Saturation | Occurs when speech is pushed to a threshold or breaking point. Speech can be saturated by screams, emotion, information, or even silence. Saturation is a way of pushing past the established framework of speech, of disrupting or reinvigorating the flow of discourse.

Saturation is the process which brings the established framework of speech into play, by disrupting, disturbing, parodying, blurring, parasitizing, or refusing it. For example, when Daniel Balavoine hammers the one o’clock news hour with an intense, virtuosic, and relentless three-minute-long rant, he shakes up and calmly saturates the polished framework of televised news.

Involuntary effects

Saturation can be something a speaker is involuntarily subjected to, as in this case of stammering, or even extended by self-commentary about an ongoing collapse in this introduction to a conference. These examples are similar to comedian Pierre Repp’s form of saturation comedy.

Sometimes it is a friend, student, or peer’s tears that saturate the framework of speech; or, more commonly, it is the speaker’s laughter. Saturation is also caused by external events, mysterious ones in the case of television host Laure Cholewa, or non-events in the case of this cat refusing to cooperate. Tabloids have shown us what makes Jean-Luc Delarue so talkative, and we assume that this spectator is not just drinking water.

Dramatic confusion erupts when a simple complaint filed in a police station turns to effusion, when a cry for help turns to rage, when a column becomes a plea, or when a rainbow leads to ecstasy.

Through timbre and cadence, the very framework of enunciation can lead to saturation, as when Daniel Cohn-Bendit, choking up and speaking inconsistently, addresses a speech to the European Parliament on November 10, 2003 during the eight o’clock news hour on France 2.

A useful oratory tool

If this voicemail message is a case of saturation produced by a fantasized framework and set of constraints, the saturation imposed by such a framework is a necessary product of rendering action which takes place in real time, as in this horse race or soccer match.

When an activist occupies space reserved for dialogue during a live radio show, or when Marc-Olivier Fogiel interviews the rap group La Rumeur, they create situations saturated by ways of blocking speech through repetition. However, journalist Marc Kravetz turns a flaw into an art when he asks this question of dizzying proportions to writer Eduardo Manet.
In other cases, the speaker imposes both a certain content and framework to what is being said: games of accumulation in spoken-word performances by poets Anne-James Chaton, Charles Pennequin, speed contests in this “speed-debate,” hypnotizing lists in this sectarian litany, the focalization of people’s attention in this livestock auction.

The authority produced by stardom allows Francis Lalanne and Doc Gynéco to impose their saturating monologues to others. It is an absence of interlocution that allows for a controlled form of saturation to occupy speech in this excerpt of a rap beef posted on YouTube, saturation which is enhanced by interlaced registers of language in rapper Rohff’s case, or by mixing one’s native language and imagined dialects in this lecture by pastor Steve Foss.

Saturation also makes use of lack and emptiness, for example when Juliette Binoche plays with what an interview should be, reducing her answers to their shortest possible form, or when psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan highlights and dramatizes his speech with large instances of spacing.

  • 06 13 45 14 53

    Anne-James Chaton, excerpt of the performance Le Plasticien, 2008.

  • À feu et à sang

    Phone conversation between a manager and an employee, excerpt from the TV show, Cash Investigation, France Télévisions, 2017.

  • A Gesù Cristo direttamente

    Stefano Siviero, excerpt from a video posted on YouTube, 2014.

  • Allez on démarre

    Laurie Cholewa, excerpt of the TNT Show, Direct 8, 2008.

  • Amie was brave

    An account, excerpt of the film Grizzly Man by Werner Herzog, 2005.

  • Art is important

    Nicole Kidman, excerpt of her speech after receiving the Oscar for best actress, 2003.

  • Axtherastical

    Jaap Blonk, excerpt of the recording , 1993.

  • Bear stop that

    Scene from a hike, excerpt of a video posted on YouTube, 2015.

  • Blaze the light of ten thousands suns

    Ceremony by the Church Universal and Triumphant, excerpt of The Sounds of American Doomsday Cults, 1984.

  • C'est qui les porcs ?

    Marc-Olivier Fogiel, Hamé, Ekoué, Danièle Evenou, excerpt of the show On ne peut pas plaire à tout le monde, France 3, 2005.

  • C'est une terrible nouvelle

    Liane Foly, phone call during a television broadcast, 2018

  • Ce que nous défendons

    Interruption of the 8 o’clock news hour by the Group of Occasional and Precarious Workers, France 2, 2003.

