In 2019 Sibylle Peters devised a project called Animals of Manchester (including humanz) for which she tried to install a zone of interspecies equality in a park. Live artists, animal rights activists, researchers, kids and a number of species present in Manchester worked together to imagine and rehearse an alternative version of the city: How would it look like, if all species – including humanz – had the same rights?
Of course the project was destined to fail its hugely ambitious principle in many ways. However – to strive for it in a specific and limited space and time made everybody learn a lot about what would have to be done to actually get there.
After two decades of work with improbable assemblies, with participatory performance and artistic research, this was the first assembly Sibylle Peters worked on that was trying to reach beyond human monoculture. Since then the pandemic has made it very clear to us that the monocultures of humankind are coming to an end. Humans finally became as dangerous to each other, as they have been for all other species all along. Assemblies of humans have become much more difficult. So, maybe the distance between us, humans, will finally make us realize that it is not just us in our assemblies, and never has been. The non humans are here with us, and we have to realize our connections to each other in an earthly assembly that goes far beyond humankind.
PD Dr. Sibylle Peters is a researcher, performance artist and theatre director, based in Hamburg. She is co-founder and artistic director of FUNDUS THEATER / Theatre of Research in Hamburg. She is co-founder of the PhD programmes Assemblies & Participation and Performing Citizenship and was head of the Heterotopia Graduate Program at Folkwang University of the Arts.