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Metamorphosen [overcoming mankind]
based on Ovid & accomplices


Can humanity still be saved? In an acceleration of hitherto undreamed of magnitude, the earth is inexorably heading toward its man-made demise. The Italian Futurists' unbridled optimism about progress at the beginning of the 20th century, with utopian concepts including the anthropogenic transformation of the world and the creation of a completely optimised human being, has now reached a dead end resulting from an ideology of excessive economic growth. Disaster scenarios that were considered impossible, as they were illustrated in the science fiction genre, have become our disturbing reality: climate catastrophes, the overexploitation of nature and the irreversible destruction of the ecological foundations of life that goes hand in hand with it, as well as the danger of the human species' demise through deadly viral infections. We've been living in the ruins of the Anthropocene for a while now. But must humanity be reaching the end of its days? Or is the Anthropocene just another stage in a continuous evolutionary metamorphosis? What comes after man? And what are our options for shaping a future society?

Relying heavily on Greek mythology, Ovid combined roughly 250 stories of metamorphosis into a poetic masterpiece about 2000 years ago, developing a historical cosmos about the development of humanity from its origins up to the present. Ovid describes the emergence of the world from chaos, the creation of man as the pride of creation in the Golden Age, and a great deluge as the human race’s swan song. As punishment for the human work of destruction on earth, Jupiter destroys the entire species and ushers in a new age undefined by anthropocentric reason. Whenever Ovid's heroes and human-like gods are in need or long for a utopian state, they overcome the biological-genetic boundaries of being human and transform into plants, animals, stones.

Following in Ovid's footsteps of thought, how can we think of the future in a way that’s not dystopian? How can an imaginary future be constructed that sharpens our perspective on the disrupted present, and tests out posthuman ways of existing and interspecies relationships within the ecological system? In a speculative thought experiment located between science fiction and science facts, using contemporary survival strategies from Dietmar Dath, Donna J. Haraway, Bruno Latour, James Lovelock and Stefano Mancuso as accomplices for Ovid's stories of metamorphoses, director Claudia Bauer and her ensemble search for stories about humanity outside the illusionary framework of “humans in their history”. As dark as the state of the world is, one thing is clear: The end of the Anthropocene does not necessarily mean the end of the world.

Director: Claudia Bauer
Stage design: Andreas Auerbach
Costumes: Patricia Talacko
Music: Hubert Wild
Video: Jan Isaak Voges
Dramaturgy: Daniel Richter

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