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.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Days of the Trash Queen

It is the third day of performing my adaptation of Deborah Hay's Art and Life in Charlottesville, VA. The costume can fail or nail the whole thing. The costume is ridiculous.

The closest comparison I find to this, is giving an Art History lecture naked. I was at North Karelia College, talking about feminist art, activism and Carolee Schneemann. In order for the lecture to work, I had to be absolutely on top of it, to stick to the subject and challenge the students intellectually as I challenged their perceptions of proper classroom behaviour, so that despite witnessing the unexpected they would stay engaged with what I was saying. In the end it changed the reality of the classroom, so that for a moment in time it seemed normal that the lecturer was naked. I walked through the room handing out articles. They looked me in the eyes and said "Thank You". I talked about their power to change reality. And about the risk that the state is taking in educating them as artists, whose very purpose is to question the structures the whole education system stands on. The students said they felt empowered in their profession after the talk. Well done, naked dancer girl.

So, I am performing Deborah Hay's work, dressed up in whatever was in the trash can of the venue upon my arrival. It is kind of mock-haute couture and borderline sexy. It smells of coffee and salad dressing and looks, well, ridiculous.

Why do I put myself through this? I could just wear something that looks great on me, and dance. But I say: whatever is in your trash can, I'm wearing. Surely it is a comment on the take-out throw-away culture, the illusion that things magically cease to exist once we place them in the trash can. Surely it is commenting on the fashion industry, and on what is being sold to us by exhibiting a lot of young, photoshopped female flesh. But I suppose in the end I do it to keep myself on my toes. To not get too comfortable in my performing skin. To push myself off balance by taking on an impossible task and making do the best I can. There is no way to plan ahead. I can only practice the dance, to make the content clear, in whatever kind of house it will inhabit next.
It is terrifying, and satisfying. It triggers me to question and to play. Ready - fire - aim.
"What if where I am is what I need?"
Thank You, Deborah Hay.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Grace at Dance Mission

Photo by Robbie Sweeny

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

death on the border

recently i have been taking photos of road kill. it seems to be in connection with the work although i don't have a clear idea why.

read about the debate around ricardo dominguez and the wishes for his de-tenuring. dominguez' latest work is providing a cheap gps safety tool for crossing the desert for immigrants to the usa, guiding them to the nearest sources of water and away from people who might shoot them for trespassing. now this life saving device has got some high up people mad at him, mad enough to have his own university turn against him. people die there, in the desert crossing the border. why is it a crime to try and prevent some of those deaths?

what makes drawing these lines across the land so precious? what makes people crossing those lines so dangerous that they would deserve death? why do we fear each other so?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

march on airports

3.3.2010 I had a long day of flying. i detest the security controls at the airports, the way they make me feel fearful and the way they reconfirm the politics of fear that we practice to legitimize our different actions in the world. Going through a lot of those checks, 4 in one day, made me think about what i am working on with my thesis. The way that these policies and politics affect our bodies.

Landing from all that to Eugene, OR, where David Sommerville, whom i had never met before, had made cookies, warmed up the sauna and made a bed for me, was like stepping into a different world.

The things we do to each other as humans.
The way we create inhumane environments and force ourselves to live in them because it is for the best and because of our own safety. We create environments where we have to shut down our senses of smell and hearing to not go crazy. This then becomes normal. To live in cities, cars, highways, universities, airports, we have to handicap ourselves to survive.
And then there are places called Homes. Where you can let all your street survival mechanisms go. Doesn't it make you cry to enter into one of these havens? Have you created one for yourself? How does it feel?

