vol. 6. 2019
Episodi is a series published by the Live Art and Performance Studies (LAPS) programme in Theatre Academy of the Uniarts Helsinki. This sixth volume of Episodi, 'Signatures' consists of six online expositions by the MA students of the LAPS programme, Harold Hejazi, Katriina Kettunen, Yuan Mor’O Ocampo, Daniela Pascual Esparza, Olga Spyropoulou and Nicolina Stylianou, where these are reflections on the LAPSody festival that commenced on February 21-23, or individual research. For the first time, Episodi will be published in an online format using the Research Catalogue (RC) publishing platform.
The Research Catalogue is provided by the Society for Artistic Research (SAR). It functions as a platform for the dissemination of self-published content as well as peer-reviewed publications, such as JAR — Journal for Artistic Research, Ruukku Journal for Artistic Research, and VIS — Nordic Journal for Artistic Research. The open source status of the RC is essential to its nature and serves its function as a connective and transitional layer between academic discourse and artistic practice, thereby constituting a discursive field for artistic research.
Episodi uses this platform to present artistic work as research where expositions including various media and essays are transformed into an argument. It is believed that in this ways RC can provide a suitable structure to develop the relationship between documentation, articles and exposition.
The online format for academic publishing is one of the growing fields aside from traditional publishing. There are several reasons why we pursue for online publication, instead of a printed format, beyond just the ecological benefits. Episodi is a publication that seeks to present new practice and research by the artists; therefore, an online format provides an ideal platform where the various application of text and different media can be displayed in the expositional form.
In the call for the 7th edition of the LAPSody festival, the organizing team that consisted of the LAPS MA students write: “You come into the world. You are given a name. You grow into that name. You learn how to write. You learn all the letters. You write them down. What color do they resonate with? Are you anywhere in those lines?” Episodi: Signatures present six expositions by artist, with their divergent and critical, sensuous, and poetic entries on and around LAPSody, signatures and individual research.
In her exposition “My signature is in the seams” Katriina Kettunen has edited three videos using the documentation of the artists from the LAPSody festival. In her exposition editing is regarded as analogous process with an organization, where the signature of the organizer of the festival is in the seams or the editing cuts of the material. In this way, editing is not only a technical task of following a standard procedure of economic and meaningful transmission of information. Nor is it mere revisiting of past events, but the editing is an act of performing in transitions of that what was gained and lost. Editing is also one of the most tedious and time-consuming tasks, which is often reserved for professionals. Therefore, the best results are often considered to be those, where the ‘flow' of images and sounds seem to be seamless, in other words, we're accustomed to specific standards of using jump-cuts or fade-ins with skill. It is a detail-oriented work, where we often lose the big picture. Kettunen remarks, that after spending hours of editing material, and showing the content to a friend, she realized that it looked like she had done nothing to the content. The seams had become invisible. From one point of view, she had done a successful job, if the aim was to make an excellent presentation of the festival. Later on, she remarks how, to make herself present, there needed to be bolder cut. Her signature is in the seams, and it is in the cut. It is a decision.
Harold Hejazi revisits his performance "Dear _____, Please Imagine my Birthday" in the exposition. The opening night of the LAPSody festival landed on the thirtieth birthday of Hejazi. He decided to organize a birthday party LARP event for the public, where he invited them to reimagine with him his social life, that was largely away from this context, in Canada. In this exposition, Hejazi presents this work, where through gamifying devising he aims to present how the self is a constructed web of social relations and entanglements. The self is a collectivity, or it is a collective arrangement of enunciations, acts and performances. In this event, his close friends and family members in Canada appeared as avatars performed by strangers. Aside from this a set of party games and the video presence of these friends for the strangers playing their part, there was the presence of the audience. The signature question for this exposition is to inquire how the sense of community can be cloned and mediated. With some melancholy, Hejazi proposes that the distinction between the original and the cloned is often blurred in our interactions, memories and communities.
In his exposition “Indicated by their Signatures” Yuan Mor’O Ocampo examines two performances from the LAPSody festival by Nerisa Guevara and Claude Bodeau. Guevara's four-hour-long performance "Elegy #8 — The Pacific Ocean" explored the relationship between the artist's body and the representation of the ocean on the screen. Ocampo regards the simulacra of the augmented reality in this performance of grief and solitude, that what he presents as the anxiety of the virtual. The representational image of the ocean serves not as a backdrop, but as the simulacra for a memory. In his exposition, Ocampo regards Bodeau’s work "Chaos" in juxtaposition with the lithographic prints by the early 20th-century American artist George Bellow. The focus is on the toxic masculinity and the attraction to violence, through these works on boxing. In the postscript of his exposition, Ocampo question if violent performance has a signature in our contemporary world as a form of expression.
In her exposition on signatures, Olga Spyropoulou proposes that what we are reading here is not a proposition for space, but rather for a μήspace (mespace). The exposition is performative not in denial of the space of the writing, as μήdoes not deny a thing in itself, but it dismisses the thought of the thing. The exposition that is titled "Μηspace (mespace). No puncture yet a wound" does not deny the signature, but asks us to speculate on the thought of that what is lacking such things. It is a speculation on that what is being translated, and that what causes anxiety not because it lacks something, such as non-being or does not have a signature, but rather a concern on those things that ‘lacks emptiness, a μήspace’. She proposes that the abundance of signatures in the forms of reference is a form of thinking with another, when nothing makes sense.
The exposition by Daniela Pascual reflects on her forthcoming thesis. When does it begin and how will it end? She writes that this exposition is ‘a juxtaposition of plans, thoughts, desires, and concerns’ and, as such, there might be contradictions. A subject matter, if one can name one, is viewpoints, or ‘miradores’, in Spanish. What are these places and what can we see from and through them? Pascual reflects on her practice during her studies at LAPS by presenting a few of her performance projects. Among her concerns is how to articulate what happens during a workshop with a presumed ‘final’ piece in her practice.
In her exposition “What colour is signature?” Nicolina Stylianou presents an exposition that acts as a score to play or experiment with. This exposition as a platform that includes video and audio field recordings suggests a synaesthetic relation with sound, colour and image. The exposition plays out like a Fluxus score where you may navigate by following the score and experiment with different compositional structures. Stylianou’s exposition explores the relationship between noise and silence or information in order to shift the perception and allows the listener to negotiate between noise and information.
Professor in Live Art and Performance Studies
Live Art and Performance Studies (LAPS)
Image: Nicolina Stylianou