Following on from the acclaimed musical theatre production “The Ghosts Are Returning” and interlinked discursive programme “The time for denial is over”, GROUP50:50 together with the Mbuti community in Wamba, DRC have developed the new project “Ecosystem” addressing deforestation in the Congo Basin.
The project takes as its starting point the COP 2022 partnership agreement between Brazil, Indonesia and the DRC to protect the three largest rainforests on earth and the habitat of the indigenous peoples who inhabit them, and the geopolitical interests that threaten to undermine this. All too often in Western climate discourse, the voices of the people most affected are marginalised, even if they have a unique knowledge of their environment.
GROUP50:50, together with climate activists from Uganda, travelled once again to Wamba for a two-week workshop of mutual learning with Jean Baptiste Ekaka, José Agbepa and other members of the Mbuti community with knowledge of the complex ecosystem, their relationship to the forest, and their ideas about sustainable living in the Congo Basin. Together, they explored the question of how to address the climate crisis through transnational dialogue and collectively develop a decolonial perspective.
Through musical dialogue, “Ecosystem” narrates the experiences of the Mbuti people and their relationship to a vanishing world. The post-documentary theatre production makes visible the Mbuti’s perspective and brings their voices to the stage. “Ecosystem” is a political campaign that advocates for the rights of indigenous peoples in the Congo Basin and against the deforestation of the rainforest. But it is also a play about the interrelationship of human and non-human actors in a complex ecosystem that is slowly coming apart at the seams, a play about care and loss, about what we have inherited from previous generations and what we will leave to future ones.
GROUP50:50 is an artist collective from DRC, Switzerland and Germany as well as a production structure based in Basel, Berlin and Lubumbashi, committed to the realisation and production of transnational artistic cooperation projects. GROUP50:50 tells stories about historical and current economic and political interrelations between their countries, and demands the return of cultural heritage and reparations for colonial crimes and present-day human rights violations. The group addresses the history of globalisation, the colonial rule over the African continent and neo-colonial practices of exploitation of humans and nature to extract raw materials. The GROUP50:50 critically reflects on the forms of their collaboration, which are disturbed by historical economic inequalities, cultural misunderstandings and unequal access to means of artistic production.