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Climate Crises and Theatre

General Programming, Climate Series

dateOctober 24, 2022 timeMonday, 6:00pm–7:30pm EDT location Buell Hall, Maison Française, Columbia University
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
  • Columbia Maison Française
email address [email protected]
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.
Headshot of Frédérique Aït-Touati

Climate Crises and Theatre
A lecture by Frédérique Aït-Touati on her work with Bruno Latour

Some of the most vivid questions posed by the ecological crisis are matters for playwrights and artists. Why is this? Because we have the greatest difficulty in collectively representing where we are, who we are, which protagonists are in conflict, and, above all, what role we should play in this adventure for which we were not prepared. As always in times of deep crisis, theater seems particularly suited to capture the ongoing climatic upheaval. What we are not able to think together, we have to stage in front of an audience.

Over the last twelve years, the philosopher and sociologist of science Bruno Latour and the scholar and theatre director Frédérique Aït-Touati have been experimenting with the anthropological, aesthetic and political consequences of entering the new climate regime. In this lecture, Frédérique Aït-Touati will present upon these stage experiments (especially the Terrestrial Trilogy, presented in the Crossing the Lines Festival in October 27-28) which borrow from theatre, the history of science, politics and anthropology, to test, each time, how these disciplines are able to absorb the shock of the new earth sciences.

Between philosophy and art, this talk will explore the hypothesis that the major cosmological upheaval that is sweeping us away cannot do without a new character, Earth, or Gaia, introduced onto the world stage.

Frédérique Aït-Touati is a theatre director and a historian of science. Her theatre production and books focus on the relationship between fiction and knowledge, ecology and politics. She has collaborated with Bruno Latour for ten years on theatrical ways to test new hypotheses, especially for questioning the irruption of the controversial new figure of Gaia. Her work has been presented in France and around the world (Nanterre-Amandiers, Théâtre de l’Odéon, Berliner Festspiele, The Kitchen in New York, Boca Festival in Portugal, Taipei Biennale, etc.) Her latest collaborative project with Bruno Latour, The Terrestrial Trilogy, A Performance in Three Parts: Inside, Moving Earths and Viral being performed on October 27 and 28 at the French Institute Alliance Française as part of their Crossing the Lines Festival.