Bruno Latour and Company to Tackle Climate Change in GAIA GLOBAL CIRCUS at The Kitchen This Fall

By: Aug. 25, 2014

The Kitchen and the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism are pleased to present the U.S. premiere of Gaïa Global Circus, a one-of-a-kind theatrical experiment that explores society's ambivalence toward mankind's greatest threat: global warming.

The French philosopher, anthropologist and sociologist Bruno Latour conceived the project with Frédérique Aït-Touati and Chloé Latour. Pierre Daubigny wrote the play, the companies Compagnie AccenT and Soif Compagnie produced it, and Claire Astruc, Luigi Cerri, Jade Collinet and Matthieu Protin perform it.

Gaïa Global Circus premiered at dOCUMENTA 13 in September, 2012. The play is performed in English and is the centerpiece of a series of events, including a public lecture and Q&A with The New Yorker writer and professor Nicholas Lemann on September 22, presented by the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, with assistance from Alliance (Columbia University, École Polytechnique, Sciences Po, and Panthéon-Sorbonne University), the Center for Science and Society, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Maison Française at Columbia University.

Performances of Gaïa Global Circus will take place September 24 & 25 at 8pm at The Kitchen (512 West 19th Street, Manhattan). Tickets, $15 ($12 students, seniors), are available online at or by phone at 212.255.5793 x11. Running time is 80 minutes with no intermission. Critics are welcome as of the first performance, which also serves as opening night.

In creating Gaïa Global Circus, Latour and his collaborators were inspired by a paradox: although we are confronted with global warming and the prospect of mankind's end, we feel almost nothing. When scientific language is no longer capable of containing the full effect of climate change, how can we forge a new form of speech that allows us to grapple with our dilemma?

Although Latour spends most of his career lecturing, Gaïa Global Circus is not didactic. In fact, he concluded that scientific language is insufficient, and that only theater can help us understand our self-made predicament. Gaïa Global Circus puts forth a tapestry of scenes interweaving familiar and mythological characters-Gaïa, Noah and the ark, etc.-as they wrestle with this vast and inconceivable ecological question. The work is by turns poignant and humorous, combining Greek tragedy, philosophical wrestling, Jacques Lecoq-style theatrics and more.

The creative team includes Olivier Vallet of Compagnie les Rémouleurs (sets, machines), Elsa Blin (costumes), Olivier Vallet & Benoît Aubry (lighting), and Laurent Sellier (music).

The U.S. premiere of Gaïa Global Circus is co-presented by The Kitchen and the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, with assistance from Alliance (Columbia University, École Polytechnique, Sciences Po, and Panthéon-Sorbonne University).

Auxiliary Events

Gaia Intrudes: a Public Lecture by Bruno Latour at Columbia University
Lecture to be followed by a conversation with New Yorker contributor, Prof. Nicholas Lemann of Columbia Journalism School.
Monday, September 22 at 5:30pm
On the Furnald Lawn, In Front of Pulitzer Hall
Gaia Intrudes is a public lecture by anthropologist and sociologist Bruno Latour. The lecture will be held outdoors on Furnald Lawn, located outside of Pulitzer Hall at Columbia University, 2950 Broadway (between W 115th and 116th streets).

About the Artists

Bruno Latour (philosopher)
Bruno Latour is a sociologist, anthropologist and philosopher. Winner of the prestigious Holberg Prize his research centers on political ecology, ethnography and the politics of knowledge. From 1982 to 2006, he was professor at the Centre for Sociology of Innovation at Mines ParisTech. He has also served as visiting professor at UCSD, the London School of Economics and Harvard University. His interest in the intersection between in the arts, sciences and digital humanities led to museum exhibitions, Iconoclash (2002) and Making Things Public (2005), producing debate and participation around themes of public knowledge. Now a professor at Sciences Po in Paris, he was responsible for founding, along with colleague Valerie Pihet, the experimental program: Master of Experimentation in Arts and Politics (SPEAP). Publications include: We Have Never Been Modern (1991), Aramis, or the Love of Technology (1992) and The Making of Law (2002). Latour's engagement with environmental issues and climate change led to Politics of Nature (1999), in which he investigates how to bring democracy into science. His most recent book, Inquiry into Modes of Existence (2012), extends this debate into the field of "creative metaphysics." In 2014 he was awarded a European Research Council (ERC) grant to pursue an inquiry into modes of existence over the course of three years. His interest in how his research can intersect with the arts led to Gaia Global Circus, a performance project that premiered in France in 2013.