  • Chokolomo chokolomo

    Pastor Steve Foss, excerpt of the video 1-55 Revival Explosion of Power, the 2000s.

  • Cinq minutes d'expression

    Geoffroy Didier, excerpt of a speech at the LGBT meeting for equality, 2012.

  • C’est du biberonnage

    Franco Dragone, excerpt from the documentary film Looking for Dragone by Manu Bonmariage, 2009

  • De toute urgence

    Message left on a voicemail by a banker, 2007.

  • Des trappes aux gens

    Klaus Kinski, Yves Mourousi, extrait de l'émission Télé Zèbre, Antenne 2, 1990.

  • Double Rainbow

    Guy "Bear" Vasquez, YouTube video, 2010.

  • È scoppiato tutto

    Radio exchange between police and the conductor of a derailed train, Italy, 2009.

  • Écoute mon grand

    Francis Lalanne, excerpt of the show Des Croissants dans l'acide, OuïFM, 2010.

  • Elles ont complètement fondues

    Excerpt of the show "Le Portugal face aux incendies", La Série Documentaire, France Culture, 2018.

  • Enkríthike apó tin pleiopsifía

    Zoé Konstantopoulou and Stelios Virvidakis, vote session at the Greek parliament, 2013.

  • Et comment ils sont cons

    Jean-Marc Lebihan, excerpt of a performance at the Aurillac Festival, 2013.

  • Everywhere is war

    Sinéad O’Connor, excerpt of the Bob Dylan 30th anniversary concert, 1992.

  • Faut rester zen M. Guaino !

    Henri Guaino and Jérôme Guedj, excerpt of the show La Voix est libre, France 3, 2012.

  • Fucking girls

    Excerpt of a Nirvana concert, 1989.

  • Fucking jump !

    Excerpt of the video “Yelling at cats,” posted on YouTube, 2006.

  • Golazo

    Excerpt of soccer commentary, the 2000s.

  • Help me shoot me

    Scene from a panicked airplane, YouTube video, 2009.

  • Here we go

    Cuba Gooding Jr., excerpt of his speech after receiving the Oscar for best supporting actor, 1997.

  • I gotta take this time

    Halle Berry, excerpt of her speech after receiving the Oscar for best actress, 2002.

  • I live for this

    Kristina Rose and Manuel Ferrara, excerpt of the film Kristina Rose Is Slutwoman, 2011.

  • I need an officer at my house

    Excerpt of emergency phone call archives, United States, the 2000s.

  • I was a young boy

    Mike Tyson, excerpt of the film Tyson by James Toback, 2008.

  • I yield my time, fuck you !

    Speech at an Los Angeles Police Departement video conference, 2020.

  • I'm afraid too

    Reaction video posted on YouTube, 2008.

  • I'm not a disgrace

    Scene from a family recorded on a phone, 2014.

  • I'm so sorry

    Philip Anselmo, excerpt of a message posted on YouTube, 2007.

  • If only this one is ours

    Danez Smith, public reading of his poem Dear White America, 2014.

  • Il va y avoir un grand silence

    Message sent to a Whatsapp group during the strike against pension reform, 2020.

  • Incroyable

    Excerpt from a soccer commentary, 2000s.

  • It's just too much

    Live commentary of a stock market crash, 2010.

  • J'ai Youyou

    Afida Turner, excerpt of the show Les Anges de la téléréalité, NRJ12, 2010.

  • J'espère vraiment qu'ça va s'arrêter

    Jérôme, excerpt from the show Radio Tisto, l’émission des jeunes de l’hôpital de jour d’Antony, Radio Libertaire, 2020.

  • Je me demande

    Writing workshop scene, excerpt from Le Papotin, directed by Alexandre Plank for L’Atelier Fiction, France Culture, 2017.

  • L'après-midi ça s'envole

    Natalie Sbaï, bulletin météo de la Radio Télévision Suisse, 2020.

  • La fête au pain d'épices

    Pierre Repp, excerpt of the comedy sketch “Les Crêpes,” 1960s.

  • La joie !

    Excerpt from an evangelist preaching, 2019. 

  • La langue de tous les jours

    Helena Janeczek, excerpt of the show La Grande table, France Culture, 2019.

  • La mort

    Jacques Lacan, excerpt of a conference held at the University of Louvain, 1972.

