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  • JJS
  • Membre/Member, NTIA IANA Functions' Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (2014~); Membre/Member, NetMundial Initiative Coordination Council (déc. 2014~); ICANN/ALAC (2010~14); ICANN Board (2007-10); diplomat(e) (1971-2005); ambassadeur/dor (1995-2005). Gouvernance; défis globaux / Governance; g
  • Membre/Member, NTIA IANA Functions' Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (2014~); Membre/Member, NetMundial Initiative Coordination Council (déc. 2014~); ICANN/ALAC (2010~14); ICANN Board (2007-10); diplomat(e) (1971-2005); ambassadeur/dor (1995-2005). Gouvernance; défis globaux / Governance; g

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15 septembre 2016 4 15 /09 /septembre /2016 08:26

The global Internet community is abuzz these days. On 14th September 2016, a hearing was held in the US Senate, where Senator Ted Cruz, perhaps with his sights on 2020, defended the view that the transfer ("transition") of oversight of the IANA Functions would be the end of "Internet freedom". Among the witnesses summoned for the occasion, Larry Strickling, Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Administrator of NTIA, Becky Burr and others defended the view that "transition of oversight" would benefit the global Internet, but would also be in the interests of the United States.

That hearing, and many other events in this pre-election period in the USA, show to what extent the Internet has now been thrown into the ring as a highly politicized topic.

On 12 September 2016, a group of individuals involved in Internet matters sent a letter to the President of the United States of America about the expiry of the current IANA Functions contract, and the proposed transition of oversight of those IANA Functions.

Similar letters were sent to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the US Senate.

The signatories are requesting that the Administration implement the proposed transition of oversight, and that the US Congress not impede the termination of the current IANA Functions contract, due to expire on October 1st, 2016.

At the end of the letter it is made clear that "Views expressed in this letter are those of the signatories, and do not purport to represent the positions of entities with which they may be associated."

Here is the full text of one of the letter to President Obama:

"Dear Mr. President:

As the first truly universal infrastructure in human history, the Internet has allowed huge progress to be achieved in business, legislation, science, public health, agriculture, industry, education and communications, at the same time as it has facilitated the daily lives of ordinary citizens all over the world.

Because of the seminal contribution of the United States of America in creating the Internet and carrying forward so many of its subsequent developments, your country has earned the deep and lasting gratitude of billions of people. In fact, today's younger generations in so many countries cannot even imagine life without the benefits of ubiquitous connectivity, quick and free access to knowledge, as well as the facilitation of social intercourse.

As individuals deeply engaged in, and committed to improving the integrity, stability and uses of the Internet, we believe that now is an appropriate time to confirm the multi-stakeholder model of the Internet, in a way that would benefit both the United States and the rest of the world. In this respect, we note that the United States have consistently considered that the further development of the Internet would best be served by a global multi-stakeholder model:

1. At the inception of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in September 1998, the U.S. Government and Internet stakeholders envisioned that the U.S. oversight of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority functions ("IANA functions") would be temporary. Also in 1998, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a Statement of Policy that the U.S. Government “is committed to a transition that will allow the private sector to take leadership for DNS (Domain Name System) management."

2. In December 2012, the House of Representatives and the Senate jointly stated: "It is the sense of Congress that the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, should continue working to implement the position of the United States on Internet governance that clearly articulates the consistent and unequivocal policy of the United States to promote a global Internet free from government control and preserve and advance the successful multistakeholder model that governs the Internet today." (H.Con.Res.127; S.Con.Res.50).

3. In March 2014, the National Telecommunication and Information Agency (NTIA) announced its intention to transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multistakeholder community. As the first step, NTIA asked ICANN to convene global stakeholders to develop a proposal to transition the current oversight role played by NTIA in the coordination of the Internet’s domain name system, and set out four criteria for such a transition to merit consideration. As requested, ICANN convened the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) which started work in December 2014.

4. In March 2016 the ICG, with the input of the Internet community, submitted its Proposal to NTIA. The NTIA certified that the Proposal met the four criteria (June 2016), approved it (August 2016), and announced its intention to let the IANA Functions contract expire on October 1st, 2016.

It is our belief and indeed our conviction that the transition of oversight of the IANA Functions, from an agency of the United States Government to a multi-stakeholder system equipped with detailed checks and balances, will safeguard the security, openness and efficiency of the Internet, while helping to meet some of the challenges facing humanity and the world in which we live.

In bringing this to your esteemed attention, we are inspired by the fact that the foundation of the United States of America was, in itself, a major innovation of its time: it set out a model of governement predicated on principles, a judiciary unswerved by political patisanship, and en economic model in which wealth and success would be earned by initiative and enterprise rather than by inheritance alone. Implementing those lofty principles required open information, as well as the awareness and growing participation of citizens. For the Internet today, the challenges are not very different.

