On All Fours photos from last Saturday

All you eleven brave people who went on your hands and knees for future generations, thank you! Your energy moved me. I was also quite positively surprised by the warm response from the passerbys. It was such an unforgettable marathon of 1,5 hours!

All photos by Mitro Härkönen.

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On All Fours for Future Generations on May 13th

In the 90th anniversary party of Helsinki Student Theatre last autumn I met two colleagues with whom I crawled the streets of Helsinki on all fours ten years ago. It was a result of Reality Research Centre workshop, a new form of public demonstration. Back then we crawled for striking nurses, asylum seekers and victims of climate change.

Me and my colleagues thought that today there’s more reasons to drop to your knees than ever. After a brain storm meeting in January we came up with a plan to crawl for future generations.

Personally, I think of my nephew when I think of future generations, and the old question of what kind of world we are leaving to our children and to our childrens’ childeren and so on. In terms of ecology, equality or solidarity, the future prospect is grim. If you feel the same, please read the invitation below and join us!

The event is on Facebook.

Jussi Johnsson on all fours for victims of climate change. Photo: Jörn J. Burmester

Jussi Johnsson on all fours for victims of climate change in 2007. Photo: Jörn J. Burmester

ON ALL FOURS FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

Open invitation.

On sidewalks in the heart of Helsinki we crawl on all fours for future generations on Saturday 13th of May from 1pm to 2pm.

What do future generations need from us right now?

In order to survive and thrive they need renewable energy, equal share of resources, education and solidarity that encompasses all lifeforms. And they need it urgently.

For these reasons we are on all fours.

We fall on our hands and knees at 1pm at Three Smiths Statue and crawl through Aleksanterinkatu Street to Senate Square. There we greet the main building of University of Helsinki, Helsinki Cathedral and Government Palace. Perhaps someone from these institutions will join us or cheer us on. Then we make a round trip to greet The House of Nobility, Presidential Palace, Supreme Court and Embassy of Sweden. The journey ends in Virka-galleria in City Hall where Helsinki City representative will greet us.

Sign up or ask more: weonallfours(at)gmail.com or Facebook

Or you can also just join us at any point of the route and stop when ever you feel like it. Besides kneepads we recommend crawlers to wear trousers and gloves that can get dirty and torn.

On All Fours For Future Generations is arranged by Tuomas Tulikorpi, Janne Saarakkala and Reality Research Centre in cooperation with Friends of the Earth Finland, The Finnish Nature League and Dodo.

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p.s. I’m very happy our event coincides Global Divestment Mobilisation 2017.

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Teaching and learning Performance Art

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With Jörn in Fluid Academy. Photo: Evamaria Schaller

I have just arrived home from Bern, Switzerland, where BONE 18 performance art festival was held. It is the subject of ICE HOLE 1/16 (coming out in March/April) that I’m co-editing with my dear colleague Jörn J. Burmester. The issue will have the same theme as the festival: how to teach and learn performance art. Today it is taught on university level. What does institutionalizing do to performance art and is it even possible to teach and learn such a rule breaking art form in a school? I mean, it’s like asking can you teach punk attitude in an institution…

Besides watching performances each night, I spent my days in Fluid Academy organised by Jörn; an open learning and teaching space of five days for anyone interested. It was like a workshop but not exactly. Jörn had chosen some themes for each day and invited some guests but on top of that there were no teachers or students. That was the rule. All participants were teachers and students at the same time. In the first day Jörn wrote on the black board “How to be fluid?” and we all, including him, started improvising in the space with some random objects and materials that were put there. By meeting artists with different ages, backrounds and practises in action was the answer. The following days we observed the streets of Bern through a wooden frame and created performance scripts from the most interesting observations. Then there were guests. Performance Artist Dani Ploeger threw his interest in žižekian objective and subjective violence on to the table and held a music lesson of Denis Cuspert’s music; the rap he did under the name Deso Dogg and the jihad war song he has done as Abu Talha al-Almani after joining ISIS. Artist, Curator and Writer Joël Verwimp instead wanted to find out could performance art be listed in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. We went through the criteria by trying out stuff and discussing. In the end I wasn’t sure if UNESCO would accept performance art in the list but I was convinced that it should be listed, as it is the most accessible of all performative arts (anyone can do it, no particular techniques needed) and yet the most “difficult” because of it’s freedom. On the last day we declared 4th of December as the Day of Performance Art in a tiny public demonstration.

Black Market International, an encounter of 12 performance artists world wide, was celebrating it’s 30th anniversary in BONE 18. The members represent different ages and practices and they meet and perform together once or twice a year. In Bern they were all on stage for two performances based on improvisation, the first without objects and latter with objects and materials. Besides this they each made solo or duo performances throughout the festival. I was really moved by them, by their work, by their attitude and their personalities. You could see long experience and love of performance art in them. I had a chance to improvise with some of them in Fluid Academy and it was a pleasure. They were so instantly fluid!

So yes, I do believe that performance art can be taught and learned. By doing it yourself and watching others doing it. For example in a festival like BONE. You don’t need a degree for it but like with any form of art I think the institutional posts, degrees and studies are there to give these marginal ways of being a social and cultural weight they deserve. And of course, to have the possibility to study for example performance art in a university, to specialize, is a great fruit of civilisation. But what will happen in the future, as the genres continue mixing and merging, and performance art, as Jörn pointed out, is the most fragile of them all? Many performances in BONE 18 were as interdiciplinary, as participatory as contemporary theatre or dance performances today. And what will happen if finally all education becomes profit oriented? Is the choice of an artist a profession per se after all? This is what I discussed with another dear colleague, Florian Feigl, who for the time being works as a professor of performance art. This was his punch line:

“I should give them dental floss as a graduation present and tell them to start flossing. Because in the future they won’t have the money to go to the dentist.”

 

Some photos I took from Black Market International performance on Sunday 6th of December:

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Boris Nieslony, Jürgen Fritz, Alastair MacLennan

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Elvira Santamaria Torres

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Boris Nieslony, Jürgen Fritz, Roi Vaara, Marco Teubner

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Helge Meyer, Marco Teubner

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Myriam Laplante, Elvira Santamaria Torres

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From behind a plastic wrap: Lee Wen leaning against Jürgen Fritz’s back.

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Christmas tableau

 

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