I hope this finds you all and your close ones very well.
As, I guess, you might already know,
we have opened with Simo Kellokumpu a new workspace in Helsinki called Työhuone (workspace/atelier in Finnish), which is simultaneously dedicated to art, research, massage,
and, from time to time, ikebana.
Having both recently completed doctorates in artistic research,
and having engaged in experimental issues concerning
the aesthetic dissemination of new forms and formats of and for research,
it is important for us that artistic research, through a sense of experimentality and inventive settings, is part of the program of each season at Työhuone.
I am convening the first research event, for the autumn session,
when Simo will organize Työhuone first "choreographic conversations" during the coming winter.
Later, we will also convene research events with Outi Condit, in the continuation of our trio activity a.k.a. the artistic research cluster Qlo̵̰̍̔ǘ̴̼ḓ̷̟̓̅s̷̻̦̆Q̸̠̿͒uA̸̛̘͝rṭ̶̏͘z̶̩̩͛.
For this first research episode, I chose to address, with a sense of urgency,
the viral issue; at a time when it seems that we are on the threshold of
a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Europe,
to, collectively, try to understand more,
from various perspectives, experiences, and sensitivities,
what this virus is doing to our stage practices.
The title of the event is Pandemia Mundi; Stages of Epidemics
19 of you are reading this message.
19 friends and colleagues I had the privilege to meet in recent years,
during various, art and research, projects or gatherings.
All of you are working in relation to the stage,
through the lens of scenography, dramaturgy, choreography, directing, acting, performing,
I imagine you all are very busy over this autumn term,
but I venture to ask if you would be interested in generating a "micro-gesture"
for this first research event.
Initially, we thought to organize a mini-seminar in Helsinki,
but the general situation in which we are does not allow it any longer.
Hence, this proposal.
But not as a Plan B.
Rather an alternative form of coming together.
The idea is to collect from each of you a short videographic object,
in between let's say 30 seconds and 12 minutes,
in which you would address the (notion of) virus in relation to your practice.
Video-papers, recorded readings, short-films, slides with or without voice-over
are among a few options that come immediately to my mind,
but all experimental gestures on the topic are more than welcome.
In the end, after collecting all the contributions,
I will stage the polyphonic whole online, on the Research Catalogue.
And possibly set an installation display in Työhuone,
if the sanitary restrictions do not hit too hard.
I imagine that my video-request may seem incongruous, or even tricky,
especially for those who do not use and practice video as an artistic medium.
But since there should be again, during the seemingly unavoidable second wave to come,
a re-intensification of the use of screens and video-means,
a reiteration of a widespread momentum of performances/exhibitions/conferences-online
as the immediate palliative to the demands of
physical distancing, lock-down and travel restrictions,
it seems to me that it should be a relevant and interesting way
to share and overlap affects, senses-thoughts and mixed feelings
through this context-responsive mode of multimedia writing.
I am surely not asking you for a mastery of the medium, nor of its history,
but a free grasp of it to respond spontaneously to this invitation.
An "exercice de style", one could say in French.
And for those who are not experienced in video editing,
we can also work together on that part if we manage to plan it soon enough
to enable dialogue and exchanges in the making.
I would like to publish (and maybe screen) the video-potluck mid-December.
Therefore, if you happen to be interested in participating,
it would be great to finalize the gestures in early December.
Thank you all very much for letting me know what you think, before mid-October.
Take care, stay safe and go well!
Warmly from sunny Helsinki,