The sixth CARPA (Colloquium on Artistic Research in Performing Arts) took place at the Kiasma Theatre and in collaboration with the ADIE (Artistic Doctorates in Europe) research project, with a very broad and multi-faceted theme “Artistic research performs and transforms: Bridging practices, contexts, traditions & futures”, which we responded to by proposing  a lecture performance called “The transformative potential of performance”.  Each of us prepared one section, playing with our own themes and tools, and then we ended by performing together as a quartet. Here is the introductory text, based on the abstract, that I read at the beginning, (above photo by Hanna Järvinen, other photos by Mia Jalerva):

Today the research project How to do things with performance? will examine the transformative potential of performance in a practical and experimental manner, from a critical, social, environmental, and aesthetic perspective, in this lecture performance, which consists of talks, a participatory dance event or office disco, and a quartette or sound performance. The questions explored are the following:

  • Tero Nauha: How do practices, institutions, and potentialities correlate futures? By building bridges between traditions and futures, what do we reclaim for our use?
  • Pilvi Porkola: How do public space and private space overlap and intersect in the context of an institution, like an office? How to perform “the office”?”
  • Annette Arlander: Could expanding the idea of who or what performs assist in decolonizing our relationship to the environment, to everything else around us?
  • Hanna Järvinen: Is what makes performance performance an aesthetic quality and if so, what differentiates it from the not-aesthetic?

Let’s begin.

And then we began, with Tero, who presented a theoretical paper called “The End”, without visuals this time:

Then Pilvi  told about her work with institutions and invited everybody for an office disco, which turned out to be the transformative and participatory highlight of the show:

Then my video essay with voice-over text “Revisiting the Juniper” was screened, while I posed next to it:

Then Hanna read and showed some code, and talked about the performativity of code and the aesthetics involved:

As a grande finale we performed a sound score with papers, the core idea and starting point for the whole lecture performance:

Much of the positive feedback we received (that came to my ears) had to do with the ‘gaps’ between our individual parts, which all stood in a rather stark contrast to each other. Here we suddenly had the productive gaps that we did not really get at during our session at the SAR conference in Zürich. In some sense the gaps between our diverse approaches, which we did not try to bridge or explain in any way, probably invited the audience members to consider what the connection was or could be. For me those ‘gaps’ provided space, literally a place for the multiplicity of approaches to performance, a feeling that  in those gaps there is a space for almost anything or everything, and thus also  space for me and you and all kinds of things…  Well, looking at the images I nevertheless realize I should have chosen a black skirt.