Meet Noémie Huttner-Koros – an emerging performance-maker, interdisciplinary artist and writer. During her residency at PICA she delivered solo theatre show The Trouble Makers, an investigation into the hope and community that has arisen amidst the rubble of our current climate crisis.
In this Q&A Noémie discusses where she finds inspiration and why she thinks we have a task to make trouble.
Could you tell us a little bit more about The Trouble Makers and how it came about?
I’ve been involved in climate activism in various capacities since I was 13 years old and I was thinking a lot about how that involvement has shaped me and my life and the lives of my peers, how young people have never known a world or atmosphere without climate extremes/climate chaos/ecological crisis. And then I was reading Donna Harraway’s incredible book Staying With The Trouble: Making Kin In the Chthulucene which totally challenged my ideas around this epoch we live in that scientists are calling the Anthropocene (that human beings have altered all the earth’s systems to such a huge extent that we have entered a new geological epoch). So I started thinking about the role of artists and theatre in responding to this. How can we find hope? How do we build community? How can we enter a performance experience as individuals and leave feeling more like a community?
The Trouble Makers is a performance dinner party where we plot alternative systems for being and living staying with each other (all kinds of beings, human and non-human) through all this trouble. It’s a participatory theatre show cross stand-up comedy night cross party. We get to sing and dance and hopefully come out feeling like we are a little less alone, entangled in a myriad of living systems, beings, interactions and critters.
As a multidisciplinary artist, which aspects of your practice will be emphasised in this work?
The Trouble Makers is a solo theatre show, as in there is just me performing and writing. But there are lots of brains and bodies that have contributed and are a part of this process. The work draws on a lot of theatre-making skills I learnt at WAAPA when I was studying performance-making under the wonderful Frances Barbe and Tamara Cook. Also a workshop I did with amazing performance artist Ursula Martinez who was in Perth earlier this year for Perth Festival. In my practice I’m quite interested in activating the relationship between performer and audience and this is definitely a big part of The Trouble Makers.
Your show deals with topics surrounding climate change, based on research you have undertaken. You also mentioned a few books that you’ve been reading during your residency. What are some examples that you could give us (maybe give us the part/s that has/have inspired you)?
Sure! There’s heaps!! Definitely Donna Harraway’s work that I mentioned above. Here’s an awesome bit from the beginning of the book: “Trouble is an interesting word. It derives from a 13th-century French verb meaning ‘to stir’, ‘to make cloudy’, ‘to disturb’. We – all of us on Terra – live in interesting times, mixed-up times, troubling and turbid times. The task is to become capable, with each other in all of our bumptious kinds, of response […] Our task is to make trouble, to stir up potent response to devastating events, as well as to settle troubled waters and rebuild quiet places.”
[T]heorists like Timothy Morton have [also] been super helpful – an amazing anthropologist called Eduardo Kohn whose book How Forests Think: Towards an Anthropology Beyond the Human is really mind-blowing […] And of course, I have just been so totally inspired by the epic work of the School climate strikers all over the world! As well as the Australian Youth climate coalition and the Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network!