Climate Crisis & Contemporary Culture: Anthropocene Theatre

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Alliance Française and the Goethe-Zentrum Atlanta are proud to present a powerful, three-part event featuring a round table debate and two live theatrical performances by Parisian theatre director and performer Duncan Evennou. The final event of their year-long programming on Climate Change and Contemporary Culture, this event, organized in partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the Georgia Tech, will feature a round-table debate and discussion and two live theatrical performances on the Georgia Tech campus on Thursday and Friday, December 2-3.

Duncan Evennou is a contemporary French performer and theatre director specializing in experimental, multi-media performance. A graduate of the École Nationale Supérieur d’Art Dramatique du Théâtre National de Bretagne, Evvenou completed a program in Political Arts Experimentation at the École des Sciences Politiques and has since focused on performances that combine drama, sociology and the visual arts in acts of creation, research and pedagogy. He has collaborated with the imminent philosopher Bruno Latour, who co-wrote the script for Moving Earths, being shown here in its U.S. premiere.

Both of the theatrical works presented in this double billing address the question of the Anthropocene – a term used to refer to our current geological era in which questions of climate, ecology and geology are defined by the presence and activities of human beings. While the term has yet to receive universal recognition, its use in academic debates and research has allowed disciplines as various as biology and climate science to literary and historical studies to focus on humankind’s effects on the planet.

Other participants in the project are Director-Performer, and co-author of Moving Earths, Frédérique Aït-Touati, who will participate via Zoom from Paris, and Clémence Hallé, a doctoral student at the École Normale Supérieure in the department of “Sciences, Arts, Creation, Research” whose research focuses on the aesthetic history of the Anthropocene.

Debate, Discussion and Round Table:

Duncan Evennou and Clémence Hallé and Frédérique Aït-Touati will conduct a round-table discussion and debate on the question of the Anthropocene. Place? Working with the French philosopher and sociologist Bruno Latour, their theater companies Zone critique (Frédérique Aït-Touati) and Lighthouse Compagny (Duncan Evennou) explore ecological and climatic issues with a creative and compelling sense of urgency. Shifting between philosophy and theatre, stage and science, their productions also mix medias and genres in a way that privileges direct communication. “We think it is well suited to the current period,” says Evennou, “in which changes in ideas about the world are accompanied by a change in representations of this world. It is this aesthetics of science on the stage that we have been pursuing together for more than ten years.”

Matters

Matters is a solo performance, in a polyphonic assemblage, gives shape and body to the archives of the Anthropocene Working Group’s inaugural meeting, held on Friday, October 17, 2014 at 9:00 am on the stage of the House of World Cultures in Berlin. The geological hypothesis,increasingly noisy in the art world, inscribes the consequences of human impacts on their environments into the depths of earth time.

With Matters, actor Duncan Evennou situates and transforms the historical, scientific and political voices of the members of the group, playing with their words in all their sensitivity, and moving from their narratives to their hesitations, silences or derision, and playing with the frictions of thought created by the presentation of science on the theater stage. Between the interstices of an increasingly disturbed performance the cracks of a dominant political discourse on the end of the world are exposed, powerless in the face of the representations of long and inhuman time that geologists invite us to imagine. It is only the end of a world: but can we hear others emerging from the hubbub of knowledge blurred by the urgency to act?

Moving Earths

In the words of creators Bruno Latour and Frédérique Aït-Touati:

“Where to land? Whereas, following Galileo’s discovery in 1610, we were forced to absorb the shock that “the earth moves,” in 2021 we have to accept the much more surprising shock that the earth trembles and reacts to human actions to the point of disrupting all our development projects. We invite the audience to test the hypothesis of a parallel between the era of the astronomical revolution and ours. Are we experiencing a world transformation as profound and radical as that of Galileo’s time? One thing is certain: we no longer know exactly what planet we live on, nor how to describe it. It is not a single, fixed and stable Earth, but a multitude of planets that lie before us, and which we must explore to find out which one to land on. Between philosophy and theatre, this production is a mix of genres: we think it is well suited to the current period, in which changes in ideas about the world are accompanied by changes in representations of that world. It is this aesthetics of science on the stage that we have been pursuing together for more than ten years.”

Details at a glance

Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, 11 am – 12:30 pm: Debate, Discussion and Round Table with Duncan Evennou, Frédérique Aït Touati, Clemence Hallé, Auditorium 152 in Kendeda Building

Thursday, Dec. 2, 5:00 pm: “Matters” Performance, DramaTech Theatre (Duncan Evennou) Buy Matters Tickets Now

Friday, Dec. 3, 5:00 pm: “Moving Earths” Performance, DramaTech Theatre (Duncan Evennou) Buy Moving Earths Tickets Now

This event is part of the Franco-German series “Climate Crisis & Contemporary Culture” which seeks to explore the diverse means by which we communicate on our current climate crisis while exchanging experiences and art. It is designed by French Alliance and Goethe Zentrum in Atlanta, Villa Albertine in Atlanta and School of Modern Languages of Georgia Tech, with the support of the Cultural services of the Embassy of France in the US, the Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in Atlanta, the Franco-German Cultural Fund, and DramaTech.