Temple du présent.

Solo for an octopus. Video installation.

By Stefan Kaegi

How can we understand an animal whose intelligence is radically different from our own? How can we create a relationship with nature without appropriating it? And who is watching whom? In “Temple du présent”, an octopus becomes the performance’s protagonist.
Eight arms, three hearts, a maximally flexible physique, a decentral nervous system, the ability to communicate via colour and texture – but above all, a great deal of curiosity and openness towards encounters with human beings. The octopus appears to be not just strange and interesting, but in fact interested in everything that occurs in and around its own habitatThe octopus often serves as a projection surface of human fears or is found as a monster that dwells in myths and adventure stories. It is a popular appetizer in Mediterranean cuisine and frequently used in experiments. In recent years, it has increasingly been sentimentalised as a mascot and oracle for football fans or as a symbol for multi-tasking.
“Temple du présent” in the theatre was an opportunity for spectators to experience quite a different encounter with an octopus. The octopus on stage came from a fish market in southern France and was destined to be eaten.
After a short serious of performances in Lausanne, the encounter turned into a film. 
The Play
Concept und direction: Stefan Kaegi
In collaboration with: one octopus, Judith Zagury and Nathalie Küttel (ShanjuLab)
Scientific consultation: Prof. Graziano Fiorito (Dept. of Biology and Marine Organisms, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Naples), Marcel Gyger
Dramaturgy:  Katja Hagedorn
Music: Stéphane Vecchione
Technics and equipment: Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne
Light: Pierre Nicolas Moulin
Video: Oliver Vuillamy
Producer: Anouk Luthier
Video-documentation: Bruno Deville and Bastien Genoux. 
Production: Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne, ShanjuLab Gimel (Laboratoire de recherche théâtrale sur la présence animale), République Éphémère *et Théâtre Saint-Gervais, Genève
Coproduction: Berliner Festspiele, Centre Pompidou – Paris, Rimini Apparat