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Designing a transformative ritual with the wolfs coming back

Benoit Verjat, Patrick Degeorges

Rituals are experiences that allow stories to transform those who produce them. Instead of thinking of an experience outside of ourselves that should not affect us, the experience of ritual allows for the intrusion of narratives or knowledge that can be profoundly changing. Such situations are now being explored and created by artists who seek to support communities in passage by making present their attachments or by investigating the conditions of their survival. In the Limousin mountains, since 2017, a group composed of breeders, naturalists, hunters, elected officials and inhabitants has been participating in an investigation aimed at developing artistic forms that propose the experience of putting oneself in the place of non-humans in order to think of new ways of living together with the return of the wolf. The bifurcation of an artistic form, "a pastoral assembly (UAP)" which has become a collective body practice, proposes to create a space for knowledge, speculation and transformation. Starting from a given situation or landscape, the participants, from an animal being whose starting form is their human beings, will experience the situation and observe the movements it allows in them. This practice of knowledge repeated over the years is also a ritual in which everyone participates, mixing elements of the real and the imagined to work on the story of the return of the great predator. The purpose of this communication is to describe the creation process of the UAP movement practice.