The research project How to do things with performance? began already in the autumn 2016, but the year 2017 was our first whole year of working. None of the researchers in the project did work full time in this project for the whole year, and some of us officially not at all, but a lot of things were nevertheless done.
We made some shared publications: The Ice-Hole Live Art Journal issue #6 , published last spring, based on material from the kick-off seminar in autumn 2016 was a good opening towards the Live Art scene, by being at the same time a documentation of the seminar and a collection of perspectives, standpoints and examples of how to do things with performance. Also edited by Pilvi Porkola, the Performance artist’s workbook: On teaching and learning performance art. Essays and exercises. (Theatre Academy Publication Series 61.) was published last autumn and contains, besides a large amount of exercises from performance artists all over the world, articles by all researchers in the project. It is also openly available online. The first text written together, based on a jointly held workshop, in Finnish, with the title “Miten tehdä asioita esityksellä – annetuissa (työpaja) olosuhteissa” [How to do things with performance – in given (workshop) circumstances] is published in TAHITI journal 3/2017.
The highlights of the first year conferences and seminars that we participated in with joint presentations, papers and events. The conference tour of the summer began at home, with a two-hour, four-part workshop “What is Given?” at the SAR (Society for Artistic Research) conference Please Specify! in Helsinki 28-29 April 2017. The next stop after that was a two-day event comprised of workshops, presentations and performances under the heading “Accessing Performance”, as part of the Camino events program of the Artistic Research Pavillion in Venice 17-18 May 2017. For this years PSi-(Performance Studies International) conference we did not receive a panel of our own, an thus each of us presented their work in the (Artistic Research Working Group) as part of PSI#23 Overflow conference in Hamburg 8-11 June 2017. At the IFTR (International Federation for Theatre Research) conference Unstable Geographies – Multiple Theatricalities in Sao Paulo 10-14 July 2007, we gave our papers in two different panels, “Performance Philosophy” and “Body, Space and Performativity”, because each panel had three presenters. Besides that we visited the Sao Paulo Escola del Teatro and held a joint workshop- performance in four parts there on 6 July 2017.
In the autumn we again focused on work at home: 7 October 2017 we organised a seminar event “How to do things with performance?” at the New Performance Turku Festival, where both Pilvi Porkola and Tero Nauha also performed their own shows. The Helsinki launch of the Performance Artist’s Workbook on 11 October and the public discussions with Charles Garoian and Ray Langenbach on 26 October, and with Tero Nauha and Pilvi Porkola on 1 November, were organised in collaboration with Muu gallery. The main event of the year was probably the open research day we organised together with Esitystutkimuksen verkosto [the Finnish Performance Studies Network] How are things done, produced or effected with performance? at the University of the Arts Helsinki Theatre Academy on 8 November 2017. Our invited guest speaker was Bojana Cvejic, in collaboration with Moving in November Festival. We are planning a publication related to the theme of the day for 2018.
Besides these joint papers, presentations and events each of the researchers in the project has presented their work in the specialised conferences of their fields, performed in various contexts and published articles in both international and national publications. For example, Hanna Järvinen participated in the Nordic Forum for Dance Research Conference in Gothenburg in June and the Dance Studies Association conference at Ohio State University in Columbus, OH in October. She published articles in Nordic Journal of Dance 8(2) and in Tiede & edistys 4/2017, the latter in dialogue with choreographer Liisa Pentti. Most such presentations and publications are placed on the timeline of the project’s webpages on the Research Catalogue How to do things with performance .
What remains for each of us as the main achievement of the year is another matter.
For my part (Annette Arlander) I think the most crucial thing was to compose and present the video compilations Animal Years I and II in Venice, not because so many people would have seen them, but because it is now done. The most interesting and important practical finding, however, was the idea to create a video essay by combining the video installation material of a particular year in one image and add an academic presentation as a voice-over speech. This I tried for the first time in the seminar in Turku, in my presentation “The Shore Revisited”, with the Year of the Goat (2004) as a starting point, and was so fascinated that I tried to apply the same principle in my presentation at the autumn research day, “The Cliff Revisited”, with the Year of the Monkey (2005) as a starting point. Thus, the base image for the compilation based on the Year of the Rooster (2006) and the presentation for the research day in spring is already done.