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Poetry


[See] the tablet-box of cedar,
[release] its clasp of bronze.
[Lift] the lid of its secret,
[pick] up the tablet of lapis lazuli and read out
the travails of Gilgamesh, all that went through.
Gilgamesh

The oldest know literary epic poem in the world, based on stories written down around 4,000 years ago, and translated and adapted to other languages thousands of years ago. The most complete version existing today is preserved on 12 clay tablets in the Nineveh library collection of the 7th century BC Assyrian king Ashurbanipal. The epic is a story of King Gilgamesh, his travels and his search for wisdom. It also contains the first account of a flood story. It was Sumerian culture that first gave us the art of writing, and it was there that the first city wall between civilisation and nature was built at Uruk, the city built by King Gilgamesh.

I belong to the Dog Prairie,
There I once got my birth,
What is my name, who is my daddy.
But then they just took me away
From the dusty endless plain. —
Sirkka Turkka (1939—): Sielun veli. 1993.



A question and a proposal

Our time has been called the age of global performance; it has been said that performance and spectatorship define us living at the beginning of 21st century. At the same time we are living in an age of ecological crises, and many researchers consider the extinctions of animal species to be our greatest thread.

How would it be possible to find a way out of the performative society, or at least move to its periphery, and change the meaning of spectatorship?


A proposal: Create a performance with non-human actor(s), or create a performance for a non-human spectator. Other than human, as non-human agents, we mean here beings and processes of “nature”: other animals, plants, phenomena of weather, various durational processes. If you wish to share your experiences, you can do it via the Chronopolitics Facebook page. But public sharing might not be the most meaningful way to approach this issue in the performative societies. You can also contact Maus&Orlovski performance collective by e-mail: info@chronopoliticsmemoperformance.fi