IN EXTREMIS TAKES PLACE :
Around town, from the supermarket to the Dentist’s Office, but also on the radio and even in your living room . . .
In 2019, when we were putting together the edition of the In Extremis festival called « Hospitality, » we were exploring the question of art as a form of hospitality. Today, in the midst of a world-wide pandemic during which the notion of hospitality has become impossible to imagine, the question has taken an unexpected turn - and the festival a new direction.
In Extremis / Hospitality foresaw a future which has become our daily way of life : what does « hosting » a show mean ? : To create for and along with an audience ? How can we continue to invite artists from outside our borders whose unexpected and unsettling work metaphorically and literally nourishes our local character while continuing to open our doors to works from abroad ?
From May 12 to 30, 2021, The Garonne theatre has imagined a festival that is literally « without borders »: while theatres like borders have remained closed, artists from
France, Australia, Spain or the United States are offering you the most unlikely encounters with unknown artists could well be your neighbors, and in the most unexpected places - from guided tours of your local supermarket to guided visits of your living room along with a real desert crossing. And who knows ? Perhaps you will discover that your dentist is really a good guy . . .
There are as many different ways to cross new and familiar artistic territories as there are invitations to get together at last, after so many months of social distancing. As many warm environments where you can share with others again, at a time when staying at home is mandated.
In 2021 more than ever before, In Extremis extends its warmest welcome to everyone. Welcome.
The 2021 Edition of In Extremis / Hospitality will continue in 2022 with an edition called « Face to Face » which will take place within the theater as well as at different locations throughout the city. Both of these editions have been imagined and executed with the help of Itzik Giuli, Artistic Associate for the event.
Imagination is a form of hospitality which allows us to whet our appetite for alterity in these present times.
In this spring of 2021, after more than a year filled with restrictions and epidemic highs and endemic lows, and at a time when the country is more or less locked down again, the word « hospitality » sounds like a bitter sweet pipedream, in the best possible way, and a frankly abstract concept in the worst way given that it is impossible for us to host foreign artists either within our borders, in our cultural establishments or in our homes.
As a result, « our appetite for alterity » will probably never have been as keen, nor has our need to be with others beyond ourselves, our family or social unit been more acute.
This is an established fact - and it’s actually rather reassuring : We miss the unknown.
In Extremis Hospitality (from May 12 to 30, 2021) is our response to this appetite, even though it can never be completely satisfied.
We would like to offer our audiences/ listeners/and participants as many (rare) opportunities to welcome the unfamiliar which has been cruelly missing from the present time. A stranger on the other end of the line (A Phone Call), Antipodes in your living room (Private Spaces), or the anonymous crowd of people that frequent your supermarket which you are invited to visit (an audioguide like the ones in museums, except that they are closed). . .
Also, because alterity requires geographic distancing that the current situation barely allows we have asked artists from multiple locations to participate in this festival : Toulouse welcomes New York, Tel Aviv, Melbourne, Barcelona and even… Toulouse !
Finally, because imagination is the only form of hospitality allowed at present, several artistic projects presented in May 2021 are kinds of “fantasy machines” which will all be given final productions – in particular during Extremis /Hospitality 2, which will take place in various locations around the city in 2022.
> Private Spaces, programmed with the TheâtredelaCité and Le Vent des Signes, is part of a series of shows entitled Public Actions, that may be presented during the 2022 Biennale.
> Empty stages is a photography exhibit in 3 parts :
City-wide billboard posters and a box of post cards (published by Groupe Reprint) in May, and a gallery exhibition. This last part will be the subject of an exhibit held in Théâtre Garonne’s underground space as part of the September Spring Festival.
> The Jewish Hour, winner of the Impatience 21 prize, is created for In Extremis in a radiophonic version by Yuval Rozman with isdaT and Radio Radio, followed by its staged version at the Théâtre Sorano next November, at the end of the Supernova festival.
> After A Phone Call, the two people who spoke to each other and pictured each other and no doubt dreamt about each other during their simple telephone conversation, will be invited to meet each other (in person) and discover each other on the theater’s stage during In Extremis 2022, when Part Two of the show (An Encounter) will be shown.
> Lenio Kaklea, Franco-Greek choreographer, will be in residency at Garonne to begin work on a new show which will be seen in In Extremis 2022, in collaboration with the citizens of Toulouse.
