Contribution for Shared Landscapes

by Begüm Erciyas and Daniel Kötter

(curated by Stefan Kaegi and Caroline Bernaud)


In this collaboration, Begüm Erciyas and Daniel Kötter reflect on the significance of the vertical perspective on the landscape - a perspective constructed through satellites, maps, drones and mining resources -, as well as the fiction of a no man’s land constructed through these means. To this large group of audiences present on the landscape, they offer such an experience of an empty landscape. A landscape emptied of all human traces and viewed from above, now free to be once again occupied. 


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Tour Dates: 

14 May - 18 June 2023 @ Theatre Vidy, Lausanne (CH)

7-16 June 2023 @ Festival d'Avignon (FR)

19 August - 10 September 2023 @ Berliner Festspiele (DE)

4-12 May 2024 @ Tangente St. Pölten (AT)  

8-16 June 2024 @ Milano (IT)

21-25 August 2024 @ Mladi Levi, Ljubljana (SL)

14-29 September 2024 @ Setubal, Lisbon (PT)

12-20 October 2024 @ Girona (SP)





"Why, then, did they choose to call this extraordinary theatrical project "Shared Landscapes"? Isn't a landscape just that: a pretty setting? A nature that needs the human eye to exist, a nature already made into a painting? Isn't this precisely the representation that ecological thinking is fighting against, trying to put man back in his place, not as an overhanging outsider, but as a stakeholder in the web of relationships that make up living things? Given Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne's long-standing commitment to the environment - at every level: production, theoretical reflection and aesthetics - this comes as a surprise.

But it's not until the third variation that we realize the wisdom of this choice. Positioned high up, like a general facing a battlefield, to read the text written by Begüm Erciyas and Daniel Kötter, landscape in the 21st century can no longer be read horizontally, in the manner of romantics blown away by beauty, but vertically, as a game of power, domination and destruction. Underground, the war for fossil fuels, which in the name of profit authorizes the exploitation of the Earth and its inhabitants. In space, the new military surveillance technologies that enslave and kill. Soon, equipped with a virtual reality headset, we'll be at the controls of a drone, seized by a nausea that's as physiological as it is existential. Suspended in the air, we realize that it's precisely because it never obscures the presence of man that the notion of landscape can lend a political dimension to this bucolic adventure. Without man, there is no one to blame for the ongoing catastrophe, no way out, no possibilities."

Aïnhoa Jean-Calmettes in Mouvement (FR)



“Daniel Kötter's and Begüm Erciyas' VR installation: You rise vertically out of the forest with it, glide upwards along the tree trunks thanks to the ascending eye of a camera drone, hover above the treetops, also feel a bit of the wind that causes the aircraft to sway, and recognize buildings far away on the horizon that are likely to be those of the Giga Factory of the e-mobile manufacturer from faraway America.

Kötter and Erciyas combine the local experience with information about the border region between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which is also fought over by drones and has become the target of armed conflicts because huge gold deposits lure under the layer of earth. Kötter and Erciyas introduce the vertical dimension into the landscape view and complement the romantic vision with the mechanical one.”

Tom Mustroph in TAZ (DE)!5954686/



"According to its etymology, the landscape is a way of organizing property-and a point of view of it. Bruno Latour opens his Gifford Lectures (transformed into the book Facing Gaia) with a detailed analysis of The Great Reserve by Caspar David Fridrich. What puzzles him is the impossibility of the point of view of the "elevated" viewpoint proposed by the painter, as if the nineteenth-century viewer dared to take the place of some supernatural deity.

Today's god is technology, and Daniel Kötter and Begüm Erciyas propose a mind-blowing experience to prove this theorem.


Both this intervention by Kötter&Erciyas much as the entire experience of Paysages Partagés is in a sense an attempt to enter the landscape known through the maps of Google, getting down with one's feet on the ground and try to understand the relationships between the different agents in at play."

Kamila Mamadnazarbekova in Il Manifesto (IT)



"Where the excesses of the Anthropocene are described with the vocabulary of critical theory, the matter is of course more complicated with regard to the relationship between nature, man and technology, one could also say: more dialectical. 

The Turkish-Belgian-German duo Begüm Erciyas and Daniel Kötter shows us with military imaging techniques: once, rather abstractly, on the basis of satellite images from the disputed border region between Armenia and Azerbaijan, whose interpretation we read sitting on folding chairs in a brochure; and in the second part, so concretely and physically, that one's stomach turns around. The latter begins with an army of black helmets lying in rows in the grass in front of us, and a simple order: "Put them on". The helmets are equipped with virtual reality goggles, through which we see the same environment at first glance. 

The only difference is that our neighbours have suddenly disappeared. I can still hear them, but the landscape around me is deserted. The landscape around me is deserted, and I feel strangely dizzy when I turn around my own axis - as if my feet were... gone! Even the hands with which I try to wave around in front of me, are gone. And while still amazed, I look down onto the grass again, and I seem to grow bigger, as if I were a tree.., growing into the sky, higher and ever higher, beyond the nearby treetops. From probably hundred meters I look over deserted clearings and hills. It is the view of a drone."

Franziska Meister in WOZ (CH)



"Ebenfalls zu einem Perspektivwechsel wird das Publikum eingeladen, als es mittels VR-Brille in die Kronen der Bäume geht. Begüm Erciyas und Daniel Kötter erzeugen damit nicht nur eine Diskrepanz im Körper, einen Effekt, der die einander widersprechenden Sinneseindrücke (die Füße am Boden, die Augen scheinbar in der Luft), sondern verweisen mittels der Technik und der Verschiebung der Sichtlinien vom Horizontalen ins Vertikale, auf Macht, auf Hierarchien, auf Vertreibung, Flucht und Ausbeutung, auf Kriegsinstrumente und Militärtechnik, letztlich werden die Linien vertikal am Beispiel einer Goldmine an der Grenze zwischen Armenien und Aserbaidschan."

Nathalie Eckstein in Theater der Zeit (DE)



"Artist Begüm Erciyas and filmmaker Daniel Kötter also offer their audience a special experience. They let them float. Equipped with VR goggles, viewers lift off from the forest floor, travel skyward, soon towering over the treetops and looking down on the forest. The work is embedded in research on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border conflict. One of the disputed regions lives from mining, and the brief war in 2020 was fought largely with drones. This stretch of land can therefore only be understood geopolitically if it is understood as a vertically structured space and if one takes leave of the usual horizontal axis of vision. One does not have to know the social background to be impressed by this work. The view of the treetops from above is magnificent - and the illusion of being able to fly always gives pleasure anyway."

Michael Wolf in Neues Deutschland (DE)



"And that, along with the music, is the second great artistic decision for the tour: how the view is oriented differently....We don't want to spoil too much, except that we don't see the forest there from below, but from above. The horizontal is much more familiar to people, at least to non-mathematicians, in everyday life. "Shared Landscapes" takes us gently but firmly by the hand and shows how to give equal weight to the vertical."

Tobi Müller in Monopol Magazine (DE)