Meet Noeémie Huttner-Koros as she talks about how and where she gets her inspiration from, and read more about her residency project here at PICA.
You are currently working on a new project here at PICA, called “The Trouble Makers”. Could you tell us a little bit more about this project and how it came about?
I’ve been involved in climate activism in various capacities since I was 13 years old and I was thinking a lot about how that involvement has shaped me and my life and the lives of my peers, how young people have never known a world or atmosphere without climate extremes/climate chaos/ecological crisis. And then I was reading Donna Harraway’s incredible book Staying With The Trouble: Making Kin In the Chthulucene which totally challenged my ideas around this epoch we live in that scientists are calling the Anthropocene (that human beings have altered all the earth’s systems to such a huge extent that we have entered a new geological epoch). So I started thinking about the role of artists and theatre in responding to this. How can we find hope? How do we build community? How can we enter a performance experience as individuals and leave feeling more like a community?
So The Trouble Makers is a performance dinner party where we plot alternative systems for being and living staying with each other (all kinds of beings, human and non-human) through all this trouble. It’s a participatory theatre show cross stand-up comedy night cross party. We get to sing and dance and hopefully come out feeling like we are a little less alone, entangled in a myriad of living systems, beings, interactions and critters.
As a multidisciplinary artist, which aspects of your practice will be emphasised in this work?
The Trouble Makers is a solo theatre show, as in there is just me performing and writing. But there are lots of brains and bodies that have contributed and are a part of this process. The work draws on a lot of theatre-making skills I learnt at WAAPA when I was studying performance-making under the wonderful Frances Barbe and Tamara Cook. Also a workshop I did with amazing performance artist Ursula Martinez who was in Perth earlier this year for Perth Festival. In my practice I’m quite interested in activating the relationship between performer and audience and this is definitely a big part of The Trouble Makers.
Your show deals with topics surrounding climate change, based on research you have undertaken. You also mentioned a few books that you’ve been reading during your residency. What are some examples that you could give us (maybe give us the part/s that has/have inspired you)?
Sure! There’s heaps!! Definitely Donna Harraway’s work that I mentioned above.
Here’s an awesome bit from the beginning of the book: “Trouble is an interesting word. It derives from a 13th-century French verb meaning ‘to stir’, ‘to make cloudy’, ‘to disturb’. We – all of us on Terra – live in interesting times, mixed-up times, troubling and turbid times. The task is to become capable, with each other in all of our bumptious kinds, of response. Mixed-up times are overflowing with both pain and joy – with vastly unjust patterns of pain and joy, with unnecessary killing of ongoingness but also with necessary resurgence. The last is to make kin in lines of inventive connection as a practice of learning to live and die well with each other in a thick present. Our task is to make trouble, to stir up potent response to devastating events, as well as to settle troubled waters and rebuild quiet places. In urgent times, many of us are tempted to address trouble in terms of making an imagined future safe, of stopping something from happening that looms in the future, of clearing away the present and the past in order to make futures for coming generations. Staying with the trouble does not require such a relationship to times called the future. In fact, staying with trouble requires learning to be truly present, not as a vanishing pivot between awful or edenic pasts and apocalyptic or salvific futures, but as mortal critters entwined in myriad unfinished configurations of places, times, matters, meanings” But also theorists like Timothy Morton have been super helpful – an amazing anthropologist called Eduardo Kohn whose book How Forests Think: Towards an Anthropology Beyond the Human is really mind-blowing. Naomi Klein’s book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, Mary Zournazi’s book Hope: new philosophies for change ❤ The work of dramaturg Ruth Little; she has written this sort of pocket manual for thinking about performance in terms of non-linear living systems: https://www.dramaturgy.co.uk/dramaturgy-papers-ruth-little it’s called ‘Dynamic Structure and Living Systems’.
And of course, I have just been so totally inspired by the epic work of the School climate strikers all over the world!! As well as the Australian Youth climate coalition and the Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network!
Collaboration seems to be at the core of your practice. For this show, you are collaborating with theatre maker, performer, designer, and director Tim Green and with choreographer, performer and dramaturg Joshua Pether. How did this work, in particular, become a collaborative one?
When I realised that the core of the work was about community and hope-building I knew I needed more people in the room! They both offer really great insights from different fields – Josh’s dance background is challenging me to think about dramaturgy and structure in new and exciting ways. Tim is a really interesting visual thinker, so what will the world of the performance look like? How is an invitation to participate extended to the audience?
You will be doing a showing of “The Trouble Makers” as part of your Open Studio here at PICA. What can people expect of this very first presentation?
Yes! I’ll be doing a work-in-progress showing on the 28 September. People can expect to enter a dinner party unlike one they have maybe ever been and to have a bit of a boogie –> “If I can’t dance I don’t want to be a part of your revolution.” Emma Goldman