Last weekend we visited Turku; our seminar “How to Do Things with Performance?” was part of the New Performance Turku -festival programme (www.newperformance.fi). 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