Perpetual protocols / Protocoles perpétuels

A 24-hour “french” imaginary (July 8-9, 2022)

fleur de lys attached to a passing car’s bumper  

An old recipe for pain perdu re-published in the daily newspaper 

Annual festivals: Bastille Day FêteFête FrançaiseFête des Fromages

The names of streets: BienvenueBellaireBellechasseBelleville

A twitter hashtag: #FrenchSignsNola

Finding “french” traces in New Orleans is an ordinary, everyday experience, but the term itself is complicated. What might be called “french” is a particular version of the past or a peculiar reading of the present. It is invented and transformed, played and replayed from the remains of colonial history, a francophone and créolophone diaspora, or, perhaps, a tourism tale. 

Perpetual protocols is a 24-hour, interactive experiment to be staged throughout New Orleans on July 8-9. Participants are invited to perform simple, everyday actions inspired by archives linked to so-called “french” New Orleans. By submitting documentation of their experiences (in French or in English), participants will contribute to a 24-hour “french” imaginary, updated with their texts, images and videos in real time on an open source, city-wide map.

The experiment is an attempt to create a collaborative, critical and playful “french” imaginary that moves between the real and the imagined, the past and the present. With at least one participant per hour, the imaginary will take form through the creation of an online map, which will also include links to archival documents from The Historic New Orleans Collection and entries from the Dictionnaire des francophones

A collaborative publication will follow the experiment, with contributions from participants, artists and researchers. The risograph-printed edition will be sent to all participants and shared during public events hosted in New Orleans and Lyon, France in the fall.

To receive more detailed instructions and reserve a time to participate in the 24-hour experiment (July 8 – July 9), contact Ross Louis (rosslouis@gmail.com).


Developed by Ross Louis, Lilyana V. Petrova, Catherine Dessinges and Fanny Mézard, Perpetual protocols is a partnership between the Université Jean Moulin, Lyon 3 (Laboratoire MARGE), Dictionnaire des francophonesAlliance Française New Orleans, the Consulate General of France in New OrleansÉditions ⌘+P and Nous Foundation.


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