Fukouara expounds on common philosophical concepts in her debut work.
As explained in a pair of introductions by artist Cillia Darmizin, Fukouara is a mystic and healer from New Caledonia who’s had visions of other worlds ever since childhood. Her book seems meant to offer a regimen of intellectual “healing,” using words as a “means towards relief, towards taking a new stand, towards self-improvement and even self-questioning.” Translated from the French by Michel Pérez, the book is broken down into brief segments; each explores a specific concept, such as “Ego,” “Unhappiness,” or “Chance,” for about half a page. A few discussion questions follow each short essay, such as, “Is chance the projection of doubt?” Interspersed among the topics are photographs of Darmizin’s art, which is generally abstract in style but represents a variety of different types of media. The overall effect is closer to a work of poetry than one of philosophy or self-improvement. Fukouara’s prose seems to be guided by a symbolic sensibility rather than one based on semantic logic, which occasionally results in some aesthetically intriguing ideas (“Light is the innocence of transparency”). However, it mostly creates confusion for readers attempting to find a cohesive philosophical argument. Although Fukouara seems to suggest the existence of a metaphysical system of beliefs or behaviors (“Fire is the twig. It means the permission to reach the mystery of repelling evil”), she never outlines it in any discernable way. If the book’s goal is simply to provide food for thought in hopes of challenging notions of language and perception, then readers may gain something from it. However, if the author is trying to articulate a specific set of instructions for the purpose of “self-improvement and even self-questioning,” it’s hard to view the work as a success. In either case, the book feels like a set of opaque directions leading to an undefined destination.
A dense, abstract philosophical work for the very patient and the very curious.