Is it possible just to be moved instead of reminding myself about silence? Constant letting go, releasing. Perhaps the writing offers ease since the remarks in my notebook are intertwined without a change in font size. 


In the beginning of our collaboration I breathed carefully, with acts of care towards the others and each place we were in. To greet the figures hanging on the wall as well as the windows, the rows of chairs. This carefulness carried me perhaps toward the notion of silence as something to be careful about. Etymologically, carefulness refers to mournfulness and sadness, also anxiousness, applying attention that is painstaking.  


The curved form of the grand piano carries a promise of music before playing. The piece 4’33 by John Cage has something similar to it. How does Anu’s playing and my hearing of it change when silence is invited as a backdrop that covers and pierces through all? The music travels through her and falls into the room. Later those first careful moments with Anu developed into a variety of movements and sounds. And yet there is a particular kind of open, rigorous, gentle manner in our actions. The notion of silence has multiplied the possibilities within ourselves, and thus, our collaboration, with its aim of developing interdisciplinary art or research, has not been a problem. 


The strategies of attuning and letting go keep on changing, they support the happening. Last time I moved in line with the architectural space – first arranging the stuff that was around neatly, cleaning the room; a need for order. After organising the materiality of the space, I aligned myself with it by moving according to the lines, curves or spirals I perceived in it. The following session brought about the priority of intertwining with the room. A chiasmatic encounter in which to be part of the chairs and music stands, with no control or harmony. The urge to be part of the materiality, to lean against the wall, the floor, to become entwined with the chair. Also, the rhythm and the distance between objects in the room came to the forefront. Was there an effort to diminish the distance of this corporeality with that of the material surroundings? Sometimes the experience of the room as a breathing, moving entity flowing through all, and in contrast the firm figure of Petri as a mark of stability, sitting or standing. – Being-with and being distinct.  


Drifting to an edge, where the familiar landmarks are non-existent. I find myself playing the other grand piano, standing and playing, the one-who-cannot-play enjoys sounds that appear through the touch of the fingertips, questioning, wondering touch, meanwhile listening to Anu’s playing. Spaciousness, joy, fingertips taking the lead, the rest of the body following without hesitation or constraint. Anu’s playing punctures the stiffness and the light of April, openness to the forthcoming spring. This familiar studio, yet its lived layers fold airily as blasts from the past. The shriek of a seagull, the hum of the traffic.


I pause and dwell in the sound of the grand piano, stopping underneath the masculine instrument, the resonance becomes almost unbearable, the sound quivers in the bones. The vast sound fills the room. In order to be what it is, the played music requires an enormous silence as a counterbalance. This body is only a resonance of something, a receiver. And yet, through the resonance movement happens. Plain, simple moves with a quiet torso, supple feet. To be part of something, not to destroy, or to make an impact, engagement without the need for a specific trace of movement. To encounter something inconceivable, to breathe the unknown in oneself, flesh is here even if it does not turn into words. Gaps, caverns, fissures.


On the windowsill pieces of large soft paper, sighing as a sign for something about to happen. Ice begins to melt. I found myself tearing the paper into shreds, smaller and smaller ones, Petri colours one shred red, Anu joins in the tearing. With that action words arrive, some kind of definitions for this particular moment in silence; I start to utter them aloud: torn, broken, white, red, shattered, lost, fucking, crushed silence, Petri joins in and lists more definitions. Do the shredded strips of paper spread across the floor mirror a break from the aim and bespeak for letting it go? Releasing the aim in order for silence to have an opportunity to appear? Screams, whispers of something ungraspable... The notion of silence enables noise to emerge. 


Once in a horizontal position on the floor, I awoke to the appearance of silence piercing through the solar plexus, the weight of it opened a tunnel inside leading straight through the torso, legs, and out of the heels. A confirmation in flesh.


This unknown corporeality is connected to the surroundings through its own materiality and spatiality. Spaces inside corporeality as well as outside of it encounter silence, which is the transmitter in this exchange. This encounter passes through former ways of sensing place, its proportions, the distances in it and between the furniture, people, light, soundscape, texture of the floor and the ceiling. It offers a sight, a taste of airy darkness. Pieces of furniture around and their silence without people create a shadow that is accumulating. Everything changes when a person arrives and sits on a chair. Suddenly something is lost, hidden, has fled, and in its absence something else has taken its place. Interchange of realities where the shadows carry the mark of the possible impossibilities in this lived quietness.  