It is our sincere hope that the Administration will now implement, and that the Congress of the United States of America will not impede the transition of oversight of the IANA Functions.

We are addressing similar letters to the Honorable Speaker of the House of Representatives, and to the Honorable President pro tempore of the Senate.

Most respectfully,

On behalf of the signatories listed below:

Jean-Jacques Subrenat (Ambassador, ret.)


The Hon. Carl Bildt (Sweden)

Chair, Global Commission on Internet Governance; former Prime Minister & Foreign Minister

Dr. Vinton G. Cerf (United States)

former Chair of the Board of ICANN, Internet Pioneer

Mr. John Danilovich (United States)

Ambassador (ret.); Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce

Ms. Avri Doria (United States)

Principal Researcher, Technicalities

Mr. Roberto Gaetano (Italy)

Chair, the Public Interest Registry

Prof. Dr. MURAI Jun 村井 純 (Japan)

Dean & Professor, Environment and Information Studies, Keio University

Founder of Junet & WideProject

Dr. Nii Narku Quaynor (Ghana)

Chairman, Ghana Dot Com Ltd.; founding Chairman of AfriNIC

Ms. Njeri Rionge (Kenya)

Founder & CEO, Ignite Consult. & Investment; co-founder & Director, Wananchi Online Ltd.

The Hon. Ms. Marietje Schaake (Netherlands)

Founder, Intergroup on the Digital Agenda for Europe; Member of the European Parliament

Mr. Jean-Jacques Subrenat (France)

Ambassador (ret.); Former member, ICANN Board; Member of the ICG (2014~)

Dr. Prof. XUE Hong 薛虹 (China)

Founding Director, Institute for Internet Policy & Law, Beijing Normal Univ. 北京师范大学

Dr. Prof. YOKOZAWA Makoto 横澤 誠 (Japan)

Professor, Kyoto University; Vice Chair of the Internet Economy WG, Keidanren

(Views expressed in this letter are those of the signatories, and do not purport to represent the positions of entities with which they may be associated.)

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2 octobre 2014 4 02 /10 /octobre /2014 12:20

Londres, septembre 2014. Après une visite à la National Gallery, j’ai pris ce cliché en quittant l’imposant bâtiment qui donne sur Trafalgar Square (cliquez sur la photo pour l’agrandir). Pour laisser un commentaire, merci d’utiliser la boîte "Laissez un commentaire" ci-dessous.

London, September 2014. After a visit to the National Gallery, this snapshot was taken as I was leaving the grand building on Trafalgar Square (click on the photo to enlarge). To leave a comment, please use the "Laisser un commentaire" box below.




Information technique : Sony RX100M3, mode automatique, f:2, 1/160', ISO 640. Retouches: image recadrée et mise d'aplomb.


Technical data: Sony RX100M3, automatic mode, f:2, 1/160', ISO 640. Modifications: photo cropped and set straight.

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2 octobre 2014 4 02 /10 /octobre /2014 12:01

Août 2014. A Palo Alto en Californie, près du campus de l'Université Stanford, il y a un vaste centre commercial "Stanford Shopping Centre" avec d'agréables espaces en plein air, où les passants s’installent le temps d’une consommation. Cliquez sur la photo pour l’agrandir. Pour laisser un commentaire, utlisez la boîte ci-dessous.

August 2014. In Palo Alto, California, the Stanford Shopping Centre is close to the campus of Stanford Univesity. This shopping mall has open spaces where folks come to enjoy a drink or a snack. Click on the photo to enlarge. To leave a comment, use the "Laisser un commentaire" box below.




Informations techniques: Sony RX100M3, mode automatique, f:4, 1/250', ISO 125, image recadrée et mise d'aplomb.


Technical data: Sony RX100M3, automatic mode, f:4, 1/250', ISO 125, image cropped and set straight.

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15 septembre 2013 7 15 /09 /septembre /2013 07:50

So far, the debate on mass surveillance has dwelt on the immense resources made available to the agencies (NSA in the US, GCHQ in the UK), on the technological advantage that enables them to access any data and bypass encryption, and on the lack of proper oversight in those two countries. But in order to make their voices heard by their elected representatives, Internet users around the world need to have an even more complete view of the emerging reality: why have these agencies been allowed to stray far beyond democratic principles, and why for so long? Why have oversight and control been so utterly ineffective? The grievous actions of these agencies might well have continued to escape public attention, had they not been exposed by Edward Snowden.

