artist statement

I am not a whore in the traditional sense. I want to give everything for free. I want to give everything. I want to give it to you, even if you do not want it. I need to give this to you,
Now. Because it matters.

My work is silent but loud. I want to gently strip away your skin and touch you underneath. I want to insert a needle, or maybe a thorn from a flower.
How do you feel?
Please tell me.
These dances come to existence from a need to speak, to ask, to participate. The form that they take is the form that offers itself for me to find a way in. I am looking for a way in, into your mind, your body. The work is created in our meeting. It does not exist without you.
I make work to understand the world around me, to make sense of what may have none. I dance to map what otherwise is incomprehensible to me. I am attempting to see the world through a poetics of the body, which is to feel and to be felt.
My work asks what is important. What do we care about? What were the choices that brought us here? They are questions I ask of myself, and I try to lie less every time I answer. I go towards discomfort, because it is a mobilizing force. I place naïveté above cynicism: it does not make me look good but it helps me see what is here. I move in a guise of confusion, of embarrassment and not knowing, because the constant reminder of how little I understand forces me to actually learn.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

"I'd rather be a cyborg than a goddess" - musings on the closing lines of the Cyborg Manifesto by Donna Haraway

When I think of Cyborg, I think of Seria Mau, who refused her destiny as an abused girl child and redefined herself, to become the K-ship whose captain she was. I think of Stephen Hawkins, and what he would have been, had he been born a century earlier. I think of heart valve replacement surgery and the artificial transplants in the heart of my friend. I think of dreams of electric sheep, and imagine possibilities of sensing beyond our bodies. I think of the son who became the God Emperor of Dune by merging his body with that of the sandworm, to save the disappearing desert of Arrakis.

When I think of Goddess, I think of celebrating and honouring the gifts that the Earth offers us. I think of my New Agey friends and their altars in the woods, and how I am irritated by their way of defining Goddess as fitting to their beliefs and needs. I think of maternal clay figures with many breasts, of a matriarchal utopia. I think of my great aunts and their summer paradise, on the beach with women of all ages, shapes and sizes, naked, strong, sun bathing. I think of belonging, I feel the wish to belong, to have a Home.

Then, I think of Zeus giving birth from his head.

And then, I think of Monique Wittig, replying to a rude interviewer that she does not have a vagina.

So much for a foreword. Now for Haraway.

I understand the argument, and I find it appealing. The cyborg’s multiplicity, the refusal of origin and of one truth, seems a necessity in order to overcome the dualist thinking that creates and renews boundaries, hierarchies and a self-reinforcing mechanism of othering. The cyborg, with no loyalty to its creators, suggests a possibility of freedom and survival through fluidity, changing, constantly in the process of re-defining self, and/or balancing on the boundaries of rigid definitions. A home in language, communication, networking, instead of a home in a place, a belief system, a genealogy.

But can we afford to refuse the Goddess, the wisdom of ecological feminist thinking? Does it make sense to let go and burn the bridges leading to ‘origin’ in a flashy post modernist kind of way? (Here I am speaking of origin in an ecological sense.) Could not a cyborgic network of identities leave that bridge standing, too, while building a multiplicity of new ones?

Is it possible to combine the two, to have an open fluid cyborg identity, but to still honour the dust or the minerals that we are constructed of? To piss on the Father’s (Mother’s) shoes, but still acknowledge that we are related?

In other words: does metaphysics have to be anti-science? (page 28) Isn’t that just another dualism that the cyborg image can question and re-define?

I believe we need metaphysics.

We need it to feel the meaning of our actions, not just see the consequences. We need something to believe in: not to flock to one Truth like sheep, but to have a reason to keep living. I believe that if we want to stop raping and abusing the planet we live in, on, and of, we need to acknowledge what we owe to it.

Maybe love is the last stronghold of metaphysics, or maybe it is art.