In this instant neither anxiety nor worry are attached to this room. This brings a particular silence to my corporeality; the torso quietens, legs move quickly as a whisper, there is less and less of me as a knowing person, the known I starts its process of disappearance towards an airy moving body. Music supports in leaving the known I on the side, this being one strand in silence. The joy about moments when the movement carries the happening is simple and overwhelming. Listening opens the door for silence to enter, perhaps, perhaps. From where does this alertness spring?


The communion with the others pushes me to face the hidden things in myself, silence scrubs the skin. No longer is this a matter of vulnerability, since vulnerability is connected to oneself and ones traits. Silence as a transparent power exceeds all. Sometimes too heavy, at times light, joyful. Always meaningful in its inconceivability.


Delight appears; silence and corporeality approach each other, even if in an imaginary act. The ease and openness of the corporeal, conciliation with the self and the space. Is it a glimmering of infinity within holes that brings this strange consolation? The scissors of accomplishment do not cut, they do not delete the spectrum of experience.


Knots of silence where something grows intense and forms a density. The opportunity for a new reality appears. Could it be the moment after 35 minutes of the praxis when we all are motionless and still? Perhaps there was a seed for something to grow without us thoroughly realizing it.  


All that has happened through my corporeality is in relation to others, non-human and human, and the combination of these colleagues and furniture makes this journey a particular one. A journey of artistic research – to trust in this praxis that keeps on unfolding in manifold ways and that has opened (too) many strands to follow, and that produces proximity and writing about these very encounters. And to have silence as a background since it cannot be known, only humbly approached. Perhaps to calm down once one ceases to chase silence. Only to breathe it. This allowing atmosphere has opened a path to question the efficiency of academic life, the pressures to produce more and more that one absorbs there. What about doing less, yet being alert about the potentialities that are around? 


The praxis component brought huge questions: Who I am in this shared silence that has traces of a solitary silence? How do I inhabit the world by moving? At times silence became an obstacle without mercy.  And then, by being forced to face the layers of dance techniques and habits of moving that were foregrounded, something started to change. Stubborn silence paved the way to pause and to continue. Through the rejection strategy – including non-speaking, non-stylized movements and non-continuous movement – silence created a gap in meaning making, and resisted the hegemony of language. Together with the strategies of attuning and letting go rejection formed a dynamic combination with which to approach silence, oneself, others, and the environment simultaneously.








The praxis was primary for us. We wanted to do instead of exhaust ourselves in endless discussions about the theoretical basis of our collaboration. 

First session, December 2015 (Kirsi & Anu) 
Kirsi and I decided that we are free to do anything we want. While Kirsi’s action seems to be something that I would call ‘modern dance’, I however will not improvise. Since I’m a western art music pianist, my job is to play musical works. I’ve never improvised, so I wouldn’t do it here, either. I can’t pretend to be someone else, I need to be myself in our sessions. “Of course!” said Kirsi. So, I was allowed to play what I wanted, no rules, no limitations, no pretending. And what happened: I played some music (Karol Szymanowski's works) from my present repertoire, but instead of playing the work in a ‘normal’ way, I played it very smoothly and in a much more silent volume. I felt that I can’t play with full sound since Kirsi might be bothered.

26.1.2016 (Kirsi & Anu) 
In the second session, I started to move in the room during the praxis. First I sat quietly for some time, then started to walk a little. I touched the backs of the chairs trying to somehow possess the space, to take it into my own hands. I noticed that I’m tense. I was afraid of disturbing Kirsi. I felt that even though I’m free to move, the stage was hers, not mine. I played Szymanowski’s Tantris der Narr, but it sounded awful so I stopped. I was unable to practice since that requires the ability to be loud if needed. I sat down to think how terribly constricted I am. I couldn’t even look at Kirsi dancing since that felt intrusive and disturbing. This rehearsal seemed to be really intimate. The silence felt palpable. I hated my piano playing and felt a strong urge to entertain Kirsi. To solve the problem, I walked to the middle of the floor, staring downwards and quite soon sneaked away. I touched the objects in the room in order to get the room’s acceptance (that’s what animals do, the weak chimpanzees touch the dominant ones to gain their acceptance). I’m so lost with my playing in these sessions, I simply can’t play in fortissimo because it would feel too violent.

