Talking Head (Puhuva pää in Finnish) was my first performance in Reality Research Centre in 2001. Without the concept of reality research around me and two friendly attendants – Dancer-Choreographer Pia Karaspuro and Dramaturge Jani Manninen – I wouldn’t have ever had the courage to do it.
In Talking Head I verbalize all the thoughts running through my head for an hour. I have no script or any kind of plan what I’m going to say. What I have is a blindfold in the beginning and maybe a task (unknown to me before) to execute at a later stage.
I’ve been doing Talking Head every now and again. After the last show in Fluxee Turku Club in 2013 I asked myself: “Why don’t I ever do this properly?” And by properly I mean production-wise and also developing the concept.
Here it comes, as a bold independent production in Kiasma Theatre: eight shows from 13th to 30th of May, some in Finnish and some in English.
The crew. I’m working with Stage and Costume Designer Paula Koivunen and Actress and Audience Participation specialist Helena Ryti, accompanied with the staff from Kiasma Theatre like Light Designer Jani-Matti Salo and Sound Designer Joonas Pehrsson.
As the performance is linked with Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art’s Robert Mapplethorpe retrospective exhibition, I’m going to do a special Mapplethorpe task in each show.
Alongside the performances Helena is running an audience participation program including voluntary post-performance discussions and special program for youth groups.
We are also carrying out a Face to Face with Talking Head -video installation from 27th to 29th of May. You can sit in front of me while I’m doing it and we will be seen and heard by the museum visitors through TV-screens set in the Kiasma Theatre foyer. While sitting head-to-head with me, you can either just observe what happens in my mind – or you can try it yourself!
The last show in 30th of May is two hour long marathon. I’ve never done it for more than one hour. With both dread and excitement I’m looking forward to what are the results of that extra duration.
As a piece of evidence to the fact that there’s nothing completely new in the world – or in the world of art – Pilvi Porkola just gave me a hint of a “forefather” to Talking Head. He is Dan Graham, an artist, writer and curator from New York. He’s done a slightly similar performance in 1975 called Performer/Audience/Mirror. The difference is that Graham follows a stricter procedure of specified topics and movements than I do.
I remember using a mirror in one of the performances in 2001… I think I’m gonna do it again in some of the shows as a homage to Graham.