Ikonen Liisa


Exposition: Spacing matters: Alternative Thinking about the Nature of Space (01/02/2015) by Monica Raya
Ikonen Liisa 26/03/2015 at 13:22

The exposition concerns space as living matter and approaches spatial performance from an alternative perspective. The exposition suggests that stage spatiality may perform as play without the input of scenic directors or deliberated designer actions. It suggests that “Representation of scenography may become a new spectacle on its own right and a vehicle to go beyond the theatrical borders."


The exposition is a clear presentation of spatial potentiality highlighting the relationship between a human being and the world. “Space is the primordial matter that houses our bodies and approaching space from an alternative perspective may produce new materials to engage with design and architectural issues.” The approach admits that the researcher-artist lives in the same world and in the same reality than the object of research and so this relationship addresses also to the basis of living space. Raya has approached both the human body and the space as material which belong together. “I would like to share my first, maybe precarious, approaches to understand the nature of space and how we can relate to the task of designing spaces, especially if we, ourselves, are in space, within space and made out of space(s).”


The value of this exposition is its straight relationship to the artistic practice. The research question has come in to being from deep within an artistic practice and it has also developed during experimental artistic work. The exposition is part of a broader and still ongoing artistic research. Raya`s intertextual form of presentation relates artistic experiments to the theoretical frame of reference. Raya uses the theoretical part to suggest, ponder and make visible but refuses to analyze the final outcomes. The research focus is in the process. The most impressive argumentation is in the documentation of the spatial performance presenting space as living matter. The theoretical discussion connects Raya`s practical experiments to her research question and provides aids to approach different forms of expression and to understand transformations of space.


Artistic practice is an essential part of this research. The research aims to understand the most familiar material of stage designer – space. Questioning this kind of self-evident phenomenon is a fruitful approach to search new things. When the researcher ‘invited the space to play’ she has given up all former rules, rights and obligations and opened herself up to unpredictable events and new sensual and tacit knowledge. Practical research has produced not only spatial performances but also documented visual text for the use of later research.


Significance of this question is quite high also in other disciplines. The exposition suggests a new approach to spatial performance. It is interested in what happens to other disciplines when space is not thought of as ready something and stage spatiality may perform on its own.


The exposition contains a clear and justified, yet very wide question; “what is the matter with space?” It provides the question of possibilities that arise for a new kind of scenographic performance when the actions of space as are allowed just to be themselves. The exposition shows very high evidence of innovation in practice and research issue is also contextualized in terms of philosophical and anthropological issues. The contextualizing is understandable and justified but theoretical discussion is not very wide. Philosophical quotations are essential to examine and understand artistic work but artistic outcomes are keys to theories as well. Spatial performances establish the authenticity of the theory of de Certau in practice. Stage movements really “orient space, situate it, temporalize it, and make it function”. Raya`s sensual sceneries seem to establish also anthropologist Victor Turne's thought, how novelty emerges from unprecedented combinations of familiar elements.


The strengths of this exposition are the research-oriented artistic experiments and excellent

illustrative documentation of breathtaking sceneries. Individual artistic approach and origin of research question has been brought out clearly as well. The value of this exposition is also in showing the as yet uncompleted research and in the shared experience of it. The theoretical frame of reference is valid and offers rich basis also for later analysis and investigation. In the future, the author could open and explain more some of the presented theoretical concepts and her own concepts. These concepts are primordiality (Nietzsche), the liminal and liminoid (Turner) and the flesh of the Universe (Raya)