Since he first released Snowden's findings in The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald and his colleagues have continued to update their files about the NSA and the GCHQ. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was recently granted access to the deliberations of FISA, the secret court set up to oversee the NSA. To my knowledge, the only writer to have examined some sociological aspects of the surveillance scandal is Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst at ACLU. On Stanley's tracks, I shall examine if a sort of "Internet psychology" has condoned this abuse of power, and see if sociology can provide an explanation.

PSYCHOLOGY. It has taken centuries of turmoil, civil wars and revolutions, for our societies to achieve some degree of harmony. And because they retain a collective memory of strife and hardship, modern humans tend to prefer mediation and negotiation to armed conflict. This conciliatory attitude has fostered tolerance, and with it a fairly high degree of trust in institutions which, in turn, provided continuity.

Because of these characteristics, the public generally has a straightforward, sometimes simplistic approach: trust your doctor for medical advice, your mechanic to repair the car, and the executive branch to manage the country. In many countries, the lack of interest in public affairs has been amplified by mass entertainment and mainstream media, usually at the expense of culture, because the latter is more demanding. With such easy access, the public has persuaded itself that judgment, which someone must have taken care of upstream, has become superfluous at the level of the consumer.

All this has a direct bearing on Internet psychology. In the early days, this amazing tool was used by a small number of individuals skilled in mathematics, programming or systems engineering. If anything, they were driven by logic. But now that the Internet has become the first truly global infrastructure in human history, with easy-to-use applications routinely replacing computer programming, there is a pervasive sense of instant availability, effortless use and free-of-charge access to everything.

For decdes now, the Internet has been touted as a public tool for education, communication, business and entertainment. But its use as an instrument of sovereignty, though perfectly understandable, has mostly been passed under silence. Those familiar with international relations understand that governments engage in spying (this term is more accurate than "intelligence", more attuned to academic research and cognitive pursuits). They also know that national security requires surveillance, which is acceptable, provided it is framed by strong legal rules, under constant and effective oversight by the legislative and judicial branches. 

Then why have Snowden's revelations shocked Internet users around the world, even those who are rather well informed? How did this come about? Aided by mainstream media, governments have hidden behind the screen of secrecy to expand budget allocations for surveillance. The leaders of agencies have relentlessly demanded, and often obtained, the extension of their covert actions. And when some whistleblower draws attention to wrongdoing, political leadership and the owners of mass media quickly sideline the offender by accusing him of harbouring some "conspiracy theory". In societies where mass media play a major role in the formation of groupthink, invoking a "conspiracy theory" is generally enough to discredit the whistleblower, and his findings are simply taken off the news. Before being hailed as a hero, Daniel Ellsberg had been branded by Henry Kissinger as "the most dangerous man in America", and normally that should have silenced him forever. More than a decade after 9/11, how many US citizens are aware that on that day, not 2 but 3 towers imploded, the third one without having been hit by an aircraft? And in the UK, how many people have read the European Parliament report on Echelon? We live in comfort-seeking societies where most people are afraid of leaving the mainstream: a false dogma provides so much more solace than an inconvenient truth. Today, should the Internet user be satisfied with such low standards?


SOCIOLOGY. In a recent article, Jay Stanley asked "How Can Smart, Ethical Individuals Form Dumb, Amoral Government Agencies?". He offered 5 reasons: the ideology of the bureaucracy, groupthink, diffusion of responsibility, Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy, and abstraction. I agree with his analysis, but it's worth considering some wider aspects as well.

1) ACCOUNTABILITY IS NOT THE DEFAULT SETTING OF EXECUTIVE POWER. In fact, those who attain power are immediately given the symbols of absolutism: one of the very first things a newly appointed chief executive is briefed upon is the availability of military force, and if his country is a nuclear power, he is given a "nuclear key", arguably the most potent and secret item of high office. We learn from history that the executive (whether a monarch or an elected person) has never granted legislative powers out of kindness, but that they were obtained the hard way, often through conflict. There is a sort of "biological constant" which makes executive power loathe to share, and careful to avoid anything which may destabilize it. For many of us, it is a disappointment, but it should hardly be a surprise, that since assuming office, President Obama has implemented many key policies of the Neo-Conservative agenda, thus laying the ground for the massive abuse of power recently exposed by Snowden.

2) LIKE RELIGIOUS DOGMA, SECRECY THRIVES ON ITS OWN RULES. Political power has always considered secrecy as a key element to resist the test of time, democratic demands, or an uprising. At the present time, it is truly disturbing to see that the US and British executive branches have gone to great lengths to make that secrecy more inscrutable, even against the basic requirements of democracy. Those who promote the uncontrolled expansion of surveillance, usually find inspiration in religious dogma, which always considers itself as the ultimate source of wisdom and justice. It is secrecy as a value in itself, which seems to have driven the surveillance agencies to sideline judicial control and parliamentary oversight. The sheer magnitude of this deception creates a sort of convergence between established democracies and the very dictatorships they regularly, and rightly, critisize.

