Donna Haraway inspires Marta Cuscunà’s Earthbound

Photograph of the performer Marta Cuscunà sitting on the ground with her puppets
Marta Cuscunà, performer
The Earthbound project

A slender girl, super awarded performer, actress: performer Marta Cuscunà from Monfalcone, a place of shipyards and death from asbestos, as the artist points out in the first lines of her website. It is a new project, |Earthbound| that is the stories of the Camille, chosen from over one thousand two hundred projects arrived at the European Commission. This is the I-portunus call, aimed at promoting collaboration and mobility in Europe between artists from different countries. So that, the partnership between Emilia Romagna Theater, CSS Stable Theater of Innovation of Friuli Venezia Giulia, the São Luiz Theater of Lisbon and some Italian and Portuguese artists including João Rapaz (an artist interested in special effects for cinema) happened.


Donna Haraway inspired

Earthbound is inspired by the essay by the American philosopher Donna Haraway, entitled Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, Duke University Press, 2016, published in Italian by Nero with the title Chthulucene. Surviving on an infected planet. Haraway is a scholar and theorist of hybridization and symbiosis between science, technology, and biology. She is the author of the cyborg Manifesto which talks about “monsters”, man / machine hybrids, breaking the dualism between man and nature and questioning the dominance of humanity. Haraway’s cyborgs are born from the study of subjects minimized by the domination of others. Cuscunà will stage the sci-fi response which seems more likely with respect to our times of global changes originating from leaps of species and animals almost unknown in Europe.

Alliances between genders

Marta Cuscunà’s attention is to her new important ecofeminist project according to Haraway’s schemes, for which equal relations between genders will lead to equality among all, even with the planet Gaia. Hierarchies being banned, Haraway imagines that one of the solutions for the survival of our species is to create alliances with other species. Thus, the extinction of mankind will be avoided thanks to the adaptation and the mix of human genes and different genes.

From Haraway’s cyborg Manifesto, in which women’s themes are combined with the biopolitics of the body, and with contemporary biology, the body can be interpreted as a set of different species.

Photograph of a puppet that Marta Cuscunà will bring to the stage, a hybrid between animal and man, under construction in the laboratory.
Symbiote under construction

Here the Symbiotes that Cuscunà will bring on the stage. They are “animatronic” (sic) creatures, inanimate, hyper-realistic, created with techniques typical of the special effects used in the cinema, but manually animated by Marta Cuscunà.

They are hybrids between animals in danger of extinction (pangolins, bats) inspired by the works of Patricia Piccinini, an artist hosted at the 2003 Venice Biennale of Art as a representative of Australia. The artist is interested in biotechnology and talks with Haraway on issues of reproduction in the laboratories of synthetic and symbiotic life forms. Marta will make the creatures come alive, which seem to move on their own, even though the operator is always present and visible on stage.


The live show

The show will be held on January 28, 2021 at the Bonci Theater in Cesena, and then, in February, at the Palamostra Theatre in Udine.

In order to help the tour Cuscunà assumes that the puppets must be durable, solid but light. This requires very advanced technical components, technopolymers for the precision complements inside the puppets.

The future is perhaps closer than we think: the infected planet is the one we live on. The future must therefore be rethought, with new variables. Science fiction can help us look for ways we are not used to by showing us that no species acts alone. However, they all contribute to create a new and more balanced social system.