Daniel Kötter

Shared Landscapes

site specific performance, 360° film

Begüm Erciyas / Daniel Kötter

contribution to

Shared landscapes

curated by Caroline Barneaud/Stefan Kaegi 

A journey of seven plays between fields and forests

With Chiara Bersani et Marco D’Agostin, El Conde de Torrefiel, Sofia Dias et Vítor Roriz, Begüm Erciyas et Daniel Kötter, Stefan Kaegi, Ari Benjamin Meyers, Émilie Rousset

The Turkish-Belgian artist Begüm Erciyas develops theatre formats that subvert the frontal black-box setting and allow the audience to make individual experiences in a collective context. Together with film maker and director Daniel Kötter, who was born in Germany, she uses military imaging procedures on head-mounted displays to communicate a strip of land as no-man’s-land to the audience in an individualized and, at the same time, collective situation. This work is affiliated with a series of VR-documentations by Daniel Kötter which explores the impact of mining and its local and global effects on landscapes and communities.

What if the landscape became a theatre? What if art did not represent the environment, but instead allowed us to experience it collectively? What is at stake today in our relationship with “nature” and its representations, as the climate and our resources prompt a new awareness of our fragility and interdependence?

"Why, then, did we choose to call this extraordinary theatrical project "Shared Landscapes"? Isn't a landscape just that: a pretty setting? A nature that needs the human eye to exist, a nature already made into a painting? Isn't this precisely the representation that ecological thinking is fighting against, trying to put man back in his place, not as an overhanging outsider, but as a stakeholder in the web of relationships that make up living things? Given Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne's long-standing commitment to the environment - at every level: production, theoretical reflection and aesthetics - this comes as a surprise.
But it's not until the third variation that we realize the wisdom of this choice. Positioned high up, like a general facing a battlefield, to read the text written by Begüm Erciyas and Daniel Kötter, landscape in the 21st century can no longer be read horizontally, in the manner of romantics blown away by beauty, but vertically, as a game of power, domination and destruction. Underground, the war for fossil fuels, which in the name of profit authorizes the exploitation of the Earth and its inhabitants. In space, the new military surveillance technologies that enslave and kill. Soon, equipped with a virtual reality headset, we'll be at the controls of a drone, seized by a nausea that's as physiological as it is existential. Suspended in the air, we realize that it's precisely because it never obscures the presence of man that the notion of landscape can lend a political dimension to this bucolic adventure. Without man, there is no one to blame for the ongoing catastrophe, no way out, no possibilities."