Friday, February 26, 2010

sk/in... to touch - a dilemma

vienna 260210

i kind of knew they are parts of the same piece.
i was even using parts of the music of "sk/in/visibility" in the first soundtrack of "touch" to act as a reminder, when they were performed in the same night with several pieces inbetween.

i think i will wrap the bread in the same cloth with which i later blindfold myself.

but if they are parts of the same piece, should it be viewed in two parts, or should the bread sharing move into the circle and continue somehow... and a some how that would not seem too corny and ritualistic?
and yes, i know that in a way i am a priest and it is a ritual, but there is no need to underline it, it is visible enough. i want it to be an invitation deeper in, to come deeper in the cave
because it is a cave
it is not an altar
it is an alter

maybe there has to be some words, some story in between

i think that i will just call the whole thing touch.

no to sloppy thinking

being this lazy with my mind is an insult to the creator.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

performing Touch at CCN Nancy, France, Feb 13th

i decided to do this in french because it was important that people understand what i say. i felt hesitant because i had no time to meet with our translator before the show, because he was in rehearsal with the ballet. so i did my own little translation and hoped for the best. realising how the context of performance suddenly makes me want to speak in correct form, to have the right words in the right order, although when i just talk with somebody i'm happy to just be understood.
this made me think of two things,
one: why do i want to be more proper on stage than i actually am?
two: having the task of making myself understood in french completely took away the stress and nervousness i sometimes relate with performing. and this was a very good thing.

i introduced the piece and asked the whole audience to take their shoes off and take a seat in a big circle on the stage. i had some chairs, but there was way too much audience to fit them all on the chairs, and i apologized for that. to my surprise most of them went to sit on the floor, and many of the chairs i had hunted throughout the theatre were left unused. they made a very large circle. i felt relaxed, the whole space changed, and the audience who left their seats became a different kind of social group, they suddenly had connection with each other. i liked that part, it felt very important considering the whole piece, even though i had never thought about it before. i just wanted people in a big circle on the stage. but the action of leaving their seats, taking off their shoes and coming up there created a shared experience and an intimate one between them, which felt like a major part of the piece.

s'il vous plaît, fermez les yeux.


mettez votre attention à les sensations sur votre peau.
comment se sent-elle?
qu'est-ce que vous sentez?
les mouvements de l'air?
les materiaux de vos vetements?
vos cheveux?
est-ce qu'il y a les endroits vides, sans sensation?

imaginez, mais faites pas.
imaginez, comment sentirait-il toucher la paume d'une main avec l'autre.

et puis, touchez la paume d'une main avec l'autre.
comment est-ce qu'elles sentent?

cette piece,
je vous invite venir me toucher.
toucher en quelque façon que vous voulez.

s'il vous plaît, dites-moi de m'arrêter, avant que je cours dans quelqu'un, avant qu'il y a une collision,
parce que je ne peux rien voir.

vous puovez aussi dire les autres de s'arrêter, si vous voyez quelque chose qui vous trouvez mauvais.

quand vous voulez voir, pouvez-vous ouvrir les yeux.

i did not use the sound score, the time was too short for it to work. but i sang a song towards the end of the piece, the west coast of finland ballade ...allt under den linden så gröna. i had been singing it during our residency at PAF, and Donna Faye had suggested i use it instead of Quand je serais vieille, because it brought to her the sensation of suspended falling. it worked for me.
i was surprised by the amount of touches, i did not expect so many.

it is a weird study of vulnerability - i feel that even though i am blindfolded and look vulnerable, i am still very much in control of the situation. i am manipulating the space and the audience. they are the ones who feel the discomfort, if nobody comes up to touch me and nothing happens. and they are the ones to feel the responsibility to take care i don't hit things, and the responsibility to stop the action if something feels inappropriate or bad to them. yet they are in a group. they can always wait for someone else to do or say something, but they are also witnessed by each other in that action. how long to wait before acting yourself? maybe the dancer already hit the light tree because everyone waited for someone else to warn her, and everyone is left feeling guilty? yes, i am really manipulating them.

but how far is that from any performance, or, any social situation in life?
what if someone kills herself on stage, when do we stop her?
we feel the responsibility to intervene in things that happen around us, and maybe we wait for someone else to do something, or maybe we choose to convince ourselves that we did not see or hear anything, and negotiate how we deal with the guilt, because of course we saw and we heard. like, how many blocks do i walk in NY until i have to turn back and go check if the homeless person lying on the street is hurt or just sleeping?