Comic cartoonist and sinologist
Workshop : What is the origin of time writing?
Patrice Serres is a Parisian comic artist, specialized in comics about aviation and animals. He is also an editor and producer, who works in different types of media. He was an art teacher when he made his debut with comic adaptations of Claude Rank's 'La Route de Corinthe' and Albert Simonin's 'Max le Menteur' in France-Soir. He then spent a couple of years in the USA, where he assisted Frank Robbins on 'Johnny Hazard'. Back in France since 1967, he made short stories and editorial pages for magazines Pilote and Formule 1, sometimes using the pseudonym Esdé. He created the aviation series 'Yves Sainclair' with Claude Moliterni in Phénix, that was collected in two books by Dargaud in 1975 and 1976. In the same genre, Serres took over the artwork of 'Tanduy & Laverdure' comic by Jean-Michel Charlier, following the death of Jijé. He made an adaptation of Bernard Werber's 'Les Fourmis', about the life of ants, for L'Écho des Savanes in 1994, and created 'Le Bal des Abeilles', a book about bees, with Rémy Chauvin for Éditions du Goral in 2001. In 2007, he made 'Les Forçats de la Route', a comics chronicle of the Tour de France of 1924 through the eyes of journalist Albert Londres. Serres additionally worked as an deputy editor of Tintin magazine in the 1970s, and contributed to the revival of the title with serializations of popular comics like 'Blueberry' and 'Lucky Luke'. He was editor-in-chief of the satirical weekly Hara-Kiri between 1984 and 1991 and served as manager of Yu Pruductions. Besides print, Serres developed radio shows like 'La Radio à Roulettes' for France Musique in 1977, and Trésors Vivants for France Culture in 1978. He has worked as a producer for France Inter, Antenne 2, FR3 and Canal+ in the 1980s, and has designed stamps for La Poste from 2003. He is furthermore known to be a sinologist, following a trip to China during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. He has used his knowledge on the subject for his comic about the life of Qin Shi Huangdi, the first Chinese emperor.
The first pastoral civilisations punctuated the cycle of seasons according to the precession of the 12 moons, which ordered the beginning and end of their main agricultural tasks. Systematizing the division of time, these cultures were led to give an archetypical meaning to the first 12 natural numbers, which therefore got the exorbitant power of activating the main occult might: time. Numbers still keep nowadays this immemorial power active. A single sign written on a material support supposed to be solid became thus able to travel towards the future and keep readable in a new present time. This feature has already been operating during several millennia. It may keep running during a long time ahead, whatever happens, since its very users generate its genuine driving force. Embracing a large horizon of cultures from the Mediterranean area to China, we may follow the migrations and mutations of these 12 unique symbols and bring to light the shared origins of devices so different as Zodiac signs, calendars, time systems, measurements, alphabets and even video and strategy games. This archaic feature has shown a tremendous progeny revealing the implicit tracks of an invisible order, which still govern us today. Unknowingly, the mental organization of the people of our time remains largely liable to it.