Research Day II: Materiality of and in Performance

The research project How to do things with performance? organises a second research day with Rick Dolphijn as keynote speaker, on 2 March 2018 at University of the Arts Theatre Academy.



The research project How to do things with performance? organises a second research day with Rick Dolphijn as keynote speaker, on 2 March 2018 at University of the Arts Theatre Academy, Auditorium 1.

What is the matter of performance?
What is the matter with performance?
What matters in performance?

Performance studies, performance research and performance-as-research can be understood as the study of various practices and processes besides cultural and artistic performances. As art making in artistic research, performance or performing can function as a central research method or as one way of presenting research results. (Allegue et al. 2009; Hunter & Riley 2009; Kershaw & Nicholson 2011; Nelson 2013; Arlander In this context, we are especially interested in the materiality of performance.

In her influential text “Posthumanist performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter” (2003) Karen Barad wrote: “The ubiquitous puns on ‘matter’ do not, alas, mark a rethinking of the key concepts (materiality and signification) and the relationship between them. [–] There is an important sense in which the only thing that does not seem to matter anymore is matter.” (Barad 2003, 801) Today, the situation has changed. Feminist theorizing has turned to matter with a vengeance (Alaimo & Hekman 2008; Coole & Frost 2010) New materialist research (e.g. Barad 2007; Dolphijn & Van der Tuijn 2012; Van der Tuijn 2015) has emphasized the inseparability of materiality and discursivity. Through posthumanist research (e.g. Ó Maoilearca 2015; Braidotti 2013) performativity widens to concern more-than-human dimensions; performance is not only a human activity.

The main speaker of the day is Dr. Rick Dolphijn, who has a background in philosophy and art theory and is interested in the theoretical humanities at large, media and performance theory in particular. He wrote (with Iris van der Tuin) New Materialism: Interviews and Cartographies (Open Humanities Press 2012), has written on new materialism, ecology/ecosophy and art and is interested in the developments in continental philosophy and speculative thought. His academic work has appeared in journals like Angelaki, Rhizomes, Collapse and Deleuze Studies. He edited (with Rosi Braidotti) This Deleuzian Century: Art, Activism, Life (Brill/Rodopi 2014/5) and Philosophy after Nature (2017).

In the research project How to do things with performance? (2016-2020) funded by the Academy of Finland we have looked at the materiality of and the material-discursive practices involved in the performance, by engaging with a wide variety of materialities, like historical performance descriptions, with laundry, with scores, with a Theremin, with vinyl records, with old video works, with plants… These are of course not the only matters that can be crucial for performance and performing.

We invite everybody interested in performance-as-research or research on and in performance, performance art and live art to debate these questions and ponder how and in what way materiality matters in performance.

Please send abstracts (max 250 words) of proposals for 15 min. presentations and a brief bio, no later than 15 February 2018 to

Annette Arlander, Hanna Järvinen, Tero Nauha, Pilvi Porkola

Ruukku 11 calls for proposals – Ruukku 11 kutsuu ehdotuksia

The theme for RUUKKU #11 is How to do things with performance? An interest in performances, actions, practices and change is shared by artistic research and performance studies. Performance or performing can function as a central research method, as the medium of research or as part of the presentation of research outputs. How is performance as research actually done? What and how can things be done with performance?

Proposals for articles, expositions or shorter contributions (voices) are invited for no later than 31.3. The editors of this issue are Annette Arlander, Hanna Järvinen, Tero Nauha and Pilvi Porkola. The entire call is available here

NB. the book advertised in the image is not related to the call.


RUUKKU #11 numeron teemana on Miten tehdä asioita esityksellä? Kiinnostus esityksiin, toimintaan, käytäntöihin ja muutokseen yhdistää taiteellista tutkimusta ja esitystutkimusta. Esitys tai esittäminen voivat toimia keskeisenä tutkimusmenetelmänä, tutkimuksen mediumina, tai osana tutkimustulosten esittelyä. Miten esityksellä tutkiminen aktuaalisesti tapahtuu? Mitä ja miten voimme tehdä asioita esityksellä?