And maybe art, or love, can open a possibility to imagine a fusion of the two, an ecological cyborg, not of the Family of Man, but bound by love to the minerals she is constructed from.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

photo for tuesday

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nad/3972563876/

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

sounds

still sick and in bed, so i re-edited the soundtrack for the second piece.
this may be the final version.

removed most of the text and most of everything, really.
i hope it works, because being sick i missed both the grad showing and the dress rehearsal, so i didn't get to try it out with an audience before tomorrow's review.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

chomsky, and unfinished thoughts regarding the work





sick day
so i canceled my class
and am doing nothing productive to make the performance possible
except watching a bunch of noam chomsky interviews on youtube

so
i am here,
interested in the american culture and what american people say about these things - and sometimes shocked by how many americans tell me, that the american people are stupid and ignorant and do not want to find out what is going on in the world.
i do not think this is true.
it sounds like a strange claim to me.
i mean, all humans are stupid and ignorant in some sense, and then we learn more. but this sounds like the speakers claim to be set apart from the imaginary entity called "the american people", who, by its stupidity and ignorance, makes all these atrocities possible.
it sounds like a roundabout way of saying that they would have it differently, but can do nothing, because the majority is so stupid and ignorant.

i think a lot of people lack information.
i suppose the decisions on the matters have been removed so far from people's everyday lives, that they don't feel their actions can change anything. and this feeling of powerlessness is a
cause of apathy.
i suppose one thing that makes staying inside the apathy possible, is that many people never see the war or feel the terror. that what is happening is removed, too, as figures on screen or paper, that can be ignored, or justified by something somebody says in a speech. there is no urgency to act, because we do not see what is happening. only when death comes near, we feel it.

i am trying to understand how this is possible.
i keep going back to fear. we attack because we are afraid.
or is there another reason for attack?

i want to reach the feeling of fear, what it does in our bodies.

is there a shared sense of threat when we step on an aeroplane or ride the subway?
can we feel it?
does the threat of the other bring this nation together in a time of internal turmoil?
is the outside threat necessary in order for the state to function?


Saturday, November 14, 2009

new draft

begin.
audience closes their eyes. i speak about the skin.

while they have their eyes closed i invite them to enter the space, and touch. i invite them to speak and change what is happening, to intervene if they do not like what is going on. i have to still think very carefully about how i say this.

i blindfold myself. the loop from the film plays.
i move.

the soundtrack includes the piano loop, silences, and text in finnish and in english:

where are you?
what are you thinking?
do you remember how it felt
when you first realised that you will die?
do you remember the shock in your body
when you knew with certainty the assault would come
sooner or later
how you shrunk inside your skin?
the touches you longed for, that never came.
the touches you wished had never happened, but you cannot erase.
what are you thinking?
how do you feel?

i take off my blindfold.
i sing a song.

the end.


it is not a problem if nobody comes up on stage or says anything. if that happens, it will create a growing unease in the audience, a feeling that somebody should do something but they don't want to be that person. it may be very uncomfortable that way, so it is creating an emotion about crossing the boundary, and it is a success.

also the incident that someone from the audience takes over the space and starts manipulating me for a long time creates a sense of unease and tension, people may want to tell that person to stop, but may not know how to - yet they know that it is up to them to change it. so it is another interesting scenario that looks like a failure but ends up as a success.

if people only speak and do not touch.

if people just come up very quickly and do something short one after another like they were obliged to do that.

whatever kind of failure happens, the concept works.

it is about risk and crossing of many boundaries, physical and emotional.
i want to put the song in the end to add another layer of performance but also of emotion, i am thinking of the layering of the languages in the soundtrack, and that maybe i will sing in french, so that most people will understand some, but not all, of what i am saying.

after the showing

i performed a draft of the piece at friday showings. i now feel confident that the concept works, but i want to make some changes. i think one solution is that i speak to the audience and they can have their eyes closed before i begin to move.

i still have questions how to incorporate the subject matter but leave enough space for people's own experiences to fill in the meaning of the work... i want it to have meaning but not feel like i'm preaching too much.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

hair

this is footage from another project i have been working on,
playing with it here to practice the video editing program...

video

the pleasantville effect isn't quite working.

touch

there is something about the vulnerability of the body, that i had the idea of in the first classes, about touch leaving a mark on the skin.
but somehow it does not make sense to use digital media to project the marks, if it can be done for real.

