As part of the performance, we have chickens at Mediamatic. The welfare of these chickens is one of the highest priorities in this performance, and we do everything we can to give these chickens a good time.
We don't know what it's like to be a chicken. We know broadly what makes a chicken healthy and calm. We know a chicken has complex emotions, we know a chicken has the cognitive ability to feel, show and recognize empathy.We know a chicken is smart. But whether a chicken can wonder or enjoy art, we don't know. But it seems that while we don't have a clear answer to that question, we still often choose to assume that the chicken can't do any of that. That's convenient. Because such an assumption makes it a lot more bearable to consider that there are countless chickens in small areas waiting for their end because of human activity.
This show is about the benefit of the doubt. We spent a lot of time learning what we as humans already know about chickens. And in addition, we spent a month and a half living among the chickens, trying to get to know them better, to observe them, and to introduce them to things that amaze us: such as colors, different kinds of music, dance and smells.
That research may not have brought us closer to the answer. But it has brought us closer to the chickens and the chickens closer to us. We do everything we can to ensure the welfare of the chickens that come to see our show. We take good care of them, we work with the chicken doctor, who helps us take care of the chickens as well and as stress-free as possible, and get advice from scientists. The chickens are transported minimally. They are fed well and consistently and they have lots of space. All the staff at the show did a workshop on how to handle the chickens.
We were curious about the regulations around keeping chickens. The rules for keeping chickens are as follows: A maximum of 9 chickens are allowed in 1 square meter and they must be able to move freely.
Although you may wonder what that means on such surfaces. That's not how we envision it. The brief moments we squeeze ourselves into a crowded subway are stressful and thankfully over quickly. We give the chickens space, love, and a show. Are the chickens waiting for this? Maybe they are. Maybe they don't. We don't know for sure. But in any case, throughout the performance, we will make an effort to put ourselves at the service of the chicken rather than the other way around. We will observe, watch, try to connect together. And we trust that it is precisely that connection, the connection between different species, that will help restore the balance between human and chicken.