/  Stuff

This page is for selected ramblings on various subjects ranging from acting techniques to experimental contemporary dance to clubs.

Finnish version of this page has also some different posts.

Power and Prejudice

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

I wrote an article about my current artistic work to the latest edition of Teatteri&Tanssi+Sirkus, a performing arts periodical published in Finland. Unfortunately the article is only in Finnish at the moment.

Imagination, Engagement & Education

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

This post is about a one-day symposium ‘Imagination, Engagement & Education’ organized by Punchdrunk Enrichment in London in November 2016. The whole post only in Finnish (sorry about that).

‘A Scratch Night of Play’ in London

Friday, February 12th, 2016

I was on a superfast research trip to London in December to experience and research scratches combining theatre and game design.

‘A Scratch Night of Play’ was organized by London-based company Coney. The runner of Coney Tassos Stevens asked me to visit their blog and write about my experience and a bit about the differencies of British and Finnish approaches to theatre and game design.

You can read the post by jumping here.

Games and Augmented Theatre

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

Games and Augmented Theatre

I wrote an article about games in the performing arts for the Finnish performing arts periodical Teatteri&Tanssi+Sirkus (‘Theatre&Dance+Circus’) in Spring 2015. You can read the article by taking a jump here. Unfortunately the article is only in Finnish at the moment.

Immersed Spectator

Monday, July 6th, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

     

     


This is the first article I wrote about immersive theatre to Finnish performing arts periodical Teatteri&Tanssi+Sirkus (‘Theatre&Dance+Circus’) in Spring 2013. To my knowledge it’s also the first time anyone has written about immersive theatre in Finland.

You can read the whole article after the jump here. (Only in Finnish at the moment, sorry.)

Photo from ‘In the Beginning was the End’ by dreamthinkspeak. Photographer: Elliott Franks.

The Melting Pot of Sexualities

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

This is a post about an article I wrote about the second xPlore festival in Berlin. The article was first published in Kaltio magazine. You can find the whole article in Finnish on the Finnish side of this page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit on Finnish National Radio

Saturday, March 21st, 2015

SHH visited Finnish National Radio to discuss immersive theatre. You can listen to the discussion here (only in Finnish).

56th Venice Biennial

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

SHH participated as an artistic researcher in the 1st Research Pavillion organized by the University of the Arts Helsinki at 56th Venice Biennial in 10 – 20 June 2015.

He wrote about the Biennial to Finnish periodical Voima and its webzine Fifi. You can read the article in Fifi here (in Finnish only).

A moment

Friday, December 12th, 2014

A passing moment from ’Then She Fell’, an immersive theatre and dance performance by Third Rail Projects in New York City, 4th December 2014.

A boy in a doctor’s suite guides me to a wooden chair under a staircase in a small, enclosed space in an old building. He opens a door with a vertical mirror attached to it. The mirror reflects a girl on the other end of a room with her naked back to me washing herself in gentle movements. Her waist is covered with a white cloth.

I don’t know if this is how it happened. This is how I remember it now, the next day.

When she has finished washing herself, she turns slowly to look at me through the mirror. Then she walks to the door and moves it slightly so that I can’t see her.

She asks me if she can ask me a question.

”Sure.”

”Do you think it’s more important to follow the rules or to do what you want?”, she asks.

”I don’t know.”

”When did you last did what you wanted?”

”I can’t remember, and it makes me a bit melancholy.”

I really don’t remember. I don’t mean I haven’t broken the rules for a long time. At least that’s what I tell myself. It’s just not something that I remember at that passing moment when a beautiful girl is asking you good questions. 

The rest of her garments are beside me outside the door. She asks me to give them to her one by one and I obey. Then she opens the door wider, steps through the doorway and asks for the last one. I hand it to her, but when she takes it I don’t give it to her.

”Please.”, she says, not in any particular way.

I would like to keep having this discussion as this is the first time during the performance when it really responds to me beyond simple choices. There suddenly seems to be more space for meaning generated by my involvement. Before this moment it has been a performance that’s been performed for me to watch, not so much to participate in.

I give the last piece to her after a moment’s hesitation.

I would want to explore this moment further, but it feels that there’s really no real space in the structure of the performance to allow this. The structure says to me she can’t really stay. She walks up the stairs to the next floor and looks at me one more time through the mirror and asks:

”When did you fall in love the first time?”

