Clément Bugnon and Matthias Kass cast light on what effect one’s own appearance has on others and how our definition of beauty is influenced and dictated by group-thinking and group-fashion.

Every individual is in fact so strongly influenced in respect of his or her appearance and even character, that the term manipulation is more apt. It is an external aspect, which often deviates from reality. It often is a deception. The result is a huge gap between appearance and reality. 

How we look has become increasingly important in today’s society. For many of us, our appearance is more important than our “being”. Appearing better than we really are becomes an inner necessity in our desire to elevate ourselves onto the same level as those whom we so admire. 

The digital-age, in which images have so much power has strengthened this phenomenon. Well-formed bodies, perfectly touched-up faces, which we proudly show in order to not be “switched”. Straight backs, upright heads, a three-days beard and a strong handshake to make one’s position in society and status clear. One wants to be seen as important. Poses which one has practiced, generously exposed bodies to show off, fashionable outfits – all this in order to make the most favorable impression. In spite of the never-ending flood of images, one wants to elevate oneself over the masses and be perceived as a very special, unique and authentic individual.

In contemporary society the individual is very highly regarded and seen as the center of life. We tend to glorify individuality and this leads us to invest a lot of time and energy creating and preserving this vision of ourself. The result is a kind of double expectation. At the same time as we should be authentic and unique, we are expected to be big consumers. In other words, to be true to ourselves but at the same time also take over, accept and consume the products, images, inspirations and values suggested to us by standardized society. This contradiction reveals what a serious dilemma we are in. 

The philosopher René Girard writes: “People are always craving for something but don’t know exactly what”. Girard shows how the individual believes that he is desiring, searching and wishing for something truly unique and personal but in reality, is simply following the fashionable ideas of others. We confuse our fervent striving to get a reaction from others with our intention to be ourself.  All this happens without us being aware of it because our whole society and environment places such an emphasis on “being oneself”.

As a result, we are seduced into blindly following idols and heroes and thus succumb and are seduced by the beautiful but deceptive world which is presented to us. 

Artistic directors and Choreographers : Clément Bugnon & Matthias Kass

Dancers : Rosalia Pace, Pauline Richard, Manolo Perazzi, Stefano Roveda, Mattia Saracino, Tommaso Quartani

Composer : Michio Woirgardt

Stage & Costumes Designer : Katharina Andes

Photographer : Ida Zenna

Co-Producer : Théâtre Benno Besson – Yverdon-les-Bains.

company Idem is Artist in Residence at Théâtre Benno Besson (2022/25).

Partners : LeZartiCirque & Phönix Theater Steckborn