REACCLIMATING THE STAGE (SKENOMORPHOSES)
Artistic Research Doctoral project 2015-2020
Tutke/Performing Arts Research Centre, Theatre Academy, UNIARTS Helsinki
The Reacclimating the Stage (Skenomorphoses) artistic research doctoral project examines the actual transformations of the (notion of) stage, and therefore of scenic practices, in the face of climatic and anthropo-technological mutations of the 21st century. Through the art, the research looks into scenic thinking, time ecology, and queer-ed temporalities of the transforming (notion of) stage. The research is anchored in and executed through my practice as a metteur-en-scène and fuelled by my doubts concerning what I perceive as a fundamental anthropocentrism embedded in the very mechanism of theatre, impossible in a time when human activity poses a profound biospheric and algorithmic impact on the environment. The artworks thus operate within the research framework as experiments on the following questions: How to re -design/-direct/-perform/-imagine a stage on the brink of environmental collapse and in the age of an algorithm-conditioned society based on the consideration that human-centered scenic forms, scales, and perspectives do not seem to enable a sustainable commons that include other-than-human beings? How to re-consider and give dramaturgical and performative hospitality to those other-than-human entities (plants, animals, minerals, meteorological phenomena, but also computational, algorithmic, artificial ones) as our contemporary stage co-(f)actors? How to review and ecologically renegotiate the human aesthetic control of the stage taking into consideration other-than-human temporalities? What can deepening and retemporizing the stage be? What is at stake, at work, and at play when shifting from directing to redirecting? What kind of stage forms after the internalized dramaturgies of the postdramatic, in this radical movement towards the techno-eco-dramaturgies of a hyperdramatic theater?
Supervision / Direction de la recherche: Esa Kirkkopelto, philosopher, performing artist, researcher and Professor of Artistic Research at the Performing Arts Research Centre, Uniarts Helsinki (supervision period: 2015 – 2019) & Mika Elo, visual artist, researcher and Professor of Artistic Research at the Fine Arts Academy, Uniarts Helsinki (2016 – 2020)
Supported by / Soutien à la recherche: CIMO Fellowships Programme (2015-2016), KONE Foundation (2016 – 2020)
DATA OCEAN THEATRE (D.O.T.); OF WAVES, CLOUDS, AND STAGES
Post-Doctoral Artistic Research Project (2020 – 2022)
Based on the claim of the unsustainability of fundamental anthropocentrism (considered as toxically) embedded in the very mechanisms of western theatre, and its associated dramaturgy and strategy of erosion of the separation between an exclusive human stage and a denied non-human backstage, the postdoctoral project expands my doctoral artistic research experimentations on how the notion and the practice of the “stage” evolve through contemporary climate-morphing and techno-ecological conditioning. It pushes the doctoral research further by considering the transformations of my scenic practice as a theatre director from an environmental perspective that takes in, as a double milieu and a double condition, the biospheric mutations and the agential expansion of automation. While probing the theatrical qualities and quantities of the expanding tech-environments, the research is looking at how the so-called artificial growth potentially meets the (hyper)dramatic biospheric changes of the planet Earth, and especially the alarming rising of seas and oceans, one of the most perceptible sign of climate emergency. In this sense, and building on my doctorate, which drew, from the perspective of redirecting and reacclimating the stage, on theoretical resources such as Actor-Network-Theory, Posthumanism, Ecodramaturgy, Landscape-Theatre or Techno-Eco-feminism, the postdoctoral research poetically pursues the research from the double metaphor of the ocean and of the matrix, and the sub-metaphors of the wave and the cloud. In this direction, the project explores inherited seas-and-oceans oriented imaginaries, architectures, and scenographies of western theatre, simultaneously revisiting a series of theatre plays with a marine backdrop* and looking at the metaphorical use of nautical vocabulary, sea imagery, and meteorological analogies as a dramatic illustration of computational realities (surf, flow, flood, explorer, navigation, storm, contamination….). By setting experiments addressing the tentative notion of environmentartificial intelligence, the research seeks to contribute to change intrahuman-extrahuman political ecologies, by regenerating haliocentric imaginaries from a new temporal ecology of the stage. The project is an invitation to linger with the question of how the very infrastructures of “theatre-making”, might shake, possibly collapse, then transition and reform within such heterogeneous agential and potentially tragic dynamic, made of the forces, and the correspondent fragilities, of the transforming marine ecosystems and the growing algorithm-conditioned life.
* LIST OF THE REFERENCE PLAYS: Philoctetes, SOPHOCLES, 409 BC / Iphigenia in Aulis, EURIPIDES, 405 BC / The Tempest, William SHAKESPEARE, 1610 / Phèdre, Jean RACINE, 1677 / Slave Island, Pierre de MARIVAUX a.k.a. MARIVAUX, 1725 / The Lady from the Sea, Henrik IBSEN, 1888/ The Satin Sleeper, Paul CLAUDEL, 1929 / Embers, Samuel BECKETT, 1957 / The Sea, Edward BOND, 1973 / L’Eden Cinéma, Marguerite DURAS, 1977