Eliane Beaufils

Published On


Page Range

pp. 353–377


  • English

13. Staging Larger Scales and Deep Entanglements

The Choice of Immersion in Four Ecological Performances

  • Eliane Beaufils (author)
This chapter discusses three performances that try to confront spectators with large biological scales despite the limited configuration of cultural venues. All three build up new stages, mostly outside theatres: After A Life Ahead is installed by Pierre Huyghe in a disused ice rink, Exote is conceived by Kris Verdonck as a kind of vivarium for animals, plants and spectators, and Tobias Rausch’ Planttheatre The World Without Us takes place in the middle of a park. These stage reconfigurations promote a spatial displacement, and raise the awareness of scales that are still more suggested than embodied. The experience of biological presence is deepened by the perception of entangled human and non-human processes. Indeed, these plants or places are products of historical evolutions, biological dissemination, human journeys. Moreover, they give signs of possible outcomes and further cultural-climatic evolutions. The experiment of intertwined processes and the impossibility of grasping all the biological and temporal scales go hand in hand with a sensation of mismatching or the feeling of being overwhelmed. These apparatuses may thus give rise to a critical thought nourished by sensitive immersion and speculative confrontation. This leads the author to ask whether these aesthetic experiences could pave the way towards a new relational and ontological manner of thinking. Indeed, the audience's deeply situated reception enables the spectators to develop a ‘sense of wonder’ and the theatre to become ‘diplomatic’.


Eliane Beaufils