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The tiger eats the zebra and the bird, alarmed, takes off

Benjamin Verdonck, season presentation 2019-2020

we are living in an epoch in which human beings
have a particular influence on
the atmosphere, the lithosphere, the biosphere, the cryosphere,
the oceans and so forth
it is not for nothing that we call it the Anthropocene
the epoch in which human beings are the measure and centre of everything

at the same time, we are gradually beginning to realize
that we, the animals and the things around us
are part of an ultra-complex and fragile system
that, once brought out of balance, will make our existence here on earth
extremely difficult, if not impossible

we also know
although it is hard to comprehend
that our existence as such
is hardly of any significance
in a universe
that looks like it will keep expanding
for a few more light-years

how do I give a proper place to the people, the animals and the things around me
how do I offer them the right to exist, the opportunity to have a say,
how do I show them respect
and how does this relation fit within a greater whole

to find that out
I am planning to make
a big planetarium out of tape, wire and cardboard
in which not only stars and planets will fly by
but also a few objects and animals
and who knows, maybe even a real human being

because it used to be possible to distinguish
the activities of human beings
from the rest
without much difficulty
just like in theatre
where you can forget about
the building and the wings
in order to concentrate on the intrigue

but nowadays the set, the wings,
the back stage, the fly tower, the entire building
has climbed onto the stage and is contesting
the actor’s leading role.

we are gradually realizing
that we cannot go on like this
but then how?
because taking a different road
within the bounds of our present system
invariably means
going backwards
and we will not garner much enthusiasm
with the prospect of less

maybe
we should no longer think about progress
but something like prosperity

to be or not to be
that is the question
is it nobler to suffer under everything that cruel fate hurls at you
or to take up arms against a sea of woes
and put an end to it by fighting

a big magic box

in it
an opening dance
a human being an animal an object
side by side
an animal an object
an object a human being an animal
side by side
a last waltz

a room, another room
a tunnel, a narrow vista, a hole
a door
a door too, of course
hatches that open and shut, colours that glide by,
surfaces that disappear
and strings, always strings

becoming a shape, a line, a point, a colour
becoming change,
hesitating, halting, starting over
becoming smaller
always becoming smaller
becoming everything

the show is called
the tiger eats the zebra and the bird, alarmed, takes off

the show will be a sad song
about human beings next to objects next to animals
and everything all around them
although the moon and the great bear
(which also play a role)
will remain quite indifferent to it all

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