July 2015 collective member Alexandra Simpson went to Can Decreix, a community in Cebere France to research Degrowth, an environmental and social movement that challenges the collective growth imaginary and traditional development ideals. Degrowth does not means “less of” or “recession”, but rather it is an exploration of an alternative form of happiness found through community, collective experiences and respect for environmental rights. While there she conducted interviews, wrote daily journals, and took pictures of her experience. It was definitely inspirational and though she’d like to say “life-changing“, she cannot. While being there she came to realize the paradoxes that Western culture creates and lives within. She has realized how change is reliant upon both an individual and community led commitment and that one cannot exist without the other.
Terra Incognita Collective is a group of six artists who are creating an immersive documentary theatre piece that will explore the political and social dynamics relating to the environmental justice and in particular degrowth. The collective will use the interviews from Can Decreix, visual and auditory stimulus from degrowth’s critics/opponents, and the collective’s own complicity and obstacles while living in a growth oriented society.
Terra Incognita Collective sees that there is a need for new democratic practices within our political and artistic spheres. This is why we have chosen to use physical theatre (specifically mask) and site-specific work. The relationship a mask has with its audience, which is reciprocal in nature, can initiate a more active involvement from participants. Often in theatre and documentary audiences are passive voyeurs who when learning about a global injustice feel the weight of the issue only briefly after. The collective will aim to better understand how active audiences can result in active community members.