Pierre Daubigny (author)
Ecole Normale Supérieure alumni and letters associate, Pierre Daubigny is a writer, director and teacher. He teaches at ENSATT and leads theater workshops in English at Sciences Po. He works with theater group LA gALERIE (Attempts on Her Life, 2011) and the collective Le Foyer (Soldier's Tale, 2012), with the company Nagananda (When I Was Five I Killed Myself, 2012) and more closely with the company AccenT (Waiting for Godot, 2011). He directed the baroque musical ensemble Les Monts du Reuil in the opera The Two Hunters and the Milk Lady (2012) and in 2012 wrote a piece for them about Dante for a narrator, an opera singer and four musicians. Publications include 36 Questions on the Light (2007)co-authored with FE Valentin.

Chloe Latour (director)
After a classical education at the Conservatory of Dramatic Art Nadia Boulanger, Chloe Latour studied composition and directing at the International Theatre School Jacques Lecoq (Paris) where she studied playwriting with Michel Azama. In the United States, her encounter with Anne Bogart (SITI Co., NY) taught her new tools of composition and training. Co-director of Soif Company, she directed for the company The Red Shoes, Penthesilea by H.V.Kleist, Portrait of a woman by M.Vinaver, The Incredible Story of Mrs. Humbug (2011, a piece for young audiences ) and Shell (created 2013). She has also staged eight operas for the opera company Appel d'Airs: Rita or the battered husband of Donizetti, The Apothecary of Haydn, Kiki de Montparnasse by A.Manucci (World Premiere), Abu Hassan of K.Weber, The Missed Education of E.Chabrier, The Tragedy of Carmen, Bizet's Doctor Miracle, and The Island of the Seven Sisters of E. Fein (World Premiere).

Frédérique Aït-Touati (director)
Theatre director and researcher, Frédérique Aït-Touati's work focuses on the intersection between theater and the history of science. He is a long-time collaborator of Bruno Latour and visual artist Elsa Blin. After graduating from the Ecole Normale Supérieure she studied at the ADC Theater in Cambridge in 2001. In 2004 she founded her own company, AccenT, which performs on both sides of the Channel, in English and in French. Theater credits include: Racine's Phedre, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, Lands- cape by Harold Pinter, She is here by Nathalie Sarraute, The Debate Tarde / Durkheimby and with Bruno Latour, Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. Publications include Fictions of the Cosmos: Science and Literature in the Seventeenth Century (Chicago UP, 2011), which highlights the importance of fiction (theater, images and novels) in our representation of the world and Tales of the Moon, An Essay on the Modern Science Fiction (Gallimard, 2011). After six years as a fellow in Oxford, she now works in Paris at the CNRS and Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers.

Matthieu Protin (Performer)
Matthieu Protin trained at the drama school of the Lucernaire and at the Sudden Theatre Workshop. He then studied Commedia Dell'Arte with Stéphane Mir. A writer also, he has acted in his own plays, Le Cri du Lapin and La Mort en sus, and in classical works including Sophocles' Oedipus Rex (dir. Miquel Oliu Barton), Shakespeare's Measure for Measure (dir. Bela Grushka), Corneille's Rodogune (dir. Hervé Charton) and Beckett's Waiting for Godot (dir. Frédérique Aït-Touati). He has also performed in contemporary rewritings of classic plays such as Comme dans un rêve de Molière by Les Uns Visibles and Histoire(s) de Roméo et Juliette, after Shakespeare, by Carole Rivière. He directed Songe d'une nuit de Formal for the Players Theatre of Montréal (Canada) and teaches theatre studies at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University and at the ESAD (Superior School of Dramatic Art of Paris).