  • Lâcher les élastiques

    Jean-Luc Delarue, excerpt of an interview on RTL, 2009.

  • Leave Britney Alone

    Chris Crocker, excerpt of the video “Leave Britney alone,” posted on YouTube, 2007.

  • Les problèmes de la jeunesse

    Daniel Balavoine, François Mitterrand, excerpt of the Midi2 news hour, Antenne 2, 1980.

  • Libérez les animaux

    Stéphane Bern, Alexis Grüss, an activist, excerpt of the show Le Fou du roi, France Inter, 2008.

  • Mon livret de Caisse d'Épargne

    Scene from a police station, excerpt of the film Faits divers, Raymond Depardon, 1982.

  • Mon père

    Charles Pennequin, excerpt of a reading at the Centre Pompidou, 2000.

  • Mustapha Bakri

    Speech to the Egyptian Parliament, 2013.

  • My dear friend Ted

    Senator Robert Byrd, excerpt of a statement to the United States Senate, 2008.

  • Nessuno gioca

    Vittorio Sgarbi, speech at the School of Fine Arts of Carrara, 2010.

  • Nine seventy-five

    John Korrey, excerpt of an auction, excerpt from the DVD Chant of a Champion, 2007.

  • Oh my gosh I'm so excited

    Blair Fowley, excerpt of her juicystar07 video blog, 2010.

  • On est dans l'amour messieurs

    Doc Gynéco, excerpt of the YouTube video Doc Gynéco pète les plombs, 2000s.

  • On joue tous les ballons

    A rugby coach showing support before a game, 2008.

  • On va se détendre un peu

    Muriel Robin, Laurent Ruquier, Michel Polac, excerpt of the show On n'est pas couché, France 2, 2006.

  • On vit de trucs et de trocs

    Samir Hadj-Doudou, extrait de l’émission Le Téléphone sonne, France Inter, 2020.

  • Porque no me llaman

    Excerpt of a call to Telmex’s customer service, 2008.

  • Saloperie ta camionnette !

    Street scene, excerpt from a video posted on YouTube, 2014

  • Sauf sur un point

    Marc Kravetz, excerpt of the show Les Matins, France Culture, 2007.

  • Siete lo scandalo

    Post-match debrief by a football coach, YouTube, 2015.

  • Sneijder gol

    Excerpt of sports commentary on channel 7 Gold Telecity, 2010.

  • Soyons ensemble les derniers

    Hubert Wulfranc, reaction to the terrorist attack in the church of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, 2016. 

  • Speed debate

    Debate, semi-finals of the Samford Tournament, 2010.

  • Statistica !

    Scene from a classroom in Bulgaria, 2013.

  • Tchetyrnatsat let

    Excerpt of the verdict of the Khodorkovski-Lebedev trial, 2010.

  • This is about Bernanke

    Jim Cramer, excerpt of the show Mad Money, CNBC, 2007.

  • This tremendous magnitude

    Gwyneth Paltrow, excerpt of her speech after receiving the Oscar for best actress, 1999.

  • Tous ces vieux pointeurs

    Rohff, excerpt of the video “Rohff répond à ses détracteurs,” posted on YouTube, 2007.

  • Twenty-five

    Traders on the floor of the New York stock exchange, video posted on YouTube, 2008.

  • T’es qu’une merde

    Five messages left on the answering machine of Nicolas Rollet, 2008.

  • Un pays d'fous

    Excerpt of a phone call to customer service, 2003.

  • Une histoire de cul

    Françoise Lebrun, excerpt of the film La Maman et la putain by Jean Eustache, 1973.

  • Votke see koer ara

    Protests of a man forced to the ground by the police, YouTube video, 2014.

  • We call this a capitulation

    Excerpt of the online TV station, 2010.

  • Y’a pas de toit chez moi

    Intervention during a protest in Marseille, vidéo posted on Facebook, 2019.

  • Y’a trop d’émotion

    Rod Paradot, acceptance speech, Césars ceremony, 2016. 

  • Zum Beispiel Bündnerfleisch

    Hans Rudolf Merz, extrait d’un discours au Conseil fédéral suisse, 2010.

À feu et à sang

Phone conversation between a manager and an employee, excerpt from the TV show, Cash Investigation, France Télévisions, 2017.

C’est du biberonnage

Franco Dragone, excerpt from the documentary film Looking for Dragone by Manu Bonmariage, 2009