every time I start typing a letter, I become aware of the ephemerality of things. Of how this moment of writing is already gone when you read. Of how I address you across time. Maybe I no longer exist, when you read this. At least this “I”, which I am at the moment of writing this, is not there anymore. The author is gone. What is left is this paper, with some ink on it. The empty paper around the ink. And you.
Letter is a form of personal writing, in the middle of it are we, you and me. I have however constructed this event in a way that I do not know who you are. This is not correspondence, in the way it is normally understood. So, since I do not know who you are, I will just imagine you and write about myself.
I am an artist. An artist who is passionately, or insistently, or repetitively absorbed by how the medium is the message, and how our bodies are typed into those messages like ink.
I am also a father, partner, child, friend. Due to that, this art form, performances, creeps me out. The world view it offers, the ethos of disappearance carved in its practices is unsettling. I am afraid of change. I am afraid of my loved ones being suddenly gone. I observe how my work flows through my fingers like dry sand on a beach.
During all those hours, which I spend making art and thus am absent from my closest people - from their skin, from their laughter, from feeling their worries - you are my only hope. The possibility that I will be able to reach and touch you, stretch over this gap and slightly brush your soul so that your balance will falter a bit, you will get confused just a little bit, forget your guard. I will also forget it, I promise to forget. I will open up, let you watch inside me.
I am writing this at my desk in Mynämäki and watching across the road towards the barn. On the desk there is a water bottle, headphones, pencils, papers, an acrylic cube, a ruler. I fell uncomfortable. I try to shake it off, think of you, think of you all. The surface of the table is cool, smooth as ice. A plate is stained with peanut butter, my clothes smell like smoke. The pale cotton of the window curtain layers into folds, the shadows intersect, the fabric is rough and soft at the same time, parting so that darkness flows into the room from the outside. Dark particles crash into the coarse beam of electric light, my cheek tingles, sleep slides down my forehead quietly, somewhere behind the sternum grief awakens, longing, a gaping pit dug by a grey figure, soil permeating under the fingernails, somewhere a low rumble is pulsing, an underground echo reaching into depths. Sound of steps on snow from outside the window, the door opens up, my neighbour Siiri enters the hallway.
Moments like that, when the world opens up and buries me with its affective avalanche, are moments of love. They insist on the complexity of love. On a birthday, together with the kids, I have built a still life assemblage, a variation of Botticellis painting The Birth of Venus. My lover’s image is standing in a shell of a giant clam from the species Tridacna squamosa. Under the shell there is soil from our compost and around it plants from the vicinity of our home. On the left hand side there are two figures. My eldest child is the wind god Zephyr and the middle one is Aura, also the wind. They blow Venus towards the shore. On the right hand side the youngest one, Thallon, the spring goddess of inflorescence and the guardian of youth. She offers Venus a garment to cover her body.
I browse through a magazine and my eyes get fixed on a sentence. It says that theories and critiques of theatre are interesting, but only as poetry.
My body, craving for poetry, develops an erotic relationship to theory. I am a lover of geometric shapes. I see myself wraped around a love poem, which has the shape of a cube. It has three dimensions: width, height and depth.
I love also the audience as a poetic concept, made of flesh and blood. I pour it into the white cube, the black box, the Platonic solid. Through my authorship, I theorize audience.
You strech towards all its faces.
Your body is both dormant and operative,
both dense and scattered,
both contemporary and posthumous to the creative act.
You are everywhere and in all directions.
The bananas on top of the fridge seem suspiciously dark. I have not eaten even one of them yet, although it has been five days since shopping.
The book on my table has been on loan from the library for over a year. I always reloan it, but I have not yet started reading. Still, it is an important part of my reference list.
A performance, which I will never attend, but which is mentioned to me in the toilet queue, is also relevant.
One can maybe not sufficently repeat the importance of absence in an art genre where presence is romantisized.
One can maybe not emphasize enough the fact that extremities are not essential, or that they actually do not exist. Instead a charge, a tension between those extremities is essential.
In terms of knowing, essential is what is not known.
In terms of seeing, the invisible.
In terms of performance, the audience.
In my terms, you.
In the end, everything comes down to the earth.
I remember the words of the Venezuelan writer María Alejandra Rojas: art can be a retribution for the violence we have commited and a way to give voice to its victims. I have a request to you. There is a transparent cube somewhere around. After you are done reading, could you destroy the letter and leave the remnants in it? We will burn them after the last show and scatter the ashes into the soil in the foyer. The soil has evolved from the biowaste of the previous editions of this festival and of the people who live in my home. It is a part of my social capital. It is the breeding ground of these fictions. I hope we can meet in the soil. I will grow some food in it later on. If you would like to add something here, something to be burned, there are pencils available.