3) THIS IS A TURNING POINT IN THE HISTORY OF THE INTERNET. A naïve approach has no place in the current debate: competition is not for the faint-hearted, fierce competition begets harsh tricks, and governments all spy on one another. But the malpractices exposed by Snowden cannot be left unchecked, lest they undermine the very foundations of our democracies. People have expressed indignation, and rightly so, but that is no longer sufficient. We need to impress upon our elected representatives that it is time to make Internet governance work for civic and human rights, as well as privacy. It is time to harden the legal tools with which abuse of power can be curtailed, and executive branches made accountable on a regular basis. Let us follow up on the (ISOC) Internet Society's recent statement, and make this one of the major public causes of our time. We owe it to the next generations of Internet users worldwide.


( This article is also posted on CircleID )

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6 septembre 2013 5 06 /09 /septembre /2013 04:01

"The abuse of greatness is

when it disjoins remorse from power"

W. Shakespeare, "Julius Caesar"


When the scale of global surveillance carried out by the NSA (USA) and by the GCHQ (UK) was exposed by Edward Snowden through The Guardian, people around the world were shocked to discover how two established democracies routinely resort to methods that they have long deplored -and rightly so- in dictatorships, theocracies and other single-party arrangements. In a previous article, I lamented the fact that by carrying out this surveillance on an unprecedented scale, the US and the UK are, in fact, converging with the very regimes they criticize. All this constitutes what I have termed "the global rape of privacy". One could have expected a huge outcry, but so far reactions have been restricted to just a few media outlets. Some Internet experts have questioned this meekness, e.g. Byron Holland on his "Public Domain" blog, under the title "Where is the outrage?".


Things are turning out to be even worse than we thought. On the 5th or September 2013, three media outlets, in close coordination, published a further installment of Snowden's findings, this time about the illegal action by NSA and GCHQ to circumvent or corrupt most of encryption methods currently available for the protection of business data and user privacy. In these articles, The Guardian, the New York Times and ProPublica describe and analyse the incriminated methods. They reveal the unprecedented extent to which the NSA and the GCHQ have been allowed, or have allowed themselves, to record and scrutinize individuals' lives and social evolution, and not only military or terrorist activities. These most recent articles reveal, among other things, "project Bullrun" (operated by NSA) and "project Edgehill" (run by GCHQ). Here are a few questions and observations.


1) THE "GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR" IS NO LONGER PUT FORWARD AS THE OVERRIDING PRETEXT FOR GLOBAL SURVEILLANCE. In itself, this is a terrifying discovery, which implies that the methods now in use have acquired a logic, even a justification of their own, beyond the "forces of evil" battle-cry of the Cheney Administration, or Blair's choices in that same period. We don't know, but some have suggested that Airbus plans may thus have been discretely passed on to Boeing, or EU talking points covertly siphoned before some important multi-lateral meeting on world trade, none of these having even the faintest connection with "fighting against terrorism". By going way beyond the requirements of national security, the proponents of universal surveillance have placed their actions further than sovereignty, thus undermining the very foundations of democracy. This is a most dangerous development; all concerned citizens and netizens should give vent to their indignation.


2) THE LACK OF PROPER JUDICIAL OVERSIGHT AND PARLIAMENTARY CONTROL HAS GIVEN THE PROPONENTS OF GLOBAL SURVEILLANCE A HIGH SENSE OF IMPUNITY. There is no need to replicate here the details provided in the articles of The Guardian, the New York Times and ProPublica. But we can draw a couple of lessons. First, the loopholes of democracy have been exploited with the utmost cynicism, for instance when analysts at CGHQ were instructed to ask no questions, with this warning: "knowledge that GCHQ exploits these products and the scale of our capability would raise public awareness, generating unwelcome publicity for us and our political masters."  That's one clear way of stating that the Executive Branch can in fact be held hostage by these agencies. Second, the fact that, in the judgment of those who operate these surveillance systems, proper oversight and control can only be viewed as hindrances to the open-ended expansion of their covert activities.