the concept is simple, to invite the audience to speak, and to come into the space and touch me while i am performing.
i am also half seriously thinking about giving them markers so that they can draw on me.

but i want there to be more than just an experimenting with possibilities interactivity, so i am working on a sound score, trying out the same loop as i used in the video (if i show the video first, and the movement piece is shown in the next half, people will connect them together - and they are connected in a way).
i imagine that the music will create a stronger sense of boundary, that will be more difficult for the viewers to cross, than if it was just a silent experiment. i am also thinking i want to light it differently, so i need to find out if i have access to theatre lights.

my wish is to create a sense of unease, that people won't know whether they should react, and they're not sure what is going on and what is expected of them. to give space for them to make decisions, and that will make each performance very different.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

interactivity

been trying to figure out what worked and what did not work in the first tryout of live interaction with the audience.
i think i just need to give up control more, to not try to dictate what is allowed and what is not.
also the structure and me explaining the interaction before beginning to dance is not working for me.
i will be trying a new approach, showing tomorrow.
the difficulty is really only that the work is still so raw that i am afraid even of my classmates and your reactions. but to perform in an interactive environment can not be rehearsed, i can only learn by doing it.
it feels like almost too big of a bite, and in dark moments i wish i had kept working with the video because it would have been so much easier just to keep tweaking it... but it did not make sense because that piece feels complete.

on a sidenote:
those who have a love for sailing - look at this young woman's blog!
http://youngestround.blogspot.com/

Thursday, October 29, 2009

making faces

video

playing with final cut pro,
presenting: the clone effect!

i'm sure the world is happier that there is only one of me.

digesting

i showed some concepts and ideas for work in Friday Critique and again in Grad Critique yesterday. there is some footage and i'm happy to talk about it, but i don't feel ready to share it online.

i am confident that there is something there, but it is taking shape slowly -
and while i enjoy the luxury of the slow process and diving deeper into the ideas, instead of just squeezing out a product for a deadline, i am becoming painfully conscious that there is a deadline, and i am expected to produce something like a finished product.
right now i'm leaning towards a compromise, to offer a sample piece that is not _the_ work but a version of it, yet more than just a draft.
i am learning a lot about a method of making work that feels fruitful.

the new media right now feels like skill building, something i will not be using in my own work for now, but still fun and informative, and opening possibilities for the future.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

how to continue

i was very happy with the reception of the work at fall dance.
it feels like this part of the work is complete.

i am thinking of a live version, but not with projection or interactive sound scapes. i want interactivity but in a very basic form. if i were moving blindfolded and had volunteers from the audience speak commands, and take care that i don't bump into things.
this part of the work would fall in the genre of dance, in the wide meaning of the word.

i am thinking of the sensation of threat in the body, and how moving to study in the united states and trying to understand the reasons for the wars, has made me re-live childhood memories of cold war eastern europe and the constant fear of nuclear attacks.
i am trying to understand how it feels, to have unseen enemies on a foreign ground you never see.
do people live their everyday lives under a threat?
do they, like we did, feel personally, physically threatened?
touched by someone you don't see, creating a collective body of pain which requires action.....

Friday, October 16, 2009

now

new version of the video for fall dance.
changed the rhythm,
enjoying the low tech feeling and the accidental sounding sounds.
curious to see what happens, to hear what people have to say.



video

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

sk/in/visibility

this is the second version i made with a few changes
after the CAP mid term critique.

video


about the comments and how i want to continue:

i showed this to other people after the critique, but only in private situations, because i had become afraid of displaying the captive female body as an object of desire.
i especially asked for people to comment on that aspect, but only after they had seen it. no-one had looked at it from that angle. they saw terror, and they made connections to the cultural images that i had been citing, which the people in the class did not see or comment on. i was relieved to hear this work read as bringing the female body visible in the imagery of terror, where it has only been male bodies in the news, the female bodies absent and silent.
with encouragement from viewers i left out the question in the end, because they said that the question is already visible in the work. i hoped it would be. and i don't want to narrow it down to just that one question, words have such power over us sometimes.

about making changes:

