‘Esitys’ sanan kääntämisestä

Artikkelini “Mistä puhumme kun puhumme ‘esityksestä’? ‘Esitys’ -sanan merkityksestä ja kääntämisestä” on julkaistu niin&näin lehdessä 1/19.

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HTDTWP @SAR

For the SAR conference in Zürich this year, we proposed expanding the Long Table format with objects and actions. Given our past experiences in this conference, we also convened to create a structure that would both introduce our project and propose ways into the format through actions.

Annette began by introducing the project, followed by Hanna proposing the rules of the interaction, specifically that we wished for a constructive, critical arrangement, with action as well as discussion, but that was respectful of each other in the spirit of the Long Table ‘dinner party’ format. Next, Pilvi brought several different kinds of objects, with different kinds of materialities, to the table with her statement:

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The format, as Split Britches describes it, already allows for written or drawn commentary. We had printed our questions to turn them into objects, too, and these got spread around the table:

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After Annette read her proposal and set up her video projection at one end of the table, Tero described his action in which he read a text placed in a shredder that would be turned on either after one minute or after Hanna had thrown three sixes on a D6. In our tests, the one minute had always passed before Hanna managed to throw a six three times, but the performance of course proved to be different. The shredded paper became an object-pile on the table, malleable, incoherent, fragmented text.

This mess later provoked one of our guest artists to ask who will clean the space, alluding to how low-income and precarious work is often performed by immigrant labour and is gendered – here, as Tero pointed out, the artist cleans the mess they make. A conversation that could have been about politics of precarity in the art world did not emerge, perhaps because as members of SAR attending an international conference we were all too privileged to notice this.

The second time a conversation emerged was after Hanna told a story around the Russian doll Pilvi then exposed as someone else’s property she had not yet returned. This conversation connected to earlier discussions on voice and giving voice in performance, but once again, the long table format somehow kept the discussion to such a level of politeness the contents remained rather shallow nods towards identity politics. Perhaps no conversation of this kind amongst a random selection of participants can arise without specificity of focus that would, in advance, limit the scope or topic to a degree of clarity necessary for any in-depth argument. In this instance, the allusions to earlier conversations certainly did not help us achieve coherence.

In the third moment of conversation, which already turned towards the metatextual level of the arrangement, Annette pointed to how citations had functioned in a previous instance of a long table she had attended. This, like the above questions about privilege and focus, turned the discussion also to how, by bringing in objects and other materialities than conversation (spoken or written), we had made the performance more of a performance. There was, in effect, relatively little said during the one hour of discussion, whereas objects moved a lot, provoking drawing, tracing, illustration, and movement. Some of the participants even turned the chairs around the long table into moveable objects, marked with post-it stickers, shifted and piled in what momentarily became almost a competitive re-arrangement of the space within the circle of chairs for the audience.

Nobody sang, but a musician working with improvisation made a sound-art piece from the black balloon and microphone. At one point, the moderator immoderately threw the kiwi birds that sang in our Plymouth SAR performance at the window in what was probably the most violent act and the sole instance of someone actively disobeying the rules read at the beginning.

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In the Q/A led by the moderator, perhaps the most interesting discussion was what made the performance a performance. The focus was on the issues of sharing practices across interdisciplinary and methodological gaps that the call for papers for this conference also raised. Afterwards, as we were cleaning the space, one of our invited artists apologised for not having joined in, because they found the objects alien to their practice. They suggested we should have filmed the performance, because that was what they saw it as being, and analysed what we might not have seen by participating. However, as this performance was also a rehearsal for something already planned for the summer, perhaps it pointed to what needs be fixed and the gaps that have to be minded in participatory acts, especially if we do wish to bring uncomfortable differences to the table.

Thank you all for joining to Research Day IV!

Again, we had a great and interesting Research Day with multiple forms of presentations and viewpoints to the topic, performance and feminism. Thank you for all presenters as well as to the audience! The link for video documentations will be published here as soon as we get them edited.

The keynote Irin van der Tuin was really inspiring! Read an interview of her here.

An Archive in a Library

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This is me on my 45th birthday in one of the best places in the world: the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, New York, New York. The Academy of Finland funding has allowed me to have my first full-time research leave in a decade, and to spend the time efficiently, I gave myself a birthday present: a two-week “residency” in this collection. The above photograph is of the second floor circulating collections, where books are on open shelves, but much of my time was actually spent with archival collections in the third floor.

The archive requires certain specialist tools of the trade to deal with paper in various stages of disintegration – special supports for books whose spines are like those of a very old person arthritic under the weight of years, led string wrapped in cloth to hold one’s place without cracking the page, and a microspatula for turning a new leaf because a fingertip will only turn the edge to dust.