3) IN THE FACE OF THIS MASSIVE ABUSE OF POWERS BY THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH, IT IS TIME FOR CITIZENS AND NETIZENS ALL OVER THE WORLD TO GIVE VENT TO THEIR INDIGNATION. The late Stéphane Hessel, in his little book entitled "Indignez-vous!"  (Time for outrage!), called upon citizens to reject the root causes of mass poverty, growing social inequality, deprivation of rights, and attacks on human dignity. In the same spirit, the recent disclosure of unauthorized, poorly controlled, opaque dealings in the name of sovereignty now warrants a large-scale inquiry, as well as corrective measures in order to protect the rights of Internet users across the world. It is time to let our elected representatives know that they must legislate on and enforce stringent controls: that's what it takes to rid our democracies of the widespread impunity exposed by Snowden. The coterie of cynics would have us believe that, in this early twenty-first century, even the "global rape of privacy" is perfectly normal and acceptable, in the name of efficiency.

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25 août 2013 7 25 /08 /août /2013 00:00

Built for the most part during the Cold War, surveillance systems on a global scale were considered a vital necessity with the onset of nuclear weapons, if only to keep Mutually Assured Destruction at bay. Today, these systems are also used for domestic surveillance and universal data harvesting, including on one’s own citizens. Should such systems still be considered with the same reverence as, say, in the midst of some Cuban Missile Crisis? Internet specialists have addressed some of the questions posed by this blanket surveillance (among others, in Circle ID: Geoff Huston and Roy Balleste).


In the Soviet Union, military power and ideological control relied on a vast network of listeners and analysts, of multilingual chauffeurs and fellow travellers across the globe. In the United States, the ayatollah Joseph McCarthy saw in the West-East confrontation an opportunity to use Cold War methods on home ground to eradicate anything close to « socialism », shore up religious persuasions, nurture capitalism and pave the way for global financial dominance. And today, countries with interests around the world use the Internet as a conduit for influence and power, when it is not for their covert actions.


Over the years, individuals have assumed the high-risk role of whistleblowers because their duties made them aware of the dire consequences of public policy: through his selfless action, Daniel Ellsberg (The Pentagon Papers 1971) helped shorten the US occupation of Vietnam. More recently, whistleblowers have emerged because the Internet provided access to confidential data which they considered of crucial importance to their fellow citizens; others exposed the massive and systematic electronic surveillance by the US, including of its own citizens at home and abroad; and the dissemination of information about Prism and Echelon has put into question the very notion of being an ally (the UK claims to be a full member of the European Union, yet it is one of only 5 beneficiary states of Echelon). Such whistleblowers are reviled by some and hailed by others: Sibel Edmonds, Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, Julian Assange, and recently Edward Snowden (and those who helped them: Sarah Harrison from WikiLeaks aided Snowden during his travails in Hongkong and Moscow; Glenn Greenwald, a journalist with The Guardian, published Snowden’s story as it unfolded).


This form of unmediated transparency, possible only in democracies, has always been the nightmare of theocracies and other single-party regimes. In its terminal stages, the USSR could do nothing against the humble fax machine, which turned out to be an essential vicar of Perestroika. Turning to Asia, one cannot help but wonder what would have been the outcome of Tian’anmen if, in 1989, global social networks had been available on the same scale as today. More recently, and true to their messianic inclinations, our Western democracies offered verbal encouragement to movements of self-liberation in the Near- and Middle-East, while vaunting the role played by (Western) social media in these upheavals.


But now we are witnessing a regrettable convergence: established democracies are resorting to the methods of regimes they have long criticized, and they do this with a sense of righteousness, in the name of a « global war on terror ». For anyone interested in US affairs, it is disturbing to see that President Obama is implementing parts of the Neo-Con agenda that even the Cheney Administration had not achieved (Patriot Extension Act 2011; maintaining Guantanamo; Boundless Informant; comforting current NSA and related practices without effective oversight). Some day, US citizens will have to come to grips with the growing contradiction between the lofty principles upon which their country was founded, including the "Wall of separation" between state and religion (Jefferson 1802), and 21st-century US where the President concludes his swearing-in with an astounding "so help me God". in the Middle East and elsewhere, religious bigots point at the caption "In God we trust" printed on every US banknote and adopted as the national motto of the US (1956), to better impose their bleak obscurantism in madrassas. This convergence holds more dangers for democracies than for theocracies. It is deeply disturbing that the United Kingdom’s GCHQ secretly accepted £100 million from the NSA, the US agency seeming to consider that massive global surveillance could be carried out without bothersome legislative and judiciary oversight in Britain, the country that schoolchildren around the world know as the cradle of parliamentary democracy.


A naive posture has no place in this debate: countries who can afford it usually have agencies that gather information and try to influence decisions in other countries. But recent developments should lead us to examine several points:


-       1) By eschewing principles for the sake of « operational efficiency », democracies weaken the very core of their social cohesion and political stability. These principles are so obvious that one is embarrassed to name them: civil liberties, human rights, a clear separation of powers. Established democracies have become complacent about their own practices, and it is high time that surveillance be effectively subordinated to judiciary and parliamentary control, rather than left to the sole judgment of the executive.