1. i am going to re-shoot the feet in front of the box.
2. i do not want to show more kneading of the bread. i want it to be seen only once, maybe a millisecond longer than in this version, but no more.
3. i do not want to shoot the eating of the bread: the eating is part of the event, it is not to be looked at but to be participated in.
4. the making of the bread has to be shot and re-edited every time, because i want people to be eating the same bread that is in the video. this poses some limitations to where and when the work can be shown.
5. i would be grateful for more feedback and discussion about why you felt (if you felt) it was primarily an object of desire in the box. i have looked at this over and over and i do not agree. i am not sure that i want to change my imagery, but i need more discussion to make that choice.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

lolli pop art

so i imagined this thing called lolli pop art.
here's the rules for making your own:


eat lollipop.
unwrap the paper stick of the lollipop.
pick a random sentence from your journal and write it on the stick.
name the piece of art after the flavour of the lollipop.

Artificial Mystery Flavour


Artificial Cherry I


Artificial Cherry II



imovie update for CAP:

managed to get over the video camera issues
and have been experimenting with imovie hd.

the idea of skin and touch and the cardboard are coming together
(against all odds)
i want to make something awkward and uncomfortable
and i think it works
the sad thing is that i can't figure out how to layer images on imovie, maybe it is not possible with the version that i have... and cross fades are limited to 12 seconds of length. but i still think i will have something to make people feel uncomfortable to show on thursday.
it feels like it has to be as awkward as i feel around the subject, and around being in this country, and around languaging these issues and doing it in public. so, on one hand i want it to be smooth enough to work, but not smooth enough to swallow - that there is something wrong, something that you as a viewer will want to change.

the idea of clay has changed into dough in my mind, but i haven't figured out how to project the dough on the skin - and it has to be done on the same day because i want my audience to eat the bread that is the touch that is on the skin on the video. and bread has to be eaten fresh. eat me, a sharing of bread and of my body with you.

i also played with garageband to make a satisfyingly off sounding soundtrack.
it is all a draft but it feels good to be doing something, trying and erring and learning.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

imovie trial

very
first
imovie
CAP 24.09.09

my emotional shoulder
and some teeth with globalization

(also starring: simone, janice)

video

in motion

thinking about sensations on skin
about homelessness
about sleeping on a mattress of cardboard
about cold and numbness and the
simultaneous invisibility and visibility
having no privacy but no voice

thinking about how we 'grant' each other humanity
who do we see as our fellow citizens
and how that would change if there was a relationship
through a narrative, a history, a shared branch in the family tree

of recognition
not me recognizing you, but us recognizing each other
of possible connections

touch and movement with traditional medium










patterns


mostly, at this point, there are questions.






i am beginning to question my original idea for the project.
right now it seems more fruitful to look at the possibilities of the medium, to try out things and see what i can do - i feel like my ideas are getting too much in the way.






Thursday, September 17, 2009

imagining the skin as paper

what if the skin was clay
and you could run your finger in it
so that your touch left a scar?
what if every thought touched the skin
and marked it,
this white paper skin,
snow white -
how does your gaze define me
every second
identity
it is written on my skin

video

skin


skin
paper body.

what is projected on the skin
touches the skin,

changes the skin.

changes how it is
to be
inside that skin,

to be my skin.




Thursday, September 10, 2009

stop motion

tonight we played with photobooth.
simone taught us how to make a stop motion clip in 2 minutes.
i had a hard time understanding the concept of movement that is not dance, but eventually managed to do something anyway. looking at this, it is embarrassing how revealing it is. it is so noticeable here, how uncomfortable i am in front of the camera when i am not dancing, and how that changes when i dance.

video
touch

a rough sketch

i wish to create a piece where the audience's touch on a remote device makes a mark that is projected on the dancer's body, and that mark grows and takes shape according to the quality of the touch.
the dancer moves according to the choreography created by these touches.
the touch could also create sound - or it could be an environment where the sound is created through the dancer's movements in space.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

tervetuloa.

welcome.

soluja is finnish for cells.
this is the place where i try to make sense
of how the 73 trillion cells in my body
make contact with this information technology
keyboard under fingers
light hitting eyes
stem cells
nervous
system
yes
i am.