performance (30min)
Photos Project Description
(EN /
Curricula Vitae






Ancient and medieval European bestiaries were full of illustrations of fantastical creatures inhabiting the furthest reaches of the earth – or perhaps only the furthest reaches of the imagination. They were often accompanied by brief descriptions of appearance, behavior and habitat, but in such a way as to lead the reader to an allegorical interpretations. Bestiář is inspired by these books and other sources of similar genre (Pedro Linares' alebrijes, for example, and the Tibetan Book of the Dead). Exploring varying ways in which the force of nature may be summoned through this imaginary surplus, Bestiář investigates how we might effectively summon these images in order to restore to the body ​​unlimited possibility to change – or, what is the same thing, how to become each of a series of non-human movements and forms. Our understanding is that this is what the body needs in order to effectively respond in the face of crisis.

Bestiář is an example of the multi-genre performance techniques and experimentation that define the newly formed creative duo of Peter Gaffney (US) and Zuzana Smolová (CZ), combinging various techniques of physical theater (movement, puppetry, live music, and text) as well as experimentation with clay and other materials as a means of theatrical expression. Our aim is to create performances that engage the intense, nameless and irrational states of internal change that are integral to human experience, with a focus on transitional states between the human and non-human, analog and digital, living and non-living, self and other. With our starting point in ancient and medieval bestiaries, we are also examining more recent stories in which the protagonist is transformed by a moral crisis – that is, in which the unspoken rules that guide our actions begin to lose their validity, bringing about a general erosion of the commonsense physical limits of our bodies and worldly environment.

Please find more information in the project description (PDF, 2MB).