Guillaume Béguin: “We artificially removed ourselves from nature”
From December 6 to 16, Guillaume Beguin presents his new creations pregnant nights In the Open Theater. He agreed to answer our questions.
Tell me about the roots of this creation and specifically the connection to Vidy-Lausanne
Since 2015, almost all my works have been created and accompanied by Vidy. Vincent Baudriller and his team are as dedicated producers as they ask.
My work revolves around the boundaries of man and his friction with other forms of existence. I have become very interested in human evolution, how we represent ourselves as individuals or groups, and how the exercise of our imagination affects our societies. For example, Öpüş and Dişlek (2013) discussed the emergence of expressive language in a group of apes and its impact on their sensitivity, bonds, and behavior. I wrote several such “pieces of poetry” on the set, and at some point I felt the need to write at a desk and make a “real work” with a specific structure, a specific time. and defined human characters who express themselves in real human language.
I build each of my projects with a way of working that is the opposite of what I adopted to create the previous one. Ultimately, Pregnant Nights isn’t as classic as I first imagined. This is a piece he “talks a lot about”. But maybe you don’t need to listen to everything rationally. There are themes or motifs that should move with the music as well.
Your piece evokes the different relationships we can have with the earth, what is yours?
I don’t quite know how to answer this question. I have a hard time imagining the Earth as an organism or entity that I can encounter and maintain a relationship with. Let’s say I’m part of it (and sometimes it lives in my imagination). I am addicted to it. I’m a little ten.
You present the night as a space-time of gestation, the ephemeral emergence of new imaginations, but isn’t that also re-appropriation? (I am thinking here of Jacques Rancière and his work La nuit des prolétaires. This book describes the lives of workers who decide to prioritize the work of thought over restorative sleep at night. Le rêve éveillé is the freedom of the workers in the whole of this order of time which first establishes the social order. rupture, confirmation of the denied right to the quality of thinking.
To me the events, dreams, and actions of the night have no meaning until they reveal the intensity or beauty of what happens in the darkness of the day. Sometimes at night I am intensely happy, strong, excited or in love, but one day I start living a somewhat dull and flat life again intermittently. Troubled night. I don’t know myself anymore. Sometimes the day erases what happened during the night, which in this case was just a parenthesis. But sometimes the dawn reveals a profound metamorphosis that we don’t feel is already complete, incurable, and working. Some nights are powerfully transformative because we become less aware of what is happening and surrender to it without resistance.
The ambition of your piece is the need to come down to earth and become earthy again, relearning to adapt to the world. These are the terms that reflect the thoughts of Bruno Latour and all the ZAD supporters of Bruno Latour and his entourage (Vincian Despret, Baptiste Morizot, Isabelle Stengers, etc.) similar to your piece. How do you relate to this “Philosophy of the Anthropocene” when writing and directing?
The writing of Pregnant Nights has indeed been interrupted by reading their texts, as well as those of the Australian philosophers Val Plumhood and Glenn Albrecht, or even the ecofeminist Starhawk.
Like many people, I am deeply concerned about the climate crisis we are experiencing and the indifference of politicians. I’m crazy. By eliminating plastic bags in supermarkets and buying an electric bicycle to make certain journeys, we will not solve the big challenge at hand: keeping global warming within non-catastrophic limits. . The dominant discourse is completely irresponsible and guilty. We prefer small individual gestures, small symbolic and harmless refusals, trying to make people feel guilty who eat meat or get on a plane. The question is not there. We need a strong slowdown in the production of consumer goods. You must slow down and land.
The climate crisis also highlights the crisis of human identity. We have artificially removed ourselves from nature. We opposed it. However, as the Zadists said to the police who attacked them, “you are also nature.” Yes, we are nature.
I had a lot of fun finding characters and inventing situations that expressed these thoughts and concerns. I was inspired by all these writings, these observations, these books, and the personalities of the actresses and actors who had to play them. I mixed it all up in my head and was blown away by how this piece happened. However, the process was very long, as long as an elephant’s pregnancy (almost two years).
Ultimately, is it better to actively dream of changing society, or to describe reality with clear but dim visions?
Of course, a dialectic must be found between the two. But my work expresses the irreconcilable opposition between those who want to dream and remove themselves from the real world, and those who claim to be strongly attached to reality and only want to accept ultra-pragmatic solutions to save the Earth. . Climate disaster creates a lot of suffering, and we know that suffering does not lead to action and often produces sterile dreams. Of course, other means must be found to register and imagine oneself in the world. We are at a dead end at the moment.
Still, there are reasons to be happy. Heroes pregnant nights experience strong sincere (though sometimes ridiculous) desires to love yourself, love the Earth, and renew your presence in the world. There is great power and promise in this momentum.
Visual: © Mathilda Olmi