10.2.2016 (Kirsi, Petri, Anu) 
Well now there’s some noise. I don’t have to be careful. I played Szymanowski’s mazurkas, Petri is drawing, Kirsi is dancing [...] Kirsi came close to me, I didn’t dare to look into her eyes. I don’t want to practice here, maybe someday I will. I moved in the room a bit more freely than yesterday, I feel that I can try to possess the space more. This is fun, these are fun people, this is the best group I’ve worked with. I’m gonna stick to this. Though, I would like to know what I’m studying here. My way of performing? Being a pianist? Interaction? [...] An outsider might get a really disturbed picture of what we’re doing; we just have our weird sessions and go home.

10.3.2016 (Kirsi, Petri, Anu)
I’m getting used to Kirsi and Petri [...] I feel that I’m starting to act in a dominant way here. [...] I suggested that I would play the program [of the audition for the professorship] through. They agreed, no problem that I needed space. Petri was drawing me when I played. Kirsi was delicate, she seems to be in connection to her inner world, she was very easy-going and free. She’s always so focused on her moves [...] I started to move again and [...] made contact with the two grand pianos in the hall, I realized that they are very masculine and demanding instruments. I petted them, trying to possess them. Usually I’m afraid of the instruments when I enter a classroom, at least when I’m working with such challenging works as Variations.

30.3.2016 (Kirsi & Anu – Petri’s back was aching)
First I walked to the piano to practice [...] this wasn’t possible in our first session [...] I made a circle (walking) around Kirsi who was lying on the floor and went back to play. I went to the other side of the room to "look" at myself at the piano; i.e. I imagined myself sitting at the piano. I just looked at the piano, imagining how I sit there, playing, and how small it all (all the big emotions) seems to be from the distance [...] It will be terrifying to play in the audition [professorship] but I refuse to panic beforehand. I’ve done my work, that’s enough [...] Sometimes it’s good to be completely lost. In this silence project, I’m fumbling all the time, and that’s perfectly fine. 

20.4.2016 (Kirsi, Petri, Anu)
During the meditation I thought that I might improvise. No idea what’s going to happen. 

I sat at the piano and started. Out from nowhere. First a low second, two tones, here we go. I improvised for 15 minutes, Kirsi came to play the other piano, it grew to be a massive work, in the end we tore a flipchart paper into pieces and they fell on the floor, I was shouting and kicking the papers.

When I improvised I was thinking about how the improvisation sounds. The role of performing was interfering. But I continued, I focused on functions, a reasonable way to proceed, since my fingers didn’t hit the keys quite accurately. I played with rhythms, levels, I created polyphony [...] When Kirsi joined my playing the last bits of tension were wiped away. Kirsi played counterparts on the other piano. What a great feeling. I improvised.

The point was not how it sounds, the point was being in the now-moment. The function of performing was lurking there all the time, but I still managed to focus on the musical ideas. Kirsi and Petri made it possible for me not to be afraid. Kirsi made me dare more, to play louder and bigger. I was tearing the paper and laughing, Petri was wondering what on earth was going on. He said that he thought I was playing some modern solo piano work.

What is this?

Due to our weird praxis I soon encountered an ontological question: am I practicing or performing? How to name this? How to fit in with my piano playing without being too dominant or too modest? I watched Kirsi dancing, but I was busy trying to figure out how to behave. Kirsi encouraged me to play loudly. “We need to make some noise to see behind the silence”, said Kirsi poetically. And: “You do have some serious judges inside your head”. How true. 


But how could I destroy this subtle atmosphere and start to play the Szymanowski pieces extremely loud with an extremely loud grand piano? I felt that I was noisy and that I must be bothering the other two. What exactly was my piano playing? Not performing (in the spotlight on stage, with the silent audience listening in the grandstand) since, being busy with their own things, Kirsi and Petri didn’t watch or settle down to listen to me. But I couldn’t practice either, since there was somebody dancing behind me.