”When I was about six.”

She leaves me and a female doctor comes to get me.


 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Rachel I. Berman (Alice). Photo by Darial Sneed.

There has been a lot of other writings about the performance which tell you more explicitly about the show. You can also take a look at the site of ‘Then She Fell’ to get more sense than you will from this write-up. Here I wanted to write directly from the point of view of one specific moment, because I think those are the ones where the meaning is created especially in an immersive performance.

It’s definitely exhilarating what is happening in immersive theatre at the moment in both United States and Europe. In the States it seems to be developing a quality of a new form of entertainment when Europe is more geared towards developing it as an artistic form. By this I don’t want to belittle the ambition of the artists in the States, but the lack of public funding reflects in the performances. The latest and biggest production by Punchdrunk (’The Drowned Man’) cost 19 £ (from a student) in London when ’Sleep No More’ costs 125 $ in New York. The funding affects who are the ones who can afford to go and experience the performances.

‘Then She Fell’ connects with the approach of Punchdrunk in that they both have a pleasurable sweet and sour quality of physicality paired with intense feelings. The feelings of the spectator are still mostly quite safe. I feel that there would still be a lot more to discover even only in terms of emotions. But that is quite natural at this stage when immersive theatre is still in the process of finding its form. And I think that’s great because it promises a lot of thrilling and intense works for the future.

The question that remained with me from the performance was the girl asking when did you last break the rules. I contacted the production company as I would’ve wanted to discuss with the specific performer what happens in those moments, what kind of reality or fiction of intimacy they create and what kind of power structures they cause in relation to the spectator.

The production company said it’s not possible. I think I tried to break a rule that’s not supposed to be broken.

The World or Enlightenment?

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

The article published originally in Yoga journal Ananda in May 2014.

The World or Enlightenment?

Acting meets Yoga

This post is about an article for the Finnish Yoga journal Ananda that discusses the benefits of Yoga for acting, considers the differing opinions and cites Grotowski as one theatre practitioner who experimented with Yoga in developing new acting technique. I also talk briefly about my own experience in relation to acting and Yoga.

You can read the article – unfortunately only in Finnish at the moment – here.

About acting technique

Friday, September 5th, 2014

I have always said that clear technique is the groundstone for all great art. This page is from the world premiere of Kansallissankari (‘The National Hero’) written by Okko Leo and directed by Vihtori Rämä.

 

 

 

 

Click on the image to open in a bigger window.

Into a New Space

Monday, June 9th, 2014

This post is about an article for the cultural magazine Kaltio 1/2014 called Uuteen avaruuteen (‘Into a New Space‘).

The article discusses artistic research as a new paradigm for research after quantitative and qualitative research paradigms.

You can read the article – unfortunately only in Finnish at the moment – here.

 

 

Photo: Theatre Academy of Finland

A Small Island of Resistance

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Finnish magazine Voima published an article by SHH about a Finnish pioneer of postmodern dance (‘new dance’) Jaana Irmeli Turunen.

You can access the article in Finnish here.

Shakespeare 450

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

 

 

Today marks 450 years since the birth of William Shakespeare. To celebrate the day I made a new Finnish translation of Sonnet 98 as in Finland this day is regrettably not acknowledged at all.

Pathos, drama and flying hats

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

 

 

                    Photo: Marko Mäkinen.

 

This is a text regarding The Real Health Center. The whole text is on the Finnish side of this page. I will come back with a summary in a bit.

The Real Health Center as sound

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

This is a radio interview of The Real Health Center at Radio Classic (unfortunately only in Finnish).

You can access The Real Health Center directly here.

The Real Health Center training

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

Go to The Real Health Center here.

The Stars and the Activists of Immersive Theatre

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

 

 

Sonya Cullingford in Punchdrunk’s ‘The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable’. Photo: Birgit & Rolf.

This post is an article I wrote for the Finnish theatre periodical ‘Teatteri&Tanssi+sirkus’ (2/2014) about immersive theatre.

The whole text is in the Finnish version of this page.

 

 

Conor Doyle, Ed Warner, Omar Gordon, Tomislav English and Vinicius Salles in Punchdrunk’s ‘The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable’.

Photo: Birgit & Rolf.

