How can we understand an animal to which we attribute a form of intelligence radically different from our own? How can we establish a relationship with non-humans that does not involve appropriation? Who observes whom?
Temple du présent – Solo for octopus is a singular joint adventure, an attempt at a relationship and mutual observation between animal and human. Stefan Kaegi with Judith Zagury and Nathalie Küttel imagine a theatrical aquarium to stage an octopus, that gifted, curious and playful animal. With its eight arms, nine brains, three hearts and a decentralized nervous system, the octopus is capable of multiple actions or of changing color radically. Above all, it has a great curiosity, especially towards humans. In this performance, the observer may not be the one we expected. In this exceptional performance, the octopus is the expert and the protagonist. The animal changes from the object of observation into its subject, and its gaze casts a fundamental question over the human being. The octopus comes from a fish market in southern France, where it was destined to be eaten. The performance was presented live over a short period of time. What rests is a film that we invite you to watch with us during the festival, accompanied by an after talk with the artists.
Stefan Kaegi creates documentary theatre plays, audio-interventions, curated formats and works in the urban environment in a diverse variety of collaborative partnerships. Using research, public auditions and conceptual processes, he often gives voice to ‘experts’ who are not trained actors but have something to tell. Most of his works are released under the label Rimini Protokoll – name of the Berlin-based theatre collective he founded together with Helgard Haug and Daniel Wetzel. Together they are moving away from a direct representation of reality and are trying instead to depict it in all its facets and from unexpected perspectives.
ShanjuLab is a theatre company, school and venue based in Gimel where animals and humans have been working and living together for years under the direction of Judith Zagury. At ShanjuLab, Zagury has created a theatrical research laboratory on animal presence, a real center of artistic creation and knowledge on the human-animal relationship. She studied equine ethology at the University of Rennes, and in 2014 she obtained her certificate of advanced studies in dramaturgy and text performance at the University of Lausanne. Her final dissertation subject was on animal ethics.
Nathalie Küttel began her professional acting studies with classes at the Conservatoire de Genève, before completing a three-year course at the Ecole de Théâtre des Teintureries in Lausanne. As the daughter of a taxidermist, she grew up surrounded by stuffed animals, peering into dead bodies and trying to figure out how they had worked when they were still alive. In 2015, Nathalie began working with Professor Fiorito at the Stazione Zoologica in Naples, studying the neurobiology, behavior, and learning processes of octopuses.
Concept und direction: Stefan Kaegi
In collaboration with: Judith Zagury and Nathalie Küttel (ShanjuLab)
Film: Bruno Deville, Bastien Genoux
Scientific consultation: Prof. Graziano Fiorito, Marcel Gyger
Dramaturgy: Katja Hagedorn
Music: Stéphane Vecchione
Production: Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne, ShanjuLab Gimel, République Éphémère, Théâtre Saint-Gervais
Coproduction: Berliner Festpiele, Rimini Apparat GbR, Centre Pompidou
Photo: Philippe Weissbrodt
Visit in collaboration: Cultural Center Caisa