  2) Technical entities such as ICANN should be more open about discussing this, because the separation between the technical and the governance aspects of the Internet no longer has the same justification as when Vint Cerf, Bob Kahn et al invented TCI/IP. This challenge has just been taken up by the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) at its Berlin meeting, where it decided to devise methods to protect the privacy of the general Internet user. The IETF shows the way forward: there is no taboo, even for a technical body, to place as much emphasis on user privacy as on engineering challenges or business opportunities.


-       3) The debate about the Internet has long avoided considering the global public interest as a priority. It is time to recognize that the rape of privacy has become a widespread and unpunished crime, and as such requires firm corrective legislation and processes. Awareness has been raised by some great Internet names: most recently, Tim Berners-Lee and his World Wide Web Foundation issued a statement on "Surveillance laws: time to reform the status quo". The efforts of W3C, ISOC, the Council of Europe and others now need to be gathered in a meta-platform, in order to impact public policy.


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17 novembre 2012 6 17 /11 /novembre /2012 23:13

Je viens de voir "Augustine" (scénario et mise en scène d'Alice Winocour) au cinéma du quartier, fort troublé par ce qui semble être un cas de plagiat sans scrupule.

Dans les dernières minutes du film, lorsqu'Augustine (Soko, excellente dans le rôle), Charcot (un Vincent Lindon rigide) et Mme Charcot (Chiara Mastroiani, fine, intelligente) se diluent dans la foule du soir, une musique prend de l'ampleur, un lancinant canon de cordes étreint le spectateur : n'est-ce pas "Tabula rasa", du compositeur estonien Arvo Pärt (oeuvre de 1977) ? Le film terminé, et tandis que la salle de cinéma se vidait, je suis resté assis, pour le plaisir de voir apparaître le nom de Pärt, qui méritait bien ce coup de chapeau. Mais quelle surprise, dans la liste des noms qui défile après la dernière image, on apprend le nom de l'électricien, du coiffeur, mais quand vient "musique", je lis avec surprise le seul nom de Jocelyn Pook.

De retour à la maison, je vérifie de suite, sur les sites spécialisés, la filmographie concernant "Augustine" : avec étonnement, je constate qu'à côté de la mention "musique", seul figure le nom de Jocelyn Pook. Et sur le site de cette compositrice et altiste britannique, il est bien fait mention du fait qu'elle compose la musique d' "Augustine", mais sans aucune indication qu'elle ait pu être inspirée par l'oeuvre de Pärt.

Peut-on imaginer qu'Alice Winocour et les producteurs (Isabelle Madelaine, Emilie Tisné, Laurent Pétin, Michèle Pétin), auraient manqué à ce point de culture musicale, mais aussi d'élémentaire prudence, en ne vérifiant pas que la musique accompagnant la dernière scène du film, devait beaucoup à un grand compositeur contemporain, Arvo Pärt ? Faut-il imaginer que Jocelyn Pook, qui a déjà signé de nombreuses musiques de film, se serait laissée aller à faire ce gros emprunt en comptant sur l'ignorance des spectateurs ? Dans l'un et l'autre cas, le résultat est d'une indélicatesse crasse et, faute d'explication convaincante d'Alice Winocour ou de Jocelyn Pook, laisse planer l'ombre d'un plagiat éhonté.

Il serait dommage que la réputation de l'une ou l'autre fût ternie par cette négligence. Comme bien d'autres spectateurs, j'attends des explications.



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14 février 2012 2 14 /02 /février /2012 07:20

 ➠ 中文版 

DSC00785 2

En calligraphie, l'esprit ordonne le geste, le corps ne fait qu'exécuter.


C'était lors d'une fête qu'un ami donnait dans un musée d'art contemporain pour son 50ème anniversaire. Ses parents, son épouse, ses enfants, des amis de jeunesse, des collègues, quelques dizaines d’invités formaient un groupe varié et de tout âge. En terminant sa sobre allocution, le héros de la fête évoqua un ami d'enfance présent à ses côtés, et lui demanda d'exécuter quelques calligraphies avant que nous ne passions au buffet.

Discrète, attentive à tout, Mme XU Dengyin , l'épouse du calligraphe, aidée de deux ou trois invités, débarrassa une table, déploya des rouleaux de papier, disposa les instruments d'écriture, vérifia l'encre, et de ses paumes lissa la première page blanche.

Vêtu d'un tricot aux manches retroussées, ZHENG Jieping  鄭階平(郑阶平)s'avança vers l'écritoire improvisé. Ceux qui ne le connaissaient pas, retenant leur souffle, se demandèrent comment une personne sans mains et sans avant-bras pouvait s'adonner à la calligraphie. Un instant de concentration, regardant l'encrier, puis la feuille blanche, à nouveau l'encrier et les pinceaux, l’artiste se préparait à écrire.

