Human Liquidation is a co-creation between Center for Subjectivity Research, Department of Media, Cognition and Communication at Copenhagen of University and the department for psychological and social research at Elsass Institute.
In 2016 we created the interactive theatre play Humane Liquidation together with director Thomas Corneliussen.
Background and problem
With the progress of scientific methods and the generalisation of amniocentesis, it is within the scope of science to make chromosomal abnormalities and other innate disabilities a thing of the past. This raises a series of questions about ethics, normality and the good life.
Vision & mission
With Human Liquidation we wanted to combine art and research. We used the art of theatre to make a second-person investigation of the social understanding of persons with physical disabilities. Our vision was to tell a deeply personal story, and show how the individual’s life intersect with societal institutions, collective norms and scientific discourse in a way that empowered and changed people. On a more general level, we wanted to produce knowledge on how conceptions and behavior are changed.
We started working on a pilot project with the same name in 2012.
The pilot project premiered on “Gamle Scene” at The Royal Theatre in 2014.
The preliminary research conducted during the pilot project substantiated our working thesis and we decided to move on with the project Human Liquidation.
The final version of Humane Liquidation premiered on “Mellemgulvet” at The Royal Theatre’s “Skuespilhuset” at the 21st of October 2016.
This project is supported by Danish Arts Foundation, Elsass Foundation and Axel Muusfeldt Foundation.
Results and impact
Our research showed that throughout the play, the understandings of Jacob and life with CP became more positive. Furthermore, the impact was not only limited to the understandings and prejudices against CP. People’s understandings of themselves in relation to the same questions was also changed.
Human Liquidation made it clear that the terms ability and disability are not dualistic but rather complex and fluent. As a result, the realization made the audience able to identify themselves with Jacob and it also improved the general understanding of CP. Human Liquidation proved that by communicating a personal story by using the emotional and confrontational instruments of theatre, it is possible to change the social understandings of CP.
Humane Liquidation won CPHculture’s honorary award in 2016.
The primary target audience was the general public (all ages).
The secondary target audience was people with CP – who through our intervention where offered representation and validation of their experiences.
Humane Liquidation was our first major proof of concept of our embodied communication strategy; the main character Jacob embodied the story he told. The impact of the communication strategy was supported by the research.
Humane Liquidation was featured in Skuespillerforbundet’s journal Sceneliv, Teater1, Spastikerforeningen’s magazine Spastikeren, videnskab.dk and in a 7 minute feature, with about 400,000 viewers, on the news on TV-2.
* This project was enacted before the establishment of Enactlab.