So I simply tried to concentrate on trying to tolerate my confusion, on letting Kirsi and Petri hear my imperfect playing, not offering them a performance of an excellent pianist or of an important musical work. I tried to be in the now-moment, and after that be in the next now-moment. This was hardest in conferences, when people were watching us and instead of watching a demonstration of a session, they thought that our presentation was a poor art performance. I must have looked like an idiot trying to concentrate on the now-moment on stage. But it was worth it. It pulled the rug underneath the idea of perfection, which clearly dominates the art music tradition. 


Physical space, moving around

Whereas my usual piano playing is about an interaction between my mind and the musical work, the dancing Kirsi behind my back showed me that I have a back in the first place. And, that I’m in a room with a floor, walls and a ceiling. Owing to the other two, the space and its concrete physicality was thrown at my face. This made me move around the room in the first session. I wanted to take the space over, to touch the objects and to really see that I’m in here. The time when I walked to the other side of the room to see the instrument made my struggles feel a bit lighter. Maybe it also diminished the status of the musical work and my faithfulness to it.


The surprise
The moment of improvising was an unexpected and ground-breaking moment for me as a musician. I continued to improvise in our sessions (as well as in our conference demonstrations) but I never reached the uniqueness of the first improvisation again. 


For me, the meaning of the improvisation was about being in the now-moment, not about searching for excellence – I’m already deep seated in the excellence business with composed works.


Whether I will continue improvising or not, I can't yet tell. But most importantly, with Kirsi and Petri I got to be – even for a short moment – a different kind of musician.


In the beginning of our sessions I didn’t dare to look, to be loud, to practice, to take any space for myself – and finally I was able to throw away all the blocks and dive into extremely loud improvising with paper-tearing, shouting and laughing. It was possible, because together we created a safe environment. We didn’t set any goals or limitations nor did we force ourselves to take risks or to be particularly courageous.







Drawing was my tool with which I become familiar with art. I haven’t drawn for many years before the ongoing artistic research in In Between Silences. Or I have done some drawings but I haven’t had any reason to do them. That’s what I have been telling myself along the years. Drawing hasn't had any relevancy, or I didn’t find any relevant questions to answer – any answer to why to draw.


1st Session drawing

Once I asked my teacher, what reason is there to paint or to draw. He answered that there are plenty of different reasons, but none of them can or must be an excuse. An excuse? So what? So that’s it? So simple? Since then, when I began to question my raison d'être, I haven’t found anything but excuses or false reasons. Am I a false artist? Am I in the right or wrong place? What is my artistic drive if I only have false reasons? Is it enough that I have managed get at least something done as an artist?


2nd session drawing

I was deeply inside the question of the sense of the instrumental. I have used drawing as an instrument to get something or to get myself somewhere. And once I've got the something, I leave drawing behind. But what have I got? What have I reached? One of my ideas was to go in the direction of the unknown, and drawing and painting no longer gave me answers. There were no questions left for me in this respect.


3rd session drawing

Let me explain my drawing practice via the approaches I have found most relevant. Firstly: as a young and inexperienced artist, my work with drawings needed to interconnect two similar sides of reality I thought were true or necessary for my (artistic) process. The drawing process had to be connected with the history of art and include an instrumental purpose in order to let me inside the art world. This kind of an instrumental approach to drawing was a hard path, and left no room for freedom to really rely on drawing as a living method.


4th session drawing

Nowadays, for example while taking part in our silence ensemble-group, the purpose of the drawing process is different: it doesn’t need to connect me anywhere else except to the situation at hand or to the art world. It doesn’t even (necessarily) have to show anything of my professional artistic standard. It no longer has double meanings. It is mostly just what it is – bad, good, nonsense, etc. – nothing else. It might still demonstrate something about the richness or thickness of different lines or something about the movements of the drawing pencil or whatever. In this sense the drawing process and my praxis have moved far from the first doubtful lines I had the courage to draw in my adolescence.