Voilà! In this spring of 2021, nothing suggests that cultural venues will be allowed to open their doors. On the other hand, every indication suggests that if imagination is indeed a form of hospitality, it remains possible (and all the more necessary) to keep this door wide open to the unexpected. As the saying goes in a region far from us, and therefore unreachable except in our dreams: “it’s better to have one unexpected guest than two expected ones.”
Empty Stages is a long term photographic project that started long before the pandemic began, documenting empty stages in a variety of contexts, theatres, as well as pubs, conference centers, and parish halls since 2003. Through these temporarily deserted locations, the work explores stages as spaces of imminence and expectation inviting the viewer to imagine the different kinds of events that might have taken place there. For In Extremis / Hospitality and since museums are still closed, Tim Etchells and the Garonne Theatre have imagined an exhibition for the citizens of Toulouse . Throughout the city, a selection of images exposed on some forty billboards which have been given to us temporarially for this event. It’s a way for these closed theatres to become visible again, and for the ghosts of shows they can no longer present to find an audience at least in their dreams.
Plan of the Images to be seen on the dedicated page, here.
Etchells, founder of the Forced Entertainment Collective, has presented Spectacular (2008), That Night Follows Day (2010), In Pieces (2010) and The Thrill of it All (2012), The Quiet Volume with Ant Hampton (2013) and The Notebook (2019).
What is your definition of hospitality ?
I think about it in terms of extending welcome and support to others, specifically in relation to home. But you have a plural hospitalities which I like - there are many ways to extend welcome. And home in this case can mean more than ’the place one lives’ - I’d think of it being about extending welcome to others in any context where one feels at home or where one has place.
What is the most representative of hospitality for you? Why ?
When myself and the other artists in Forced Entertainment were young we sometimes asked more established performance makers for advice. I guess we mostly asked stupid questions - we were kids, just out of studying, we didnt know how anything worked. There were a small number of folks that connected to us - they answered questions, were happy to advise. More than the content of what anyone told us it was the act of hospitality that made a difference - the opening of a door, the feeling of possibility. When younger artists speak with us now I try to remember this. The idea of supporting people to take a seat at the table, or to enter the room, to be heard is important to me.
As an artist, what does it mean to participate to this festival with this specific thematic ?
I am really happy to present work in relation to this topic right now. Europe drifts further to the right, and the UK specifically has become uglier, or more proud of its ugliness - xenophobia, racism, class division. To work on hospitality now is to speak of other possibilities and a better world.
In a different sense, because of Covid of course we’re unable to welcome others, or to travel. But the idea of welcoming, and being welcomed, remains very strong.
Tim Etchells, April 2021. Interview by Pauline Lattaque
Masks which were already a bit dubious before the pandemic have become ordinary accessories allowing behaviors that we thought were unacceptable before : disguising ones mouth, ones nose, in a word half of ones face : thereby changing the very nature of our relationships and perceptions. Based on these observations, CaboSanRoque has created a piece that takes place in the middle of the last socially authorized space the supermarket. So, are you ready to travel around your supermarket in a way you’ve never done it before ? Download the audioguide on our Internet Site, pick up your phone, your mask, a shopping cart, plug in your head phones .. and the show will start for you.
They have already presented two plays at the Garonne Theater: Demons and La cobla patafìsica
Guided by a voice on the phone giving them instructions, questions, prompts, and physical directives, two people who have never met before, discover each other, imagine each other, and fantasize about each other, while creating a series of performances for each other. Created in New York last January and adapted for Toulouse, A THOUSAND WAYS explores this fascinating uneasiness between strangeness and kinship, distance and proximity and demonstrates the degree to which even the smallest community of audience members can easily invent moments of unexpected intimacy.
Since 2009, 600 HIGHWAYMEN (Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone) have been creating live theater that, through a variety of radical approches, exposes the poignante inherence of people when they gather together. Their work is part theatre, part dance, and part contemporay performance and civic encounter.
600 HIGHWAYMEN has been called « the standard-bearers of contemporary theater- making, by Le Monde, and « one of New York’s best non-traditional theater companies, » by the New Yorker. They won the Obie Award, Switzerland’s ZKB Prize, and were nominated twice for the Bessie Awards.
What is your definition of hospitality ?
Hospitality is the desire to make people feel welcome and part of it all.
What is the most representative of hospitality for you? Why ?
A hospitable person asks questions and holds the door, but most important, gives space for others to be themselves.
As an artist, what does it mean to participate to this festival with this specific thematic ?
A Thousand Ways is an invitation we've tucked into a bottle, and set out to sea. Someone we will never meet (or many someones) will receive it. It is a proposition of hope.
Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone, April 2021. Interview by Pauline Lattaque
What if we could safely invite a stranger into our private world ? imagine a chat with them on Zoom. You in your living room. Luke George in his, in Melbourne, on the other side of the planet. No words, no faces, no audience. Just the two of you, for thirty minutes, sharing a short ritual which only belongs to the two of you.
Luke George has created this participative performance especially for Toulouse in order to explore with you the ways in which each one of you has staged their private life from the beginning of this pandemic while imagining the lives of others, especially strangers. After several months of confinement in our homes, far from each other, how can we rethink the spaces in which we live, how can we inhabit them and share them ? How can we be together again ?
Luke George creates new performances and visual works which call for daring and sometimes unorthodox methods to explore the dynamics of intimacy and collectivity, by creating « safe spaces » that allow for self care and risk. Luke’s relationship to positions of alterity is informed by queer politics. His artistic practice espouses an intersectional approach, through which people are neither unique nor isolated : Different bodies can run into each other, practice listening to each other and take responsability for themselves and others.
He presented Erotic Dance at Garonne in 2017 and Bunny (in 2019, as part of the Biennale at the ThéâtredelaCité.
My experience of hospitality as mainly been as a traveler when I am untethered from the safety of my own, unfamiliarity of my own culture, home, community and place and in another place that is quite unfamiliar to me. I’ve had moments of feeling very invited in, either into somebody’s home or somebody’s business but also into invite somebody’s experience of how they experience their life, how they experience their day and even fleeting moments. Quite often with stranger.
One experience I remember really vividly, I was in China and I was in a mountain, in very specific retreat, to study and research, we were doing a hike one day and we came across a teahouse and this is very rural in China, there was hardly anybody around.
We came across this teahouse, and the women who ran the business really want just us to come in, but she was like “Can you just wait? Wait for a moment.” And some other guests were leaving and there was something strange about the situation, I couldn’t work out what it was and also English wasn’t spoken very much. I have a friend who translating for me.
Eventually we went into the teahouse and we met with the women who was sad. People were speaking and enjoying company and talking about things. I don’t really know what things they were talking about, but it didn’t really matter.
And the whole time that we were talking, the women was making tea for us and she made the first batch of tea, and poured us all some tea, and we drank the tea in a small batch and then she put it out. She didn’t finish serving the first batch of tea, she put it out, she started again.
And I was watching this whole thing, I didn’t mandarin what was being spoken, I didn’t really know what was happening, but I turned to my friend and “What’s happening right now?” Like something… “I don’t understand why she is pouring out the tea?” Like something was changing about the situation and she was making a new batch of tea and my friend asked her like “why are you making some new tea?” and she said “Oh, the first batch was bad, there was bad energy in the first patch”.
And she seems so much more, and I was kind of, waiting of listening, and she made another batch of tea and put it and we were drinking, and I turned to my friend, I said “there is something else going on here, like, could you ask her more about the bad energy in the tea”. He asked her and she turned to me “Mh, are you an artist? This is your translation, but I can see you’re picking up something here”. And she talked about the act of making tea, specific to daoist practice and philosophy.
And she explained that people who were leaving, the guest just before us, had an argument with her, they were unhappy with something about their experience of her business and there was a tension between them. And as they left, the tension was still with her, and when she made the tea for us, that tension went into the tea. With her it was about timing and temperature, or the science of it, or with her it’s about the feeling of it.
But the relationship, that was happening between us through the tea, it was not good, so she wanted to ?? and start a new patch. And through that act of making tea and spending time with us, and talking with us, she said that tension gradually disappeared and now there was a new relationship being formed between us.
And so, the tea was good, and this batch was good. And we stay for a very long time and had a lot of patch of tea. And I was really drawn to the very simple act of making tea with people and there was something relational, there was something happening between us, an invitation, an opening up and a looking into, a leaning into.
And that a very point of experience of hospitality for me. And I experience, I feel it very patently because I feel that sometimes, I have strong boundaries and particularly after this last year of being in lockdown for almost a whole year in 2020 in Melbourne and being inside by myself, not seeing anybody. Those boundaries became very thick and even now, we are very lucky in Melbourne to be opening up, after spending a year in lockdown, we’re very thankful for it, even now we are learning how to be with people again and even now I found very hard to invite somebody into my home and to make tea with them and it’s a difficult, very slow unpicking and unpacking of those boundaries.
