White and Black Night

On Saturday 1 June, the FMSH is opening the doors of its Comptoir for the Parisian Nuit Blanche.
7:30 pm
12:00 am
Nuit Blanche 2024
For its second participation in the Parisian Nuit Blanche, the FMSH invites you to discover a “Black and White Night”. Our guests - historians, chemists, anthropologists and psychiatrists - will take you on an original stroll through ghosts, black substances and Kizomba dancing.

Black and white night, night in two colors, it's with and through this dyad that the FMSH's Nuit Blanche evening will be composed. Black and white will be considered in their materiality: composition, uses, social and physiological senses, sight and smell. Throughout the evening, our guests will take you on a tour of these two colorful spaces marked by death, disappearance and absence, but also by renewed life.

Nuit Blanche is an unprecedented opportunity to discoverLe Comptoir, a unique meeting place for the humanities and social sciences nestled on the second floor of the FMSH.


Doors open at 7:30 p.m. until midnight - last entry: 11:20 p.m.

• •

A sleepless night of ghosts

First part

• •

8 pm - Do ghosts have a past?

Caroline Callard, historian / 20 min

Behind the apparent obviousness of this question lies the question of the historicity of ghosts: they may “re-emerge” from a certain past, but are they historical markers? Does their presence or absence signal periods “haunted” by ghosts, or periods freed from their influence? This question is part of a historical approach to a phenomenon that has not always been taken seriously by researchers.

8:20 pm - Are poltergeists just like any other ghost?

Grégory Delaplace, anthropologist / 25 min

Categorising ghosts is a tricky business, because when they appear they cast doubt on the typologies we might have wished to use to describe them. Yet ‘poltergeists’ seem to denote a very special kind of phenomenon, one that is less easy than ‘hauntings’ to dismiss out of hand as the result of a collective hallucination. What are poltergeists and, above all, how can anthropology deal with these particular ‘ghosts’?

8:35 pm - « I love you like I ghost you ».  Philosophy of love in the digital age

Sara Guindani, philosopher, psychologist / 25 min

‘The future belongs to ghosts’ warned the philosopher Jacques Derrida at the end of the last millennium, referring to the hallucinated and disembodied relationship that new technologies create with the other. And the other par excellence is the other in love, whose fragility and ambivalence the digital age has brought to the fore, and whose separation has become so difficult that it can only be achieved by reducing him or her to a ghost, as the young say. What does this new ghost figure say about our desire?

10pm - Kizomba urban dance

Déborah Puccio-Den, anthropologist / 15 min

To enter the world of kiz - a tango of Angolan origin - it's best to close your mouth, open your eyes, let yourself be carried away by your senses - touch, smell, taste - and listen to your body as it moves in harmony with the body of the other... because kiz dancers refrain from speaking, thus opening up to the analysis other cognitive, affective and sensory resources to reformulate their presence in the world of night.

• •

A profusion of blacks

Part Two

• •

10:15pm - Scents of Black

Erika Wicky, historian ; Olivier David, smell chemist / 15 min

To carry the black colour, the visual arts use a wide variety of substances that are also odorous.
Inks and paints stimulate our sense of smell with the scent of tar, bitumen, black smoke, soot, etc., that they contain. The aim is to explore these "empyreumatic" or "pyrogenic" scents that also fascinate perfumers for their olfactory "darkness".

22h30 - Dark matter from ancient Egypt

Agnès Lattuati-Derieux, chemist for cultural heritage materials / 15 min

Let's dive into the heart of the chemical composition of these complex mixtures of natural substances
and discover, on a molecular scale, their informative potential for a better understanding of funerary practices, workshop recipes and supply areas.

• •


11:45pm | Closing of the night


About the speakers (FR)

Caroline Callard
Directrice d'études à l’EHESS, historienne, spécialiste de la Renaissance et de l’époque moderne.

Olivier David
Chimiste des odeurs, Maître de conférences à l’Institut Lavoisier (UMR8180), Université de Versailles-Saint-Quentin.

Grégory Delaplace
Directeur d'études à l'École Pratique des Hautes Études, anthropologue.

Sara Guindani
Philosophe, psychologue clinicienne et psychanalyste (Centre Recherche Psychanalyse Médecine Société, Université Paris Cité).




Agnès Lattuati-Derieux
Chimiste des matériaux du patrimoine culturel, ingénieure de recherches CNRS détachée au C2RMF du ministère de la Culture.

Deborah Puccio-Den
Directrice de recherches au CNRS-EHESS-CESPRA, anthropologue.

Erika Wicky
Historienne de la culture olfactive, chaire de professeure junior "Olfactions" à l'université Grenoble Alpes, LARHRA (Laboratoire de recherche historique Rhône Alpes).



Published at 30 April 2024