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To the person who finds this


This virtual page is part of a performance entitled Chronopolitics – III Memo of Time, which will begin in March 2010. I have called it an ‘endless performance’, not to highlight the endless nature or the pervasiveness of the performance itself, but to question the boundaries of our performative society, of subjectivity and performance; to ask whether performance has an exterior and an end.

This ‘endless performance’ is an attempt to address the questions of duration and its significance in our time. It is clear that we humans have difficulty understanding the duration of the impacts of human activity in this world, on this planet where the human and the non-human are so inextricably linked.

The starting point for the performance is the notion of a world without animals, but filled with representations of animals. This vision of a potential future world is founded on two trends powerful in the present day: the escalating extinction of animal species and the vast growth of performance practices and research. Behind this vision is the idea, presented by philosopher Jacques Derrida, that human subjectivity is based on animals.

Chronopolitics moves between different art forms, and branches into a web performance, a live performance and a performance by non-humans.

The Live performance is a moving workroom that can settle in new places and connect with new collaborators. Through Kiasma, the visitor can walk from the Zoological Museum to the workroom and on to the Observatory with own timing. Ongoing events in the workroom – a kind of wuwei space – include e.g. live video, qigong, poetry/sound art, games, and a contradictory question: does becoming a representation involve becoming a victim? The premiere of the live performance in Helsinki will be on 19.3.2010, and other performances will take place 23.3. / 25.3. / 26.3. / 27.3.

The Performance by Non-humans is located on an ancient shoreline in Kivikko - a northern suburb of Helsinki N/lat 60° 15.022’, E/lon 25° 4.631’ (KKJ geographic coordinates) - at the highest point in the city, the site of the shore of the Yoldia Sea at the end of the last Ice Age around 11,000 years ago. The potential performers there are non-human actors; principally the lichens, the rocks, the ants and the clouds.

The Web Performance is the site that you are now reading, and the suggestion at the bottom of the page, to which you can respond. The duration of this web performance is dependent on the duration of the Internet itself and, with our current understanding, will require in the years, decades and centuries to come countless server renewals, software updates, changes of applications and equipment, as well as people willing to commit themselves to updating this page from one generation to the next.

Chronopolitics is being run by Maus&Orlovski, a Helsinki-based, ever-changing performance collective of artists from various fields, assembled and directed by me. The Chronopolitics working group includes non-human agents and people of different ages and areas, most of whom also serve as performers in this live performance. This performance is the third part of a series of performances entitled Memos of Time (2006—), exploring the relationships between performance, nature and time. The earlier parts of the series are Mr Nilsson – I Memo of Time (2006, 2007) and A Performance with an Ocean View (and a Dog/for a Dog) – II Memo of Time (2008).

Mycelia grow and spread out — fungi, lichens. The largest organism on earth is not the blue whale; it is a particular kind of mycelium living in the United States. The mycelium of the performance paradigm has spread like warming in our age. No one speaks of an age of lichen, though a single lichen mycelium might conceivably cover the whole of the northern hemisphere.

What happens when a single performance begins to spread out? Does it make the bonds holding that performance together more fragile? Can a performance start to disappear; filaments carrying the performance DNA remain somewhere, but the performance as a whole is not perceivable? Or does even the dispersed and uncontrolled growth of a performance strengthen the spectatorship and the age of performance? Is it possible to find a border at which the performance implodes, upon which it can no longer be a functional, significant concept? What would happen at such a point? What if the performance mycelium turns towards the lichen mycelium?

Tuija/M&O

Maus&Orlovski 2009—2010—


  • (in March 2010 the humans of the performance are between 70-9 years old)

    Performers
    • non human co-performers
    • Sirkka Turkka (poetry)
    • Kauko Uusoksa (qigong)
    • Tuija Kokkonen (concept, text, direction)
    • Pekka Sassi (animal videos)
    • Riku Saastamoinen (sound)
    • Sini Haapalinna (live video)
    • Pinja Kokkonen (roboanimal direction)
    • Silja Sallamaa, Elina Tommila (guides/the Zoological Museum)
    • Sakari Lehtinen, (star presenter /Observatory, Ursa Astronomical Association)
  • Rest of the working group:
    • Mika Aalto-Setälä (graphic design)
    • Johanna Tirronen (Production consult)
    • Ville Saarivaara (web programming)
    • Karita Blom (production assistant)

  • Other co-agents:
    • Jouko Rikkinen, professor of botany, Dept. of Biosciences/ University of Helsinki (lichen photography and discussions)
    • Ilona Oksanen, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dept. of Food and environmental sciences, Division of Microbiology /University of Helsinki (Introduction to cyanobacteria, microscoping and filming in collaboration with Sini Haapalinna)
    • Markku Nousiainen, digital media designer & artist (programming & technical consulting)
    • David Hackston, English translation (except the citates)

  • Production: Maus&Orlovski in collaboration with Kiasma Theatre/Musem of Contemporary Art and Theatre Academy, Helsinki.

  • Supported by: Finnish Cultural Foundation, Kone Foundation, Performing Arts Research Centre/Theatre Academy, Arts Council of Finland


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