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/