How Are (were) Things Done, Produced or Effected with Performance?

Our Research Day on 8 November  How Are  Things Done, Produced or Effected with Performance? was inspiring and challenging. Although the idea was to organise a bilingual event, we decided to keep it in English in order to be able to share the conversation with our international guests. The program for the day as well as the abstracts of the presenters are available on the Uniarts website and on the Research Catalogue, for those interested. Here below only a few lines as a summary of sorts.

After an opening by Pilvi Porkola and a welcome by Annette Arlander the moderator Tero Nauha introduced our key note speaker Bojana Cvejić, whose lectureImagining and Feigning” set the tone for the discussions during the day.  

Cvejić began with the suggestion that poetics can be distinguished from other kinds of thought exercised in art by the capacity of pondering the question: “What is the art I would like to see before I can see it?” To muse on a poetical principle, she noted, is different from creation by posing (or choreographing) a problem or devising a technical procedure within a received theoretical framework. While problems are posed in order to be resolved in composition and procedures are applied to technically shape a process, poetical principles direct the thought of creation toward imagination into futurity often leading to a poetic usage of language, she added. In her talk she explored elements of contemporary performance poetics in which imagination gains ground. “Rather than a faculty of forming images, imagination here accounts for the ability to think of something not presently perceived, for thoughts without experiential content. It involves feigning, as in Spinoza’s sense of knowingly entertaining fictions, and abductive reason, as in Charles Sanders Peirce’s notion of conjecturing a hypothesis without firm evidence.” And she related these ideas  to examples of contemporary dance.

The first panel consisted of an open rehearsal with students from MA in Comparative Dramaturgy and Performance Research led by professor Katariina Numminen and a paper presentation by performance artist Natalie Waerden, titled  Transition and Transformation” discussing the potentiality of performative actions to transform our sense of self.

The second panel combined issues related to dance and ethnography, with Hanna Järvinen speaking of “Democratic Bodies in Contemporary Dance”, Elina Seye describing “Practices of Performing at Senegalese Sabar Dance Events” and Lea Kantonen exploring “Performance as a Methodology in Indigenous Studies”.

The third panel was centered on various approaches in music. Mieko Kanno argued for  a close connection betweenMusical Performance and Algorithmic Thinking”,  Elisabeth Belgrano described her poetic project “An Orna/Mentor’s Performance”, and  Susanna Hast discussed her experiences ofMusistance” or musical resistance in combining political science and a lived feminist politics.

In the fourth and last panel, the members of the research group presented their ideas, with Hanna Järvinen as moderator. Tero Nauha gave a philosophical and poetical presentation on “Fictioning and Performance Thinking”, Annette Arlander showed the video essay “The Cliff Revisited”, based on material from Year of the Monkey (2005) and Pilvi Porkola discussed  her experiences of sharing Live Art methods with teachers in Tools for Teaching – Perspectives of Performance Pedagogy and Live Art”.

We ended the day with a brief general discussion, pondering the possible risks and dangers of a notion of performance that is too broad, for instance to be able to distinguish artistic performances from other types of practices. Personally I am biased as a reporter of the discussion, since I am all for an extended understanding of performance as action, process and becoming, and thus something that cannot be limited to humans only.  In order to continue the discussion I here quote physicist and queer theorist Karen Barad:

“To assume that meaning is a property of individual words or groups of words is to stay within a linguistic frame of meaning making. Discourse is not a synonym for language. Discursive practices are the material conditions for making meaning. In my posthumanist account, meaning is not a human-based notion; rather, meaning is an ongoing performance of the world in its differential intelligibility. Intelligibility is usually framed as a matter of intellection and therefore a specifically human capacity. But in my agential realist account, intelligibility is a matter of differential responsiveness, as performatively articulated and accountable, to what matters. Intelligibility is not an inherent characteristic of humans but a feature of the world in its differential becoming. The world articulates itself differently.” (Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway, Duke University Press 2007, 335)


Miten tehdä asioita performanssitaiteella? – How to do things with performance art?