I also think in Australia, like the effects, the long term-effects of what colonial culture, of perhaps being on land that we haven’t properly gone through a process, of what it means for non-indigenous people to be here, I think that kind of carrying that guilt, you know, throughout our culture. It makes us close our bodies even more, protect us our spaces even more. I think it’s quite unspoken and unsaid, but I do notice that, you know, on the surface. I think Australian, white Australian culture is welcome and hospitable, social and casual, and relaxed, but actually our fences enquire are quite delineated, our walls, and our doors, and the fences our property, our land, are quite high. And we really protect those bases and in a big way so, I am always grateful for lessons from people in how to open up more.
I find this invitation, to respond to such a specific thematic, quite interesting, because it’s very unusual, usually, I don’t usually work in this way.
And yeah, it’s provoking me a little, to look at myself, and to look at this current situation, and throughout last year, deep lock down, I had some very, really specific moments with friends and colleagues, on videocalls where something quite spontaneously happened when we just decided to not talk, but to just be with each other, across a videocall. And to just go about how lives with each other, why we are in videocall, like cooking a meal or making some tea or watering my plants, and something very intimate happens there where we could let down the code of meeting to communicate, in certain kind of way and inviting each other into our lives, and into our homes, something maybe, just like the tea change, that energy change between us, the thing between change, between us. It was very meaningful for me, it helped me a lot.
So, that has informed what my artistic responses to this thematic, and what I liked to do and share for InExtremis this year with Public Actions : Private Spaces Projects.
It’s good tea.
Interview by Pauline Lattaque, translated by Alexandra Geraci
Yuval Rozman, winner of the prestigious Impatience prize for The Jewish Hour, has created a radio phonic version of his show, broadcast live on the radio waves of Radio Radio at isdaT. This fake broadcast of Netanya, animee by a journalist and her technician brother, features numerous guests such as a certain BHL who is off his rocker, probes the depths of Judaism in the 21st century . This nutty comedy disguised as a radio talk-show examines the nature of Jewish identity and takes a pointed and subtle look at this people from whom Yuval Rozman is descended. The full play will be presented at the Théâtre Sorano next Fall at the end of the Supernova festival.
Direct broadcast on Radio Radio 106.8 FM
In partnership with isdT – Institut supérieur des arts in Toulouse, and the théâtre Sorano
How do you define hospitality?
I’m going to read a quote that I found interesting from a book by Vinciane Despret, Habiter en oiseau. It is not a quote from her but from Patrick Boucheron : “Imagination is a form of hospitality which allows us to whet our appetite for alterity”. I think that the word alterity is superimporant in terms of hospitality.
What represents hospitality for you?? Why?
I think it’s my dog. Maybe that’s bizarre and I don’t need to explain, but well…He’s the happiest person in the world and the most delighted when I come home. I feel that I’m home - I find that a bit pathetic - where we are as long as he’s there.
As an artist, what meaning does it have for you to be part of this festival whose theme is hospitality?
As an artist, I don’t know, but it’s with The Jewish Hour that is linked closely to the question of hospitality.
I’m going to tell you a little story. In fact I am Israeli and I haven’t been in France for very long, eight years or so … What you don’t know is that each time an Israeli or someone from my family in Israel or my family in the United States, learns that you live in France, the first question that an Israeli or an American Jew asks you is : So,
What are the French anti-Semites like? Antisemitism. That’s the first thing. It’s not croissants, the Eiffel Tower, Gérard Despardieu or Juliette Binoche, it’s France and Antisemitism, exactly, at least in Israel. And every time, I answer: “No, in fact I‘m part of the cultural milieu. I am a theater director. I hear the question of anti-Semitism but I’ve never experienced it personally….
Voilà. up until when I wrote this play.
One day, I was behind where I live and I found myself in the middle of a demonstration in the memory of Mireille Knoll, assassinated in 2018, at the Père Lachaise cemetery. It was a Saturday between République and Nation in Paris. This was supposed to be a silent demonstration against this anti-Semitic crime. There was a mixture of demonstrators, really the opposite of hospitality : politicians, placards, Mélenchon, Le Pen, whatever, a lot of pro-Israelis, anti-Israelis, anti-semites, anti-Jews, etc a whole mixture. It was just what I needed to begin writing this play, to talk about this subject in a much more open, far less political way. That’s what is going to allow us to enter into the complexity of several Israeli-Palestinian layers and to speak of this love, this passion as well as this missing piece that I feel towards my homeland, along with a critical sense, and anger, at times.
