For Stacey (290319)

This is researcher clown Stacey Sacks speaking from behind the full body mask of Outi Condit,

(another white body, nothing to see here)

invoking the actor as hypocrite - the one speaks from underneath.


Theatre is tied to a relation of appearing, theatron literally means place for viewing. Directors tell actors: "Everything is visible". I don't know if this is supposed to be a comfort or a threat.

(Is theatre a panopticon?) (Now you see me now you don't)


A medium appears in its failure, or at least in its friction, more like a glitch than a broken hammer, a performance of the subterranean invisible on which every surface depends.


Because I'm an actress I was never medium proper, always medium flavored, not to mention fractured,

I never knew how to do woman, "believably", at least not until I discovered drag.

And desire was always problem, I mean, whose desire?

my desire

my representations of desire

my expressions of desire were largely illegible, to that gaze off-stage, on-stage, read as aggression or coldness, "Just be yourself!" "But not like that".


But as a white body I slip into neutrality quite easily, everything is possible, I am invisible, just another drop in a sea of whiteness, (see Ahmed, 2007, A phenomenology of whiteness), the construct is transparent, the medium does its job, and disappears.

How did this body become white? What is embedded in that subterranean invisible, and how can it glitch?


Stanley G:

"When you shine a light on white, you see NOTHING! By focusing on this nothing you then place it in the centre, reinforcing its invisibility and the spurious ways this invisibility seeps into the cracks of privileged complicity, perpetuating dominant ideologies."


"The research asks NOTHING of you, except to remember what stinks in the swamp of your own soul, to examine your own biases, prejudices and blind-spots."

And he quotes James Baldwin: "As long as you think you are white, there is no hope for you. "

                                               (Stanley G's performance essay, Stacey Sacks, 2018)


For Simo (180319)


This is me. (Simo Kellokumpu, performing through Outi Condit, based on her script, which I have been invited to edit and rewrite as a like) 


How are performing bodies assembled? 

If something is assembled it could be assembled differently. "The body" is ceases to be natural and discrete. Its boundaries are up for renegotiation. 


Simo Kellokumpu's artistic research asks: 

if everything moves, how do I take place?


Taking place is both temporal and spatial. I arrive. I take up place. 


Now I am here. 

But who is speaking when an actor is speaking?


My commitment to bodies as malleable, and capable forming and performing differently in different material-discursive arrangements, is partly based on my professional experience as an actor, shape-shifting from one composition to another. But it also grows from my lived experience of queering

of being queer

of being a queer

in the apparatus of theatre and its representational regimes. 

Following Sara Ahmed's Queer Phenomenology, 

my experiences of becoming are as much connected to failures to fully extend into the spaces and patterns expected from my lived body, and its formation through inabilities and gaps, as much as its abilities.


The failure to fully and believably perform the body which fits dominant regimes is the failure that has performed this body, 

or at least taken part in its formation, 

as it takes place now. 


This is the paradoxical ambivalence of a body that tends a certain way. A non-sovereign, yet obstinate body


inhabited by outside forces, wills, and voices. A body ungrounded. A virtual body, in its thingliness, even though it's flesh. Virtually anything could happen, and its anticipation is experienced in flesh. The virtual is in the anticipation, a haunting from possible futures, which has material consequences in the now. I trust you with virtually anything. 


Alien phenomenology disturbs the sovereignty of a body that is regarded as a person with inhabitation by human and non-human agents, patterns and matters. And/or/again the boundaries of the human are political, and up for renegotiation. 

For Mika (250219)


It feels indulgent to want to write about writing. But tracing feminist writing from Virginia Woolf to Sara Ahmed, it matters who writes, what writes, and from where.

Ahmed suggests spaces of writing tend differently to and for different bodies. I write as a gendered body with a tendency to queer. I also write as an actor who has emancipated from the oppressive apparatus of theatre by the means of artistic research. In my research I claim an actor is in-between, in the middle, a medium of theatre, its stage. As a researcher I want to stay in the middle. Do I undo my emancipation?


What is writing in the middle? What is the middle writing?


In Figures of Touch Harri Laakso writes that the task of artistic research is to (quote) "keep grasping towards what cannot be grasped, to encounter the unknown as unknown, where the unknown will not be revealed, but indicated."