MUU Galleriakeskiviikko – Tero Nauha & Pilvi Porkola

Miten tehdä asioita performanssitaiteella, osa II
Keskustelu Tero Nauhan ja Pilvi Porkolan kanssa
Keskiviikkona 1.11. Klo 18 
MUU galleria, Lönnrotinkatu 33, Helsinki.

Performanssitaiteilijat ja tutkijat Pilvi Porkola ja Tero Nauha keskustelevat aiheesta ”Miten tehdä asioita performanssitaiteella” Annette Arlanderin emännöimänä, 1 marraskuuta klo 18.00! Tapahtuma on osa Galleriakeskiviikkoa.

lisätietoja suomeksi

MUU’s Gallery Wednesday – Tero Nauha & Pilvi Porkola

How do to thing with performance art, part II
Conversation with Tero Nauha and Pilvi Porkola (in Finnish)
Wednesday 1.11. at 6pm
MUU gallery, Lönnrotinkatu 33, Helsinki.

Performance artists and researchers Pilvi Porkola and Tero Nauha discuss the topic “How to do things with performance art” (in Finnish), hosted by Annette Arlander, on 1 November at 6 pm in MUU gallery, Lönnrotinkatu 33. The event is part of Gallery Wednesday.

more info in English

HOW TO DO THINGS WITH PERFORMANCE ART – Conversation with Charles Garoian and Ray Langenbach 26 October 6 pm

How To Do Things With Performance Art
– A conversation with Charles Garoian and Ray Langenbach

Professor Charles Garoian and professor Ray Langenbach discuss the topic, hosted by Annette Arlander, on 26 October at 6 pm in MUU Gallery, Lönnrotinkatu 33. Welcome!

Artist and educator Charles Garoian is former Director, School of Visual Arts and Professor of Art Education, The Pennsylvania State University. He has authored The prosthetic pedagogy of art: Embodied research and practice;  Performing Pedagogy: Towards an Art of Politics; and Spectacle pedagogy: Art, politics, and Visual Culture. with Y. M. Gaudelius.

Ray Langenbach performs, convenes gatherings, documents political events, and writes on education, cultural theory, performance and SEAsian art.  He is Professor of Performance Art and Theory, Live Art and Performance Studies, Theatre Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki.

More information here

Miten tehdä asioita performanssitaiteella
– Keskustelu Charles Garoianin ja Ray Langenbachin kanssa

Professori Charles Garoian ja professori Ray Langenbach keskustelevat Annette Arlanderin emännöimänä, 26. lokakuuta klo 18:00 MUU Galleriassa, Lönnrotinkatu 33. Tervetuloa!

Taiteilija ja kasvattaja Charles Garoian on entinen Visuaalisten Taiteiden laitoksen Toiminnanjohtaja ja Taidekasvatuksen Professori Pennsylvania State –yliopistosta. Hän on kirjoittanut teokset The prosthetic pedagogy of art: Embodied research and practice; Performing Pedagogy: Towards an Art of Politics; ja Spectacle pedagogy: Art, politics, and Visual Culture yhdessä Y. M. Gaudeliuksen kanssa.

Ray Langenbach esiintyy, kutsuu koolle kokoontumisia, dokumentoi poliittisia tapahtumia ja kirjoittaa opetuksesta, kulttuuriteoriasta, performanssista ja SEAsian -taiteesta. Hän on Performanssitaiteen ja teorian Professori Live Art and Performance Studies –ohjelmassa Taideyliopiston Teatterikorkeakoulussa.