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A historian is taught early on that very old materials or things that are in poor condition have to be treated with care so as to preserve them for others who might need them later. You are never the last person to want to read this or see this or touch this. Someone else – probably someone smarter – will come along and discover it anew. This is a lesson in ethics: I am not who matters, the matter itself has the right to be treated with respect.

Yet, as with ethics, we always will fail and are thus encouraged to try anew and improve on ourselves in treating these material remains of a past chosen for preservation. Disintegration is simply inevitable, entropy seeks to overpower the universe. The materiality of this paper is one of brittleness, the foxing of old pages a sign of passing years like wrinkles on skin. Archivists conserve materials: they use cotton tape and special quality glue, twine and tweezers and brushes and yes, microspatulas, to fix damage, prolonging the life their chronically ailing patients. Some of the materials I sought for were not available because they were scheduled for conservation, others I encountered because they were on exhibit:

Contrasting video of rehearsal and performance, showing costumes with photographs of stagings, posters and film stills, and displaying a wealth of manuscript materials like diaries and letters, the current gallery exhibit celebrates the life of Jerome Robbins, after whom the Dance Collection of the library is named. As with previous exhibitions, most of the objects shown are from this library’s collections, and many have never been shared with the general public. Although the exhibit cannot be as critical as a research might wish it to be, the selection of different kinds of things somehow emphasises the sheer range of what remains of a long career, if some of the sacrifices made on the altar of that career are only hinted at. At the same time, it draws attention to how finding out what is actually in the collections might require a degree of detective work simply because what is on the shelves and on display is merely a fragment of what is there in the vaults, and for those in the know to request and figure out.

No matter how much care one takes, after some time in the archives, one has breathed in dust that was once part of the archived object, but one has also touched where another has cared enough to turn this particular page – if a little too rapidly for the fibres that used to form a whole but due to their age simply came apart in that one flip of a careless finger. Digital versions of archival materials do not have this immediate materiality, not even to the degree of the object meticulously positioned in a display case. Reading a digital book lacks the smell of dead organisms used in conveying its message, just as a costume on a dummy lacks the movement of the dancer. The more yellowed and fragile the leaves, the more worn the fabric, the more they recall the turning of the season outside from summer to autumn – fall, in the old version of English still used in America. Archives are corporeal work: a few more hours of sitting in a chair in the cool, air-conditioned room, and my body aches like the book in front of me does not.

Outside, in the rain, leaves are falling.

Regurgitated Perspectives – SAR 2018

A performance by Annette Arlander, Hanna Järvinen, Tero Nauha and Pilvi Porkola
At the 9th SAR – International Conference on Artistic Research
University of Plymouth, April 11th 4 pm – 13th 6 pm 2018
http://www.sarconference2018.org/

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This performance in four parts included A Sermon, A Wake, A Communion and A Hymn. We were dealing with the issues of sympoiesis, anthropophagy and necropolitics as forms of creation to play with critical approaches to artistic research.

In her revisiting of “Day and Night of the Dog and Year of the Dog,” from the video series, Animal Years (2003-2014) Arlander explored whether a process of regurgitation as an artistic method would produce something equally valuable as the production of honey?

A Wake included four different speeches, where gathering around the urn including the possible remains of the deceased did not reveal, who the deceased might have been? A white, male authority, a friend or an unknown heretic?

In a Communion, all four of us consumed a portion of Finnish delicatessen ‘mämmi’, while Järvinen and Nauha discussed the possible alternatives to questioning colonialism and racism in performance practice. They introduced the concepts of anthropophagy, perspectivism, necropolitics; cultural appropriation, philosophers, bears and jaguars.

At the end of a Wake, Porkola leads an intervention, where four different performance scores were written on paper, and send to the audience as paper aeroplanes. The utopian thinking is demonstrated by using event scores when asking one to do something that is more or less impossible.

As the finale of the performance there was a Hymn. The music was based on the traditional Finnish folk song, “Taivas on sininen ja valkoinen”, with new words in English proposing if and how artistic research would eat itself. With this hymn accompanied by synthesizer and Theremin, we asked, if the world will notice, when artistic research may eat itself, and proposed that only united performers and artists will guarantee that art will matter in the future.

An excerpt of this performance was presented at the TUTKE – The Spring Research Day event at Kiasma Theatre, Helsinki on April 25, 2018.

 

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Greetings from Research Day II!

Last week we had Research Day II at Theatre Academy, Uniarts, Helsinki with plenty of interesting papers and experiments! Thank you for all presenters and the audience!

Find more information from here http://www.uniarts.fi/en/events/wed-31012018-1135/research-day-ii-materiality-and-performance

and here https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/281037/281038/1677/1168

We are also happy to announce that Research Day III will be held 23.11.2018!