Luigi Cerri (Performer)
Originally from Rome, Italy, Luigi Cerri is a Paris based actor, writer and director. He received his primary training at The International School of Theatre Jacques Lecoq and has since studied with Nadine George and Julia Sloman. Writing and directing credits include: Légère variation en sous-sol, Blé et Fer, and Romulus & Remus, a solo performance (in French and in English). Performance credits include: Penthésilée, by H. von Kleist, Carapace, by Chloé Latour, Scènes de la vie conjugale, by I. Bergman (Soif Compagnie); Crime et Châtiment, by Dostoïevski, La petite Catherine de Heilbronn, and La marquise d'O, by H. von Kleist (Compagnie Libre d'Esprit) ; Les Bacchantes by Euripide (Compagnie Les Ménades). In opera he directed Opéra de Poche's production of Moro, an opera inspired by the captivity of the Italian politician Aldo Moro - music by Andrea Mannucci, libretto by Marco Ongaro. In 2013 with the same company he directed Mozart's Don Giovanni. His one-man adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello is currently being performed at international theater festivals in Armenia, South Korea, Russia and Italy. Cerri also has a Ph.D. In Economics.

Jade Collinet (Performer)
Jade Collinet graduated from the Ecole Supérieure d'Art Dramatique de la Ville de Paris, where she studied clowning and mime with Jean-Claude Cotillard. She furthered her training with several years of writing and performing original commedia dell'arte scenarii within the company La Strada dell'Arte. Since 2009, she has been working with directors Laurent Gutmann (Le Cerceau by Victor Slavkin, Le Petit Poucet), Gloria Paris (The Lovers by Goldoni), Francis Freyburger (Sad Lisa by Sabine Tamisier) and Philippe Lanton (War in times of love by Jeton Neziraj). She also works closely with companies Dawa (Apparemment Pas, Le Bonheur, Histoire de Roméo et Juliette...), Illico Echo (Les pieds dans le plat!) and Collectif Les Naïves (Cendrillon ou Les Pompes Funèbres). Recent acting credits include the part of Karine in Fassbinder's play The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, directed by Yann Dacosta, in 2013. Commissioned by the company Illico Echo, she is currently writing her first play, Noé 2.0, a project for a young audience that raises awareness on food-processing issues in France.

Claire Astruc (Performer)
French actress Claire Astruc was trained in physical theater at the Jacques Lecoq International Theatre School (Paris, France) and at the New York University Experimental Theatre Wing (NYU). Meeting Anne Bogart and SITI Companyand studying Suzuki and Viewpointswas a decisive moment in her training and career. Since then, she has continued to conduct personal research on expressive movement while directing physical theater shows in a yearly partnership with the University of Paris-Ouest Nanterre. She has organized several international workshops with SITI Company in Paris at Micadansesstudios. She is a founding member of Soif Compagnie, with which she has performed in numerous creations including Chute libre, Les Souliers rouges, Penthesilée by Kleist, L'Incroyable histoire de Mme Berlingot, Carapace, Gaïa Global Circus, and Scenes from a Marriage by Ingmar Bergman. She has also been a performer with Compagnie la Carotte(street theater and theater folk stories) and Compagnie de l'Alambic(dance theater). Trained in the Feldenkraïsmethod, which emphasizes awareness through movement, she regularly teaches and coordinates Creative Body workshops and leads physical training for other artists.