Lisätietoja täältä


PERFORMANCE ARTIST’S WORKBOOK! The book launch Wed 11th Oct at Muu


Pilvi Porkolan toimittama teos Performance artist’s workbook: on teaching and learning performance art: essays and exercises julkistetaan Helsingissä Muugalleriassa 11.10 klo 18. Tilaisuudessa kirjan artikkeleiden kirjoittajat Ray Langenbach, Annette Arlander, Hanna Järvinen, Tero Nauha ja Pilvi Porkola kertovat teksteistään. Ennen tilaisuutta on mahdollisuus tutustua Annette Arlanderin näyttelyyn.
Performance artist’s workbook: on teaching and learning performance art: essays and exercises edited by Pilvi Porkola will be launched in Helsinki in Muu gallery 11 October at 6 pm. The writers of the articles included in the book, Ray Langenbach, Annette Arlander, Hanna Järvinen, Tero Nauha and Pilvi Porkola will talk about their texts. Before the event there is a possibility to enjoy Annette Arlander’s exhibition.
More information about the book


You will find an online version here.

You can buy it here.


How to Do Things with Performance in Turku?


Last weekend we visited Turku; our seminar “How to Do Things with Performance?” was part of the New Performance Turku -festival programme ( Turku was autumnal but nice, and the festival as enchanting as usual.

I started the seminar with a performance, “Some Things”. Hanna Järvinen talked about the project Jeux and asked the seminar participants to do a walking exercise. Annette Arlander showed us a video essay, “Year of the Goat Revisited”. Tero Nauha had a presentation with the title “Some Thoughts on Actualizations and Becomings” and played a theremin.



Besides the seminar I had my project “The Nomad Library” in the main library in Turku and Tero had his performance “An Advent of Performance” in WAM (Wäinö Aaltosen Museo).



We were also very happy to have a book launch for our new publication Performance Artist’s Workbook: Essays on teaching and learning performance art (ed. Pilvi Porkola) on Friday at HULLABALOO – club. As part of my speech I asked people to actualize one exercise from the book. For this situation I chose Helge Meyer’s exercise “Walking in Somebody Else’s Shoes” (well, we didn’t have time to do it for 30 minutes, but already 7 minutes in a club context worked very well.)

Walking in Somebody Else’s Shoes
Ask the participants to take off their shoes. Let them put their shoes into the middle of the space. Tell them about the meaning of clothes: on the one hand, clothes have a practical need. On the other hand, worn clothes have a deep personal meaning to their owners.
Ask the participants now to take one pair of shoes from the middle, but not their own shoes. Ask them to put them on and take a walk for at least half an hour, preferably one hour. Tell them to do normal things in the public space, maybe going shopping or just strolling around.
After their return, do a reflection of the experience: did their way of moving change? Did they feel different? Did they think of the owner of the shoes?
Explanation of the exercise: on the one hand, this exercise has a body-centered meaning, which is important in the teaching of Performance Art (in my opinion). The participants create a physical experience, which is maybe even a painful experience. On the other hand, this exercise might have a more poetic value: the participants “walk in somebody else’s shoes”, which can mean that they change their perception and perspective to take an empathic position through the eyes (here shoes!) of another human being.

by Helge Meyer, Performance Artist’s Workbook page 113.


The first photo: Pilvi Porkola

Other photos: Jussi Virkkumaa


Call: Research Day 8 November 2017

How are things done, produced or effected with performance?

The Finnish network for performance studies and the research project How to do things with performance? organise a joint research day 8 November 2017 10 am to 6 pm at University of the Arts Theatre Academy, Auditorium 1.

We invite everybody interested in performance studies, research on and in performance art and live art and in performance as research to debate the topic in English or in Finnish.

The main speaker of the day is performance theorist and performance maker Bojana Cvejic, whose most recent work Choreographing Problems (2015) discusses the relationship of philosophy and experimental choreographic practices by analysing some central works of contemporary dance. Her approach can be linked to performance philosophy as well, the aim of which is to bypass and overcome the abyss between making and thinking, art and philosophy. (Laruelle, Ó Maoilearca, Cull, O’Sullivan). Cvejic is one of the founding members of the group Walking Theory, which represents the new critical theory of the former Eastern European countries. She is professor in dance at Oslo National Academy of the Arts.