Ehdotukset artikkeleiksi, ekspositioiksi tai lyhyemmiksi puheenvuoroiksi toivotaan 31.3. mennessä. Numeron toimittavat Annette Arlander, Hanna Järvinen, Tero Nauha ja Pilvi Porkola. Kutsu kokonaisuudessaan löytyy täältä

Huom. kuvassa mainostettu kirja ei liity kutsuun.

What did we do in 2017 – a summary


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.



Mitä tuli tehtyä 2017 – yhteenveto

Miten tehdä asioita esityksellä? – hanke käynnistyi  jo syksyllä 2016, mutta 2017 oli ensimmäinen kokonainen vuotemme. Kukaan hankkeen tutkijoista ei työskennellyt hankkeessa täysipäiväisesti koko vuotta ja osa ei virallisesti lainkaan, mutta paljon tuli silti tehtyä.

Yhteisiä julkaisujakin on syntynyt: Syksyn 2016 kick-off seminaarin materiaaleihin perustuva, keväällä ilmestynyt Ice-Hole Live Art Journal issue #6  toimi hyvänä avauksena esitystaidekentän suuntaan, olemalla samalla kertaa sekä dokumentti seminaarista, että kokoelma kannanottoja, puheenvuoroja ja esimerkkejä siitä, miten tehdä asioita esityksellä. Myöskin Pilvi Porkolan toimittama Performance artist’s workbook: On teaching and learning performance art. Essays and exercises. (Theatre Academy Publication Series 61.) ilmestyi syksyllä. Se sisältää paitsi suuren joukon harjoitteita performanssitaiteilijoilta eri puolilta maailmaa, myös artikkelit kultakin hankkeen tutkijalta, ja on sekin vapaasti luettavissa verkossa. Ensimmäinen yhdessä kirjoitettu, yhteisen työpajan kokemuksiin pohjautuva projektin esittely suomeksi, otsikolla “Miten tehdä asioita esityksellä – annetuissa (työpaja) olosuhteissa” on julkaistu  TAHITI -lehdessä 3/2017.

Ensimmäisen vuoden kohokohtia olivat konferenssit ja seminaarit, joihin osallistuimme yhteisillä esittelyillä, alustuksilla tai tapahtumilla. Kesän konferenssikiertue aloitettiin kotikentältä, parituntisella neli-osaisella työpajalla “What is Given?” SAR (Society for Artistic Research) konferensissa Please Specify! Helsingissä 28-29 huhtikuuta  2017. Sen jälkeen oli vuorossa kaksipäiväinen tapahtuma, joka koostui työpajoista, seminaarialustuksista ja esityksistä otsikolla “Accessing Performance”, osana Camino events ohjelmaa Artistic Research paviljongissa Venetsiassa  17 ja 18 toukokuuta 2017. Tämän vuoden PSi-(Performance Studies International) konferenssiin emme saaneet omaa paneelia, joten esittelimme kukin työtämme taiteellisen tutkimuksen työryhmässä (Artistic Research Working Group) osana PSI#23 Overflow  konferenssia Hampurissa 8-11 kesäkuuta 2017. Sen sijaan  IFTR (International Federation for Theatre Research) konferensissa Unstable Geographies – Multiple Theatricalities Sao Paulossa 10-14 heinäkuuta 2007, pidimme alustuksemme kahdessa eri paneelissa, “Performance Philosophy”  ja “Body, Space and Performativity”, koska paneelit oli jaettu kolmen hengen kokonaisuuksiin. Sen lisäksi vierailimme Sao Paulon Escola del Teatro -koulussa ja pidimme siellä yhteisen, neliosaisen työpajaesityksen 6 heinäkuuta 2017.

