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Quo Vadis - Memory(ies) into the present

Action-research in creation – via cooperative, interdisciplinary and trans-practical work

Concept and artistic direction - Sarah Di Bella / Production – Extrapole

The Quo Vadis experimental capsule is an annual action-research program whose focus is the creative process. Its first edition will bring together five artisans of the performing arts, along with an accompanying team, around a shared undertaking with a specific theme. The research will thus be carried out in a double way: the cooperative process will serve as the experimental framework for a collective laboratory of poietic research.
The Quo Vadis experimental capsule is a device that brings together different forms of knowledge in order to question and test the interdependencies inherent in the creative process. As an artificial space, like any laboratory, the capsule's goal is to engage in a conversation with the realia all the while guaranteeing the conditions essential to research: the process spread over a long period of time will leave room necessary for controversy and doubt as well as for ambition and the desire for results. On the one hand, the team's function will be to stimulate and provide a framework for the collective operation, as well as to enrich the research with specific, solid knowledge; on the other, it is expected that the close dialogue with the artists' practice will constitute leverage for questioning and continuing experimentation.

Quo Vadis is also intended to exist as a performative work, a work of visual art within the context of live performance programming. Throughout the program, the action-research component will focus on identifying a collective way of doing things, while the attention paid to the creative process will aim to liberate the imaginary of possibilities, in a genuine exploration, both formal and aesthetic, of the singularity of each artistic universe. Each artist will be invited to take advantage of the double centripetal and centrifugal movement inherent in any collective operation, as a fundamentally ecological one. The group will be asked to invest the space-time of the research with an exploration of the paths opened up by the proposed theme.

Quo Vadis seeks to make a reality of the discourse around "doing things differently" by collectively measuring the steps that need to be taken to do so. In this sense, the capsule is in and of itself a demanding performative creation. The artists and researchers taking part in each edition will be supporting and amplifying the voices that within institutions call for the need to move towards cooperative work of mutualized sharing through the creation of collectives. In this close side-by-side cooperation, we will be questioning and exercising the poetic, aesthetic and political quality of the primary object of our work - the broad potential and striking force of what our cultures call the living arts, the performing arts, where bodies meet their figures, the narratives meet their gesture, the imaginary meets its metamorphoses, and the world meets its maps, not yet visible.

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How does it work?

The "experimental capsule" is not a cooperative, but :

  • A program of experimentation, both sensitive and intellectual, in the performing arts, based on the principle of mutuality in pooling creative and production resources.

  • A program of research and accompaniment for a creative process that combines the three axes of the collective, the artistic and of production work.

  • The creation-research programs are defined thematically as one-year-long editions, and welcome five participants with creative projects in the performing arts (from all and any technical and aesthetic backgrounds). Working in a group is indeed essential for the diversity and sharing, compounded together, to become a force conspiring with the individual psychic strengths. In addition to the 'solidarity' factor, we are interested in the exercise of sensitive reorientation of the individual point of view and the formulation of common issues within this well of life(s) that is the collective.

  • The accompaniment for each individual, autonomous project alternates between tailor-made follow-up and times when the conversation around each creation is framed and ritualized in a collective space: around rehearsals open to the group and partners, seminars organized in partnership with academic institutions (universities, technical schools, etc.), and other activities that may be suggested by the program's theme.

  • In the context of theatrical or festival programing, as a performative work, the capsule would correspond to: five creations, each presented in a short timeframe ranging from one day to one week for all five; and an installation arranging the visual and sound traces of the creation-research process. The capsule would thus enable audiences not only to encounter the performative works resulting from the process, but also to approach a narrative of the whole experience - a narrative of plastic and visual nature, archaeological and critical.

Challenges :

  • Propose an "alternative economy" for and via contemporary creation in the performing arts: an economy that resists to the drying up inflicted by the logic of competition.


  • Enable this alternative economy to gain access to institutions (national and international festivals, places of recognized cultural heritage, etc.) and to exist as an "experimental capsule" / performative work in its own right.


  • An opportunity for the most prominent institutions to make room for forces active in the search for virtuous paths that benefit all parties involved.

  • An opportunity for these same cultural venues to make room for and confront the driving forces of contemporary diversity arriving in site, in search of inventive new ways of relating to live performance.


  • Over the course of the programs, bring together a community rich in diversity around a whole movement committed to understanding and stimulating the principles of small- and large-scale mutualized sharing in contemporary stage creation.

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