Immersing continues

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

 

 

Fernanda Prata, Jesse Kovarsky in Punchdrunk’s ‘The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable. Photo: Birgit & Ralf.

There’s a longer article about immersive theatre in the next Finnish theatre periodical Teatteri&Tanssi+sirkus (2/2014). The text will be mostly about the experience of Punchdrunk‘s ‘The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable’ including a discussion with Coney‘s Tassos Stevens expanding further the ideas of immersive theatre.

A bit from the article:

Tassos Stevens talked about how in traditional theatre the writer writes the story to fit inside a presupposed frame. A person comes to the theatre, sits on a chair, the lights go out and the story begins. This is a simplification, but this is usually the format. In immersive theatre you write the journey of that person from the moment she first comes to contact with the piece.

I think it’s a nice distinction.

Below you’ll find a video of Punchrunk’s Felix Barrett discussing other aspects of immersive theatre especially in connection with ‘The Drowned Man’.

On immersing

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Web article in Kaltio

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

In the Finnish cultural magazine Kaltio 6/2013 you can find an article about Vito Acconci and Vladislav Delay performing in Kiasma in November 2013. (The article is unfortunately only in Finnish.)

You can access it here.

10 Very Clear, Logical And Scientific Facts About Artistic Research

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Throughout the Autumn I’ve been meaning to write more on artistic research, but there have been just so many thoughts and feelings that it has seemed impossible to write about them in short form.

That’s why I’ll resort to simple, practical and utterly logical solution: A list.

Here goes.

10 Very Clear, Logical And Scientific Facts About Artistic Research

1. All the texts and discussions centre on practice. Nobody has any time for practice because they spend all their time reading the texts about the practice.

2. Artistic research shouldn’t be based on existing scientific or art production models. To justify this approach, you should formulate your artistic research according to existing scientific or art production models.

3. You should be open for artistic research to unfold in unexpected ways, but to know beforehand how it unfolds.

4. PhD / Doctor of Arts is the highest arts degree in Finland. People see it as an end to your career as an artist.

6. You can’t do anything, because everything is potentially a form of oppression. This is the main reason why systems of oppression continue as they were.

7. You should be critical of everything except the system of criticism itself.

8. You should be able to logically formulate why logic really doesn’t work as an overall principle with art (refer to number 2).

9. You should avoid feelings when discussing anything that has to do with feelings.

You said 10? Oh, I did, didn’t I?

There’s always something that is left out, something you can’t grasp, something beyond your control.

There’s also always something that doesn’t make sense. Not everything does. I don’t think everything should.

And these are also the main reasons why I’m still enjoying immensely playing around with this weird thing called artistic research.

But I haven’t stopped acting or dancing (refer to number 4) or doing other weird things. I see artistic research as a truly wonderful way to deepen that practice, may be even any practice. Kind of like life as practice.

 

 

Article in Voima magazine

Friday, October 4th, 2013

In Finnish magazine Voima (October edition) you can find an article written by SHH about skinheads and violence as seen through films and personal experiences.

You can find the article in Finnish here.

Read Shakespeare If Absolutely Nothing Happens

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Yesterday I had my first presentation as part of my PhD studies. The task was to present one’s research plan as it is at the moment in a way of one’s own choosing.

I took people for a walk. In the beginning I told everyone the subject of my research and in the end of the walk I read them an abstract of my research.

This is the subject:

What kind of strategies can an actor use in interactive performances in order to create meaning together with the audience?

This is the abstract:

The research aims to develop a more precise and more varied approach to corporeal way of acting in relation to interacting with the audience.

The research answers to the need to systematise the acting methods used in interactive performances.

Interactive performances create a new kind of sense of meaning. They open a way to participate in the process of creating meaning in a work of art in a tangible and corporeal way.

In the modern society the meaning of single individual’s personal experience has been trampled over by mass media, complex power structures and endless number of ideologies. Interactive performances return the viewer back to the roots of decision-making, back to one’s own personal and corporeal choice.

The abstract is still very much in process, but points out the main points of view.

I had prepared a complex score for the presentation walk and one of the instructions in the score was ’Read Shakespeare if absolutely nothing happens’.