L'instant d'après, il saisit le plus grand pinceau, le trempa, et d'un geste sûr en exprima l'encre superflue sur les bords de l'encrier. D'habitude, un calligraphe tient le pinceau dans sa main droite comme le prescrivent les manuels de cet art, "avec la fermeté du tigre et la légèreté de l'oiseau". Ici, ZHENG Jieping, debout, tenait le pinceau de ses deux membres supérieurs, de sorte que l'acte d'écrire mobilisait tout son corps, qui se déplaçait tout entier de droite à gauche au rythme de la calligraphie, le torse et la tête imprimant au pinceau d'amples mouvements pour les grands caractères puis, pour achever en plus petits idéogrammes la date et sa signature, se focalisant comme un horloger sur une montre, en gestes de faible ampleur dont on devine la précision.

Les invités, émerveillés, formèrent un cercle de plus en plus resserré autour du calligraphe. Plusieurs grandes feuilles passèrent ainsi de l’état de papier à celui de signe, de message, d’art. L'après-midi fut éclairé par ZHENG Jieping, écrivant de tout son corps ; le pinceau, à l'aplomb de son regard concentré, semblait alors l'instrument docile d'une surprenante chorégraphie.

Intéressé par le style de ce calligraphe, j'ai proposé à son épouse et lui de leur rendre visite afin de faire connaissance et prendre quelques photos. Echange de numéros de téléphone, promesse de se contacter bientôt.

Par une journée pluvieuse, je me suis rendu dans leur appartement au dernier étage d'un immeuble, avec vue sur le fleuve Huangpu, gris métallique ce jour-là. Nous bûmes du thé, bavardâmes, continuèrent au restaurant du quartier où je les conviai avec leur fils, retournâmes chez eux et regardâmes des albums, des livres, des calligraphies récentes.


Le calligraphe ZHENG Jieping 鄭階平 郑阶平) chez lui, à Shanghai.

Il ne m'en a pas parlé, mais ses amis savent que le tout jeune ZHENG Jieping fut accidentellement électrocuté par un câble à haute tension, avec pour conséquence la perte de ses deux bras. L'amputation lui laissa des moignons juste au-dessus des coudes. Sans doute a-t-il fallu une volonté hors norme pour surmonter une telle épreuve. Sa passion de la calligraphie remonte à l'école primaire, lorsqu'il avait admiré le talent de quelques camarades dont les oeuvres étaient exposées, et regretté de n'en avoir pas lui-même.

En regardant des photos de Jieping jeune homme, je découvre la haute exigence qu'il n'a cessé d'avoir à l'égard de lui-même : dans une photo, le voilà à une rencontre sportive régionale pour personnes handicapées, et dans une autre, le voici aux Olympiades pour handicapés (saut en longueur). Il a produit pour la jeunesse des manuels de calligraphie dont il m'a montré les brouillons, chaque caractère tracé avec ce qui m'a paru une grande aisance, mais qui résulte sans doute d'années d'une riguoureuse discipline. J'imagine le respect qu'il doit inspirer à ses éleves, dans le lycée à Shanghai où, en classe de calligraphie, il leur parle aussi de l'évolution des styles au cours des siècles.


ZHENG Jieping avec son épouse XU Dengyin et leur fils ZHENG Weixiong. L’inscription célèbre la nouvelle année, “Que l’année du dragon apporte le bonheur” (龍年戴福 xinnian daifu).

S'il pratique tous les styles d'écriture, je trouve que ZHENG Jieping excelle dans le caoshu  ("la souplesse des hautes herbes"), forme dont l'apparente décontraction suppose non seulement une maîtrise technique, mais aussi une profonde connaissance étymologique, historique et littéraire. Tandis que d’autres graphies, notamment le kaishu 楷书 demandent un respect rigoureux du modèle proposé, laissant ainsi peu de place à la fantaisie ou à la créativité, caoshu est une forme dans laquelle, me semble-t-il, une personnalité hors du commun trouve à s’exprimer librement.


Calligraphie en écriture caoshu ("la souplesse des hautes herbes") par ZHENG Jieping.

Il est surprenant qu'un artiste de cette qualité, apprécié des initiés en Chine, soit à peu près inconnu ailleurs : ne pourrait-on trouver, d'abord en Asie puis dans d'autres régions du monde, des galeries souhaitant montrer, à travers ZHENG Jieping, que la calligraphie est indissociable de la culture chinoise, tout en faisant penser, par son abstraction, à l'art contemporain ? 