I am imagining myself a few days from now. I'm imagining my body from the inside and the outside. I'm imagining listening to your voice, and my voice voicing yours. I'm imagining how it will sound and feel. Now I'm imagining the camera. I'm imagining what the camera sees. I'm imagining how I'm placed in relation to the camera, how you've placed me. Now I'm thinking about how you wrote that you might like to make the frame almost dark, only lit by a cellphone, or another kind of screen. I'm imagining it will be beautiful. Now I'm worrying this is banal, and manneristic, and not proper writing. Now I'm imagining the video when it's finished. I'm imagining watching it. Now I'm imagining the digital platform.  Now I'm imagining the (other) readers. The outlines of the other readers are fuzzy. You feel closer.


In Figures of Touch, you write: "Touching always takes place at a limit. "


"The limit" names the ultimate point of vulnerability that forces and allows a touching gesture to get into touch with itself, to find its measure and proper mode, its tact."


According to some, acting is the art of being affected at will. Willing to be affected.


In the preface, you write: "the pathic moment of touch comes too early for us to be ready for it, and our response comes too late to reach the experience at its peak."


I think about this gap, and wonder about the tact and tactlessness of theatre (also this theatre), and its obsession with full embodied presence and touch, and its tendency to hide their mediality and so, their politics. 


This apparatus reassembles elements of theatre into another kind of performing body. It hangs together uneasily and performs by gapping and glitching. It's affordances of intimacy and touch are haunted by the politics of theatre. This writing is a seed, an invitation to perform with and through this apparatus, with and through "myself", contingent and precariously held together by relations, containers, technics, and imaginings.


Its temporality is challenging. It defers the final word, and at the same time it's arrested, frozen in time, and exposed in its obsolescence. What is being written now is already going somewhere else. It is touching something else, already beyond me.

For Vincent (190319)

The actor (actress) is present(ly) with the actor-come-theatre director (Vincent Roumagnac), performing the actor (actress) in a russian-doll act of ventriloquist writing. 


In the piece we co-created together two years ago, the actress (gendered) is staged as a product of the theatre machine, in which the actorly body and the directorial gaze are mutually co-constituted. 


In an often repeated truth of the rehearsal studio, the actor's body is their tool. And thus they are trained to be part of the theatre machine, its fantasies become their flesh, their patterns are patterned, they are shaped by its rhythms, haunted by its gestures, they are its recurrent dream, in the Foucauldian sense, but also in the words of philosopher Jean Luc Nancy, singular plural, or of affect scholar Lisa Blackman, more than one, less than many, but hey, aren't we all. 


The actor is in-between. One takes place between text and voice, between the "ontology of presence" and sediments of repetition and technique, between narrative and lived bodies, prescribed gestures and felt, channelled, and repressed affect. On the post-postdramatic stage cuts, splits and diffractions may be in the open. At the same time psychophysical approaches like Chechov or Meisner techniques (which remain popular) prime the actor to absorb these disjunctures, aiming for "instinctive and authentic performance". 


The actor simultaneously obscures and sustains the performative dichotomies of theatre. No wonder our bodies are so wrought with tension. 


Since the rise of the theatre director as the ultimate theatre auteur from the late 19th century onwards, the actor has also inhabited the inbetween between the theatre director and the audience. And so the actor or acting became the ultimate problem of theatre. 

As instruments, we are dubious. Uncanny shapeshifters, unreliable machines, and never quite the desired übermarionettes. Our virtuosity is never quite enough, and at the same time a bit too much.


Auteurs of stage and screen tend to hate the virtuosity of the actor (actress!) and love finding the cracks. Think of Bertolucci and the rape of Maria Schneider! Violence and manipulation is of course a way of cracking things open, but instead of light I expect it's the same old stagnant fantasies flooding in. 


Following Rosa Menkman, a glitch is a reminder of the inner workings of a system, "a wonderful interruption that shifts an object away from its ordinary form and discourse, towards the ruins of a destroyed meaning". I wanted to reassemble the systems of theatre into a performing body, a techno-metabolic actor, in which a human body could perform as a stage for glitches, ghosts and transmedial affects.