In the research project How to do things with performance? (2016-2020) funded by the Academy of Finland we have looked for answers with the help of some concepts like fabulation, fictionalising, framing, reimagining and repeating. Fabulation refers here to the social way we are creating shared meanings. Fictionalising, on the contrary, is a mode of thinking which does not strive to any kind of equivalence in relation to the real or reality. Repeating with variation can be linked on one hand to learning, the stabilizing of impact, and on the other hand to the production of difference.

These are of course not the only verbs central for performance and performing. We invite everybody interested in these issues to ponder how and in what way things are done with performance. Our aim is to compile a thematic issue on the topic to RUUKKU, journal of artistic research in Spring 2018.

Please send abstracts of proposals for presentations, in English or Finnish no later than 9 October to


Annette Arlander, Helena Erkkilä, Hanna Järvinen, Tero Nauha, Pilvi Porkola, Taina Riikonen ja Helena Saarikoski

The full call is available as pdf Research Day 8 November 2017 – Call

Kutsu tutkimuspäivään 8.11.2017

Miten esityksellä tehdään, tuotetaan, ja aiheutetaan? 

Esitystutkimuksen verkoston ja Miten tehdä asioita esityksellä –tutkimushankkeen yhteinen tutkimuspäivä 8.11.2017 klo 10-18 Taideyliopiston Teatterikorkeakoulussa, Auditorio 1.

Kutsumme kaikki esitystutkimuksesta, performanssin tai esitystaiteen tutkimuksesta, ja esityksellä tai esittämällä tutkimisesta mukaan keskustelemaan aiheesta englanniksi ja suomeksi. Tutkimuspäivän pääpuhujaksi olemme kutsuneet esitysteoreetikko ja esitysten tekijä Bojana Cvejicin, jonka tuorein teos Choreographing Problems (2015) käsittelee filosofian ja kokeellisten koreografisten käytäntöjen suhdetta analysoimalla muutamia keskeisiä nykytanssin teoksia. Hänen lähestymistapansa voi kytkeä myös performanssifilosofiaan, jonka pyrkimyksenä on ohittaa ja ylittää tekemisen ja ajattelemisen, taiteen ja filosofian kuilu. (Laruelle, Ó Maoilearca, Cull, O’Sullivan). Cvejic on yksi Walking Theory ryhmän perustajista, joka edustaa uutta entisten itä-Euroopan maiden kriittistä teoriaa. Hän on Oslon Taideakatemian tanssitaiteen professori.

Suomen Akatemian tutkimushankkeessa Miten tehdä asioita esityksellä? (2016-2020) olemme etsineet vastausta muutamien käsitteiden kautta, kuten fabulaatio, fiktiointi, kehystäminen, uudelleenkuvittelu ja toistaminen. Fabulointi viitta tässä sosiaaliseen tapaan jolla luomme yhteisiä merkityksiä. Fiktiointi sen sijaan on ajattelun muoto, joka ei pyri minkäänlaiseen vastaavuuteen todellisen tai reaalisen suhteen. Toistaminen varioimalla kytkeytyy yhtäältä oppimiseen, vaikutusten vakiintumiseen, toisaalta erojen tuottamiseen.

Nämä eivät tietenkään ole ainoat esityksille ja esittämiselle keskeiset verbit. Kutsumme kaikki aiheesta kiinnostuneet pohtimaan, miten ja millä tavoin esityksellä tehdään. Tavoitteena on koota aiheesta teemanumero RUUKKUun, vertaisarvioituun taiteellisen tutkimuksen kausijulkaisuun keväällä 2018.

Lyhyet tiivistelmät alustuksista, englanniksi tai suomeksi, pyydetään lähettämään 9.10. mennessä osoitteella


Annette Arlander, Helena Erkkilä, Hanna Järvinen, Tero Nauha, Pilvi Porkola, Taina Riikonen ja Helena Saarikoski

Laajempi kutsu taustoineen luettavissa pdf-muodossa esitystutkimuspäivä 8-11-2017