Attention aux Français

Let’s see now: cheveux, nuage and poulet.

City Room’s French is rusty, but not that rusty. (See above, proudly written from memory. Honest.) City Room has been to other cities, like Paris. But this is the week when City Room won’t have to go that far to hear some serious French. That is because the French Council of Artistic Creation, established in 2009 by President Nicolas Sarkozy, has reached across the sea to put on a series of round-table discussions and smaller sessions on things as varied as “the magical side of celebrity” and “the state and surveillance: fear and control.”

The series, “Walls and Bridges: Transatlantic Insights,” began on Friday afternoon (snow delayed its planned Thursday start) at the New York Public Library. Sessions are scheduled through next Friday, with two more installments in the series later this year, in the spring and the fall. The sites for the next week vary and include Joe’s Pub, the French Institute Alliance Française, galleries and bookstores.

“The quality of French intellectual activity in the field of the human and social sciences is indisputable,” said Marin Karmitz, a cinematographer who is the general representative of the Council of Artistic Creation. “On the other hand, making this work known across the Atlantic” has been difficult.

So, he said, the council is spreading the word by “working with American intellectuals” and discovering “what issues they are currently interested in and making these the foundation for exchange with their French counterparts.”

Et voilà: thought-and-discourse-provoking salons on the subjects of hair, clouds and chicken — again, see above. A press release for “Walls and Bridges” describes them, in English, as “three overfamiliar and undertheorized objects of study that are perfectly suited to create a conversation that draws on social, literary, artistic, political and economic sources.” Hair will be on the agenda on Sunday. Clouds will be the subject at a session in the spring, and chicken next fall.

The hair, chicken and cloud symposiums — a tiny fraction of the programming curated by Villa Gillet, a French research center “dedicated to thought in all its forms” — will take place in a series of “stalls” where visitors can have short, spontaneous one-on-one conversations with leading thinkers.

The Hair Fair will be held at the winter headquarters of the Brooklyn Flea, in the old Williamsburg Bank tower at One Hanson Place in Brooklyn. The presenters — three French and two American — will include Laurel Braitman, who will come prepared to discuss “hair plucking” among anxious captive animals, including gorillas, mice and parrots; and Justin Smith, a philosopher, who will explore the ways hairlessness has come to signify rationality in the history of philosophy.

The spring event about clouds will be held in a restaurant, where the thinkers will serve up discussion as they serve the appetizers and entrees.

To maximize the “je ne sais quoi” factor, the organizers plan to hold the session about chicken in a laundromat.

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