GRIMAUD Emmanuel

Regional fields

India, South Asia

Thematic fields

anthropology of technology, kinetics of interaction, experimental apparatuses, cinema, archaeology, robotics, traffic


micro-movement, interaction, kinetics, gesture, machines, art and science, creative industries, design processes, low-tech/hi-tech

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Automaton, India, 2009
(photo E. Grimaud)

Emmanuel Grimaud joined the CNRS in 2003, having completed his doctoral thesis in 2001 under the direction of Charles Malamoud. He specialises in the observation of kinetics in actuality, through subjects as diverse as the gestures used by filmmakers on their sets, the recognition effects of human doubles, techniques for identifying traces on excavation sites, driving in intersections without traffic lights, beetle fighting and fish fighting (with Stéphane Rennesson), the movement of religious automata on ritual platforms in India, and even that of humanoid robots (with Zaven Paré). His most recent field study (with Thierry Coduys) concerns the movement of merchandise and the flow of couriers in Bombay, involving the use of GPS trackers and mounted cameras. In terms of methodology, his research makes use of novel experimental apparatuses with a view to developing the foundations of a “kinetic” anthropology of interaction. His work uses rigorous methods of closely observing actions in progress, particularly studying the role of micro-movements in interaction.

He regularly teaches at Sciences-Po and at the Musée du quai Branly. He is a member of the editorial board of the journals Gradhiva and Ateliers d’anthropologie. He was awarded the Le Dissez de Penanrun prize by the Académie des sciences morales et politiques in 2004, and received the bronze medal from the CNRS in 2011.

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Intersection without traffic lights, Bombay, 2010
(photo E. Grimaud)

After working as and assistant director for an Indian filmmaker, Emmanuel Grimaud published the first ethnology of Bombay film studios (Bollywood Film Studio, CNRS Éditions, 2004). Subsequent publications dealt with special effects, studio machinery, film stand-ins and political doubles (Le sosie de Gandhi, CNRS Éditions, 2007), the Indian religious automata and robotised god industry (Dieux et Robots, L’Archange Minotaure, 2008), then the biography of a humanoid robot made in the image of its designer (Geminoïd le Robot. Expériences et conversations, to be published).

He has directed several films, including Le sosie de Gandhi (60’, 2001), Cosmic City (51’, 2008) and les Rois du Khwaang (with Stéphane Rennesson, 60’, 2009). He has also created several installations for exhibitions: “L’invasion de Bombay par les robots”, Centre d’Art contemporain, Enghien-Les-Bains, 2007 ; “Kaleidoscope”, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, 2011; “Cinema Rasa”, Museum of Ethnography, Geneva, 2011, and “Tracks”, Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Bombay, 2012.

Recent publications

  • 2012 (with D. Vidal), Robots étrangement humains [special issue], Gradhiva, NS 15.
  • 2011 (with Z. Paré), Le jour où les robots mangeront des pommes: conversations avec un geminoïd (Paris, Éd. Pétra) [Anthropologiques].
  • 2011 eds (with V. Stoichita and G. Jones), Virtuosité ou les sublimes aventures de la technique [special issue], Ateliers d’anthropologie, 35 http://ateliers.revues.org/8763.
  • 2010, Johar et Mehmood in Bollywood. Chronique d’un film indien inachevé (Lyon, Asiexpo) [bilingual].
  • 2008, Dieux et Robots. Les théâtres d’automates divins de Bombay +DVD (Paris, L’Archange Minotaure).
  • 2007, Le sosie de Gandhi ou l’incroyable histoire de Ram Dayal Srivastava (Paris, CNRS Éditions).
  • 2007 (withT. Takahashi), Robo-garage (Paris, Isthme Éditions) [bilingual french / english].
  • 2006 (with D. Vidal and S. Houdart), Effets spéciaux et artifices [special issue], Terrain, 46.
  • 2004, Bollywood film studio (Paris, CNRS Éditions).


Publications available at the Éric-de-Dampierre library

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Mis à jour le 16 January 2014

Chargé de recherche, CNRS
[Associate Research Professor CNRS]