This Might Turn Out To Be A Serious Mistake

Monday, August 26th, 2013

From the start of August I’ve started working on my PhD for the Theatre Academy in Helsinki which is now a part of the new University of the Arts Helsinki. The whole university is a new combination of Theatre Academy, Sibelius Academy and Finnish Academy of Fine Arts.

My PhD revolves around somatic approach to acting and acting in immersive and interactive performances.

Throughout the years I’ve been trying to find different ways to write about acting which would open new insights without sounding condescending.

Everyone’s relationship to their own experience is unique and they themselves are always the most qualified in that field. That’s the main reason why I’ve previously found it difficult to theorize about the experience in the heart of acting.

So why do I want to write about acting instead of just doing the work?

I have now completed a few very practice-based years of acting in a government theatre and I feel the need to revise my way of working. I also feel the need to see if this different approach to the work could open doors that wouldn’t open any other way.

In a word, it’s something different and sometimes it’s just good to go in a totally new direction to see what happens.

This might turn out to be a serious mistake.

And that makes it all the more fun.

A New World

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Last months I’ve been working with The Lost City Inc. in Oulu, Rovaniemi and Helsinki. The post about this period is in the Finnish version of this page.

mukka beats

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Timo K. Mukka is one of the most celebrated authors in Finland. This post is about a spoken word demo track I did combining the beats of Berlin’s Modeselektor and one of the poems of Mukka.

You can find the post and the track in the Finnish version of this page.

Virtuosos In The Heart Of The Community

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

This post is about a writing for the magazine ‘Kaltio’ about the concerts of Kari Kriikku and Bobby McFerrin and about the spaces they performed in (Korundi in Rovaniemi and Music Hall in Helsinki, respectively). The full post in the Finnish version of the page.

2nd Moodswings

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

We had our 2nd set of Moodswings club last Saturday on 3. 11. 2012 as a Halloween special at Kauppayhtiö, Rovaniemi, Finland.

Media genius VJ Merrylaeinen managed to conjure a wondrous set of interactive media by creating an interface of one pumpkin and five apples by which you were able to control the LED-based visuals. To specify: If you touched the pumpkin and any of the five apples at the same time it radically changed the visual system. And as on our first time, some people won some strange prices. Like a huge pumpkin.

We had a short story to go with the visual system which went as follows:

On the altar you will find a pumpkin of Satan emanating evil light. Around Him forming a pentagram you will find His dark servants Lucifer, Pan, Baphomet, Yama and Kekripukki sulking.

For Satan to be able to hear your prayer you need to touch Him and one of His servants at the same time.

Among the ones praying Satan picks five happy ones to be His new servants and they will be rewarded handsomely.

The first part of the ritual ends at 02.00 after which the congregation continues the worship by lifting up their hands.

Satan answers all prayers through light so keep your eyes open.

For satan’s sake <3 

If this sounds slightly satanish remember that this was Halloween time.

However, the bar did get several messages from people who were worried about the subject matter and we also got a visit from the local youth pastor. It’s nice to know we are being looked after.

 

 

Here’s a few photos from the main newspaper in Lapland Lapin Kansa who wrote their main culture section article about the club – with no mention of Satan.

 

 

Photos: Pekka Aho.

 

Performing arts and new city culture (club mix), pt. 5

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

Carnival in Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2005

Samba floats are floating across the city. In the middle of Rio’s business district there’s a tall black man walking with a suit on. Or actually, when you look closer you’ll notice he only has a jacket, a golden thong – and a briefcase.

When walking on the Ipanema Beach I meet an about-70-year-old transvestite who is taking a stroll in pink bikinis with a three feet long dildo he’s pulling behind him in a small carriage. On a normal day Brazilian machos would punch him in the face but now everyone is greeting him with a smile.

The carnival in Rio is the biggest party on Earth. The themes on the samba floats often refer to current political subjects and religion is in the very heart of the carnival. At the same time the carnival is also totally secular. Spiritual and secular don’t cancel each other out during carnival time.

Good party doesn’t always have to be especially interesting. The biggest party on the planet works for me, too.

This was the final part in an article first published in Finnish magazine ‘Esitys’ (Performance) in their 2/2012 edition.

 

 

 

 

Graphic design for a contemporary music theatre piece ‘Soulsports’ combining contact improvisation and Afro-Brazilian capoeira. Graphic design by Marko Mäkinen.