About The Brown Institute - David and Helen Gurley Brown believed that magic happens when innovative technology is combined with great content and talented people are given the opportunity to explore their visions of the future. Established in 2012 as a partnership between Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and Stanford University's School of Engineering, the Brown Institute sponsors thinking, building and speculating on how stories are discovered and told in a networked, digitized world. The Institute annually awards fellowships, grants and scholarships, and is helping design a series of public events and novel educational experiences in digital storytelling. For more information visit:

About The Kitchen - The Kitchen is one of New York City's most forward-looking nonprofit spaces, showing innovative work by emerging and established artists across disciplines. Our programs range from dance, music, performance, and theater to video, film, and art, in addition to literary events, artists' talks, and lecture series. Since its inception in 1971, The Kitchen has been a powerful force in shaping the cultural landscape of this country, and has helped launch the careers of many artists who have gone on to worldwide prominence. Facebook: Twitter: Instagram:

RELATED STORIES - Off-Off-Broadway

Comedian Rachael Burke Pens JOLLY AF Holiday Sketch Comedy Spectacular Photo
Comedian Rachael Burke Pens JOLLY AF Holiday Sketch Comedy Spectacular

BroadwayWorld presents 'JOLLY AF: A Holiday Sketch Comedy Spectacular' - a hilarious and twisted holiday show featuring top comedic talent. Get ready for a modern-day Carol Burnett Show with a bizarro twist that will leave you in tears of laughter. Don't miss this instant classic on December 3, 2023.

Theatre For Young Audiences/USA Announces 2024 TYA/USA NATIONAL FESTIVAL & CONFER Photo
Theatre For Young Audiences/USA Announces 2024 TYA/USA NATIONAL FESTIVAL & CONFERENCE Hosted By AllIance Theatre

Theatre for Young Audiences USA (TYA/USA), the national organization that provides advocacy and resources to the field of Theatre for Young Audiences, in collaboration with The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, will present the 2024 TYA/USA National Festival & Conference: POSSIBILITY on March 13-15, 2024.

Applause New York to Present MEAN GIRLS in December Photo
Applause New York to Present MEAN GIRLS in December

Tickets now available for the Applause New York production of MEAN GIRLS. Show dates on December 15th and 16th at The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater. Directed by Jimmy Larkin. Don't miss it!

Cast Set for CHLOE SAVES CHRISTMAS at The Tank Photo
Cast Set for CHLOE SAVES CHRISTMAS at The Tank

Experience the magic and hilarity of Chloe Saves Christmas, a SantaCon-inspired comedy at The Tank. Directed by Bryan Songy and starring Amanda Wilson, Gavin Cranmer, and more.

More Hot Stories For You


Awake in the Dark in Off-Off-Broadway Awake in the Dark
First Unitarian Congregational Society Brooklyn (12/14-12/15)Tracker
POLYMATH: La Comédie de la Mort in Off-Off-Broadway POLYMATH: La Comédie de la Mort
the cell (3/15-3/16)Tracker
Picking Up Speed in Off-Off-Broadway Picking Up Speed
Royal Family Performing Arts (12/06-12/11)Tracker PHOTOS
Mario the Maker Magician in Off-Off-Broadway Mario the Maker Magician
SoHo Playhouse (11/04-12/30)Tracker PHOTOS VIDEOS
Witchland in Off-Off-Broadway Witchland
Chain Theatre (4/05-4/14)Tracker PHOTOS
The Museum of Modern Art Presents Modern Matinees: In Celebration of Adrienne Mancia in Off-Off-Broadway The Museum of Modern Art Presents Modern Matinees: In Celebration of Adrienne Mancia
The Museum of Modern Art (11/01-12/22)
SoHo Playhouse (12/10-12/10)
Cantatas, Yesterday and Today in Off-Off-Broadway Cantatas, Yesterday and Today
St. Mary’s Church (12/07-12/07)
Stabat Mater in Off-Off-Broadway Stabat Mater
St. Ignatius of Antioch (3/08-3/08)
Don't tell Mama (10/31-12/10)

Recommended For You