Syksyllä keskityttiin taas toimintaan kotimaassa: 7.10. 2017  järjestettiin seminaaritapahtuma “How to do things with performance?” New Performance Turku Festivaalilla, jolla sekä Pilvi Porkolalla että Tero Nauhalla oli myös omat esityksensä.  Performance Artist’s Workbook -kirjan Helsingin julkistamistilaisuus  11.10. ja yleisökeskustelut Charles Garoianin ja Ray Langenbachin kanssa 26.10., sekä  Tero Nauhan  ja Pilvi Porkolan  kanssa 1.11., järjestettiin yhteistyössä Muu gallerian kanssa. Vuoden päätapahtuma oli kuitenkin yhteistyössä Esitystutkimuksen verkoston kanssa järjestämämme avoin tutkimuspäivä, Research Day: How are things done, produced or effected with performance? Taideyliopiston Teatterikorkeakoulussa 8.11. 2017. Kutsuvieraanamme oli Bojana Cvejic, yhteistyössä Liikkeellä Marraskuussa festivaalin kanssa. Päivän teemaan liittyvää julkaisua olemme kokoamassa vuoden 2018 aikana.

Näiden yhteisten alustusten, esittelyjen ja tapahtumien lisäksi kukin projektin tutkijoista on esitellyt työtään oman erityisalansa konferensseissa, esiintynyt eri yhteyksissä ja julkaissut artikkeleita sekä kansainvälisissä että kotimaisissa julkaisuissa. Esimerkiksi Hanna Järvinen osallistui NOFOD (Nordic Forum for Dance Research) konferenssiin Göteborgissa kesäkuussa ja Dance Studies Association -järjestön konferenssiin Ohio State University’ssa Columbuksessa, OH lokakuussa. Hän julkaisi myös artikkelit julkaisuissa Nordic Journal of Dance 8(2) ja Tiede & edistys 4/2017, jälkimmäisen vuoropuheluna koreografi Liisa Pentin kanssa. Tämän kaltaisista alustuksista ja artikkeleista suurin osa on sijoitettu aikajanalle projektin omilla sivuilla How to do things with performance – Miten tehdä asioita esityksellä Research Catalogue alustalla.


Mitä itse kullekin on jäänyt vuodesta mieleen merkittävänä saavutuksena, onkin sitten toinen juttu.

Omasta puolestani (Annette Arlander) luulisin, että olennaisinta oli saada koottua ja esitettyä Animal Years I ja II videokoosteet Venetsiassa, ei siksi että monikaan olisi ne nähnyt, vaan koska se on nyt tehty. Kiinnostavin ja merkittävin käytännön löytö oli kuitenkin ajatus rakentaa videoessee yhdistämällä  tietyn vuoden videoinstallaatioiden materiaali samaan kuvaan ja liittämällä siihen akateeminen alustus selostuksena. Tätä kokeilin ensimmäistä kertaa seminaarissa  Turussa alustuksessa “The Shore Revisited”, lähtökohtana Vuohen vuosi (2004),  ja innostuin sen verran, että sovelsin samaa periaatetta myös syksyn tutkimuspäivän alustuksessani “The Cliff Revisited”, lähtökohtana Apinan vuosi (2005). Niinpä pohjakuva Kukon vuoden (2006) koostetta ja kevään tutkimuspäivän alustusta varten onkin jo tehty.













Artikkeli julkaistu Mustekalan numerossa “Taide, työ ja kritiikki”

Mustekala “Taide, työ ja kritiikki”
4/2017, Vol 69

Mustekalan vuoden viimeisen teemanumeron aihe on ”Taide, työ ja kritiikki”. Taiteesta, työstä ja kritiikistä keskusteltaessa kohdataan kysymys siitä, mikä on taiteilijan tehtävä, mitä hän tuottaa, kenelle ja miksi. Voiko taidetta enää olla olemassa ”pelkkänä taiteena”, ja miten taiteen tulee toimia epäkohtien edessä?
Tero Nauha “Ajattelun mahdollinen talous”:

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