- and twenty-first-century French literature, with a particular focus on the Oulipo group, representations of everyday life, nonfiction narrative, and connections between literature and philosophy.


Defense advocates

Dorian AstorDorian Astor is a philosopher, specialist of Nietzsche, on which he wrote Nietzsche (Gallimard, 2011), Nietzsche. La détresse du présent (Gallimard, 2014) and Deviens ce que tu es. Pour une vie philosophique (Autrement, 2016). Since 2015, he dedicates his researches to the concept of perspectivism (in particular in Leibniz, Nietzsche, Whitehead, and Deleuze’s work).


Laurent de Sutter, courtesy Geraldine JacquesEssayist editor and curator, Laurent de Sutter is teaching Legal Theory at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He is the editor of the ‘Travaux Pratiques’ series at Presses Universitaires de France.



Fabien DanesiDoctor in Contemporary Art History Fabien Danesi is a lecturer in theory and practice of photography at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Picardie Jules Verne in Amiens. Former resident of the Villa Medici, French Academy in Rome, he has written several essays about the Situationist International and Guy Debord.

Witenesses and experts  

Dominique CardonDominique Cardon teachs sociology at SciencesPo, where he leads the medialab. He is studying transformations of public space and the uses of new technologies. He published La démocratie Internet (Paris:Seuil/république des idées, 2010), Médiactivistes with Fabien Franjon (Paris:Presses de SciencesPo, 2010) and, with Jean-Philippe Heurtin Chorégraphier la générosité. Le Téléthon, le don, la critique (Paris : Économica, 2016)

Pascal Engel © Didier GoupyPascal Engel studied philosophy at Ecole normale Supérieure, the Sorbonne and at UC Berkeley. He has written on the philosophy of logic, philosophy of language and on the philosophy of mind. He is currently working on issues in epistemology, especially the epistemology of belief and epistemic norms. He is also interested in theories of truth.


Romain Bertrand © B. GaudilereRomain Bertrand is historian, specialist of the insulindien world in the modern and colonial era. He has been a research director at the Fondation nationale des sciences politiques (French foundation for political science) since 2008. He has been an editorial-committee member of Critique internationale and Raisons politiques, and is currently an


Nadia Yala KisukidiDoctor and agrégée in philosophy, Nadia Yala Kisukidi works as a lecturer and researcher in the Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint Denis. She had been vice-president of the Collège International de Philosophie (2014-2016). Her main research interests ar in contemporary French philosophy, postcolonial studies, and ethics and theologys.


Quentin Deluermoz, courtesy Emmanuelle MarchadourQuentin Deluermoz is Associate Professor in History at the University of Paris North – Paris 13, Research Fellow at the Centre de recherches historiques (EHESS) and member of IUF. He is the author of Le Crépuscule des revolutions, 1848-1871 (2012) and co-author of Pour une histoire des possibles (2016).



Laurent Binet is a teacher and is a French writer, awarded the 2010 Prix Goncourt for his novel HHhH.



Yannick Haenel, 2017. Courtesy Francesca Mantovani, GallimardYannick Haenel is an award winning French novelist. He co-founded the literary magazine Ligne de risque. He published several novels, including Jan Karski in 2009, sparking controversy.



Anna ArzoumanovAnna Arzoumanov is doctor in French Literature at Paris la Sorbonne. She has been working about the border between fact and fictions, using a corpus of decisions of justice about fiction literary.



Mathieu Simonet © Hervé BaudatMathieu Simonet is lawyer and writer of three autobiographical romans Les Carnets blancs (2010), La Maternité (2012) et Barbe rose (2016). He is the vice president of la Société des gens de lettres aux affaires juridiques, co-founded the Gibraltar agency, and he is a artist-searcher at the Ateliers Medicis.



Camille de Toledo is a visual artist and an author of books as Strates, his “fictional archeology”, and essays that combine different writing styles and genres. He recently published Le livre de la faim et de la soif (Gallimard, 2017).




Maylis de Kerangal © Emmanuelle Marchadour, Le-SeuilMaylis de Kerangal is a french auhtor. She published several novels as Je marche sous un ciel de traîne (2000), La vie voyageuse (2003), Corniche Kennedy (2008), Naissance d’un pont (translated here as Birth of a Bridge, winner of the Franz Hessel Prize and the Médicis Prize in 2010), Réparer les vivants (2014, awarded several times).


Dominique ViartDominique Viart is an essayist and critic, member of the Institut Universitaire de France, and Professor at the Université Paris-Ouest. He is the editor of the Revue des Sciences Humaines. Viart has authored essays on the twentieth-century novel, modern poetry and contemporary literature, focusing on authors like 
Jacques Dupin or Pierre Michon among others

Nancy MurzilliNancy Murzilli works as lecturer at the Université de Paris 8. Her PhD is about the literature fiction as thought experiment.



Éric ChauvierEric Chauvier works as a lecturer and researcher in the Ecole nationale supérieure d’architecture de Paris la Villette – ENSAPLV. He is  urban anthropologist and author. 



Thomas MondemeDoctor in French Literature and translator, Thomas Mondémé has taught theory of literature and history of ideas at the Université. His PhD is about the cognitive potential of fiction.



Olivier CairaOlivier Caira works as lecturer in sociologie at the Université d’Evry and as member of the CRAL narratology team (EHESS). He does a comparative study between the entertainment industry and fiction experiments. 



Claudine Tiercelin © College de FranceClaudine Tiercelin is a French philosopher, working on metaphysics and philosophy of science. She is professor of philosophy at the Collège de France.



Pascale Piolino est professeure de neuropsychologie à l’Université Paris Descartes, membre de l’Institut universitaire de France et directrice du laboratoire Mémoire et cognition.



Pacome Thiellement, 2014, credit OctokunstPacôme Thiellement became interested in comics and at age 13, he started a fanzine called « Reciproquement ». Nowadays he works as a writer for different magazines and journals like Les Cahiers du Cinéma and Mon Lapin Quotidien. He also writes essays with an exegete and burlesque inspiration and books about Pop Culture and his never-ending passion for poetry.


..and a work of art by.. 

Détecteur d'anges avec Jakob Gautel et Jason Karaïndros ©JJJason Karaïndros (left) & Jakob Gautel (right). Interactive light sculpture, collaboration with Jakob Gautel, electronics Walter Goettmann. Glass, wood, metal, electronic circuit, various dimensions.