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14 février 2012 2 14 /02 /février /2012 07:12

en français : ZHENG Jieping, calligraphe

翻译 : 女士 


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这样一个在中国被内行人看好杰出的艺术家在其他国家却不被知晓实在有点令人吃惊我们是否能在亚洲然后在其它国家找到一些画廊愿意通过展示郑阶平的书法作品这一保存着中国古老文化的艺术形式 以它的抽象性来反省现代艺术呢



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30 janvier 2012 1 30 /01 /janvier /2012 04:00

In a previous post, I had copied a letter from a group of "friends of ICANN" to the Chair of the Board of ICANN, about the process leading to the recruitment of the next CEO (English original here, translation into French here but scroll down, and into Chinese here).

This group of "friends" considered that a follow-up was necessary, and recently sent a new letter to the Chair of the Board, who graciously replied. The content of both messages is reproduced below.

                                                                        24th of January 2012


 Dear Steve,

In November 2011 we, as a group of friends of ICANN from various parts of the world, had shared with you and your colleagues of the Board our concerns about the process leading to the choice of ICANN’s next CEO, and offering some recommendations. You had graciously acknowledged this letter. Today we are writing as a follow-up to that correspondence.

We note with satisfaction the improvements the Board has brought to the selection process:

 1) a Search Committee was properly formed, with an experienced and respected personnality as its Chair,

 2) the external consultant was chosen among firms having responded to a call for tenders,

3) the preselection process is being carried out by the search firm, not by the Board or its Search Committee,

4)  transparency has improved: the community was invited to comment the draft of the job profile, and elements of the selection process have been posted online,

5) the position of CEO was advertised in a leading weekly publication with a worldwide distribution, not restricted to the USA.

We wish to commend the Board, under your leadership, for having taken these measures which improve the internal governance of ICANN and enhance its image.

The recent publication of the job profile in The Economist is, in itself, a welcome innovation, which we had advocated. However, this advertisement gives rise to new questions:

a) ICANN is not described as a not-for-profit organization. This omission introduces a degree of ambiguity about the nature of ICANN, both for prospective candidates and to its worldwide community. Is this departure from well-established wording meant to indicate that, somehow, ICANN is evolving into a commercial corporation looking for the usual type of CEO?

 b) As an established practice, ICANN has always described itself as a “private-sector led multi-stakeholder organization”. For its advertisement in The Economist, ICANN is said to fulfill its mission "by engaging with a global community of thousands of actively participating stakeholders (governments, businesses, academia, NGO's, technical operators and individuals), all of whom have a role in keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable". Although this latter formulation was probably meant to make the notion of “multi-stakeholder” more widely understood, it weakens the principle according to which stakeholders are on an equal footing,  at the heart of ICANN’s originality and value.

If the advertisement in The Economist is to be published again, it might be worthwhile considering some changes. Additionally, ICANN could easily modify the online job profile to restore clarity.

With best wishes to you and the Board of Directors, we remain

Yours sincerely,

     Nashwa ABDELBAKI, from Egypt,

     AIZU Izumi, from Japan,

     Yrjö LÄNSIPURO, from Finland,

     Evan LEIBOVITCH, from Canada,

     Alejandro PISANTY, from Mexico,

     Nii QUAYNOR, from Ghana,

     Carlton SAMUELS, from Jamaica,

     Jean-Jacques SUBRENAT, from France,

     XUE Hong, from China.

                                                              On behalf of the above:

                                                              (signed) Jean-Jacques Subrenat

And Dr. Crocker replied on 28th of January 2012:

Jean-Jacques, et al,

It is a pleasure to hear from you again and it warms my heart to see that you are following the recruiting process closely.

The ad in the Economist was a deliberate departure from the process we used last time, and I am not surprised that we might not have gotten it exactly right.  Nonetheless, I am pleased to report that we have received a strong response to the ad and, far more importantly, we have received from a variety of sources a good list of strong candidates.  Whatever misunderstandings might have arisen from the wording in the ad will surely be sorted out during the interview process.

Nothing in the ad should be interpreted as altering the fundamental nature and structure of ICANN.  Just as an example, there is no prospect of evolving ICANN into a commercial corporation.  The comments that you have provided are good, and perhaps if we had thought even more about the content of the ad, we would have included them.  The absence of 'not for profit' in the description is unfortunate, since that would have provided another clue in addition to the phrase  'public service' regarding the fundamental nature of ICANN.

We do not plan to run another ad during this recruiting process.  We will keep your comments in the file for the eventuality some day in the future when we have to do this again.

Again, thanks!
Steve Crocker
Chair, ICANN Board of Directors
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