So voilà, I am happy to be performing here. Au revoir. Ciao!
Yuval Rozman, April 2021. Interview by Pauline Lattaque, transcribed by Alexandra Geraci
Arnaud Romet invites you to take it easy … at the Dentist’s office. ! You heard it, the dentist‘s office ! it’s actually possible (the office address, in the middle of town, will be sent to you once you’ve reserved your ticket). Once you’re seated in a comfortable chair that maybe you never knew was comfortable, you are invited to experience an unusual soundscape, - live - a sort of « opera of the mouth. » After he collected the many different sounds coming out of the dentist’s office, Arnaud Romet composed an electroaccoustic dental soundscape which will allow you to discover the harmony of these instruments that are ordinarily quite threatening.
Arnaud Romet, electroacoustic composer, film producer, theater director and cofounder of Cie iatus.
Discover Arnaud Romet : http://arnaud.romet.free.fr/
What is your de finition of hospitality ?
Host/ welcoming guest/ reef story / running intimacy/ oppress treasure / spring
What does hospitality represent the most for you ?
Warmth, food, comfort, lallations, sighs, first….
The place where you take a breath, where breathing becomes safe and slows down little by little as it welcomes the strangeness of the beyond
A hospice in the best auspices
A good party meal after the escape
As an artist, what does it mean to you to be a part of this festival whose theme is « hospitality » ?
With my Sweet Tooth project, I invite the listener/stranger into a somewhat frightening universe, the universe of the dentist which is a universe of caretaking, in which a lot of attention is paid to the other, care is managed, a welcome, …a vestibular… singular … polite molar tenderness…
In preparation for my composition, I designed a little grotto, a cave as a place where sounds are weak and whisper together, where intimacy is gathered and curls up together in the shape of a reversed and receptive tooth
Hospitality moments of tension level – 100 the base throbs as the pulse slows down. Harmony, tenderness and sometimes love, become soft and sweet « for tomorrow hand held out from the distant mandible. » Between hospitality and hostililty there’s only « pa »
Interview with Arnaud Romet, by Pauline Lattaque, April 2021
A series of 7 episodes, 10 minutes each, make up a work of art half way between video art and fiction with characters.
Rodrigo Garcia needed to propose an artistic reaction to the situation we’re all going through because he is a man of the theater of crisis. Therefore he has created a theatrical series of 7 episodes, 10 minutes each, broadcast on the Internet. What is the principle ? The guest artists (Denis Lavant, Angelica Lidell, Florencia Vecino, Volmir Cordeiro) receive a virtual production kit at their homes – green screen background, lighting, tri-pod for their cell phones ; they record themselves following Rodrigo Garcia’s instructions : then send the results to the editor and the musician who will work on the sound… To be discovered together (but without the children) on Vimeo starting with the month of May…
Teaser Take a look at this project : https://vimeo.com/531349702
Character Sketch by Rodrigo Garcia : here
He presented the following shows at the théâtre Garonne : Versus (in 2009), Mort et reincarnation en cow-boy (2011), C’est comme ca et me faites pas chier (in 2011) Golgota picnic (in 2011), Et balancez mes cendres sur Mickey (2015), 4 (in 2016, (in 2017).
What is your definition of hospitality ?
Hospitality is a social gesture, distainful and false like others. You open your doors to someone because you are expecting to take advantage of that person. Generally, you open the doors of your heart to someone for sexual or economic reasons. We offer hospitality to the people we want to fuck or those whose money we want to steal once they have learned to trust us.
What represents the most hospitality to you ?
Obscurity. This is why I am not hospitable.
Interview with Rodrigo Garcia, by Pauline Lattaque, April 2021.
Dancer, choreographer and writer, born in Athens and based in Paris, Lenio Kakleas is in residency at Garonne with her polymorphic project, Encyclopédie pratique. Working with Anais Barras, young visual artist, she is here to research visible and invisible practices and investigate intimacy as political and social space. From her results, she will produce a performance for In Extremis 2022, which will be an extraordinary speed dating event in which the citizens of Toulouse can share a number of practices and knowledge, ranging from running races to making love … In other words, every aspect of identity.
Discover Lenio’s work on her website : here
What is your definition of hospitality?
Provide a shelter and share privileges. Accept that all is temporary.
What represents hospitality the most for you?
The picture of an empty plate when it should be full.
As an artist, what meaning does it have for you to be a part of this festival?
It makes me think of art as an exchange.
Interview of Lenio Laklea by Pauline Lattaque, April 2021