Brief history of research in 2005–2009

1. Foreword on writing conclusions in artistic research

Shomit Mitter’s Systems of Rehearsal (1992) discusses theatre director Peter Brook’s methodical debt to Stanislavski, Brecht and Grotowski. The book’s theme is, according to Mitter, the rehearsal processes of a theatre artist. Mitter’s book fluently combines academic theory with theatre practices, being one of the most outstanding works within the research genre. It his foreword, Mitter discusses general problems within the genre and how he will avoid them in his book.

First, Mitter highlights Viola Spolin’s Improvisation for the Theatre (p. 2) where the problem is that, even though Spolin lists a number of theatre rehearsal methods, it does not state the context in which the rehearsals become significant.

Secondly, he mentions David Selbourne’s The Making of A Midsummer, which is largely a documentary of the making of a theatre performance. Mitter claims that, no matter how specific such theatre rehearsal narratives are in their details, they do not often convey the artistic goals and influences behind the performance to the reader. Moreover, they rarely contain any general theoretic discussion. Such a linearly proceeding rehearsal report may describe the theatre director’s actions at an accurate level but does not clarify the underlying reasons or the historical context (p. 2).

Thirdly, Mitter states Stanislavski’s An Actor’s Work and Grotowski’s Towards a Poor Theatre. These works define the “theatre systems” stated in the books rather thoroughly: A personal view close to artists offers a unique integrity and sensitivity for the books (p. 3). However, such artistic manifestos and biographies do not, according to Mitter, fulfil the general objectives of multi-voiced opinions and interpretations set for research, and their healthy critical review. No matter how thoroughly considered such a book is, it can ultimately raise only one subjective predetermined point of view out of the rehearsal process (p. 3).

When writing of Brook’s theatre rehearsal processes through Stanislavski, Brecht and Grotowski, Mitter says that he attempts to offer sweeps of Brook’s work where specific selected rehearsals only act as a more general example (p. 2). Mitter analyses rehearsal journals rather more analytically than chronologically (p. 2-3). He is more interested in intentions and problems set for actors than any systematic recording of summarised generalisations and responses. Mitter also aims to set up conflicts and contrasts between said theorists and chapters in the book (p. 3).

In this foreword, Mitter shows, in my opinion, that, if the practical outcome of the theatre and the means for producing this result are described as widely as possible, the polyphony in writing and the resulting incoherence or fragmentation are necessary qualities, replacing the traditional chronology, coherence or scientific structure. As a result, it is also easy for me to do and claim this with regard to my research and related writings.

A similar claim on the language of artistic research is also presented in Artistic Research – theories, methods and practices (2005) by Hannula/Suoranta/Vaden. Here, the authors emphasise that, in artistic research, language must first be understood in a wide sense, also outside the written and spoken language (p. 45). The authors present a claim on the language of artistic research needing to be open, critical and intersubjective, instead of being universal or perfect (p. 45). In this, they openly return to the self-reflection of hermeneutic research: it cannot be demanded that a theoretical description or its language must contain such content categories or tools that destroy the experience of which they describe (p. 45). However, the authors give a warning of dangers underlying in such writing: the pitfalls of introspection, subjective (solipsist) idealism and uncritical repetition (p. 45). The simple cure offered is that researchers must justify why their research is significant for the community (p. 46).

“Being unhistorical is being uncritical, being repetitive is being unscientific.” (Hannula, Suoranta, Vaden: p. 46)



2. Progress of research in 2005–2009

As already stated in the foreword and A rewarding performance experience, the questions of this study were raised from my personal difficulties in acting Beckett. After my Master’s thesis in theatrical arts (1999–), I became interested in phenomenological analyses of the body in acting and their practical applications. My original research plan (2004–) and the title of my research “Theatre as a project of the body” refer strongly to the need for such research in my work at the time. While reading phenomenological literature, I developed practical exercises mainly based on the butoh dance, Meyerhold’s applications in biomechanics, the techniques of Commedia dell’Arte and the Alexander Technique. When directing The Screens (2004), I split the development of the rehearsal technique thematically into two: the play’s “living” individuals built their characters on the basis of my Commedia dell’Arte applications and the “dead” individuals on the basis of my butoh applications. As a result, the stage was divided between the living and the dead – conscious embodied “composition” and embodied “experience”. At this time, I also wrote my first drafts of “Commedia dell’Arte Now!” and “A rewarding performance experience“.

A downright phenomenological craze raised its head within Finnish artistic research at the same time. Nearly everyone at the The Doctoral Program of Music, Theatre and Dance (EST) was conducting a phenomenological analysis in their research, myself included. Therefore, I had loads of books to read between my EST years in 2004 and 2006 but one study, in particular, changed my direction significantly.

When Kirsi Monni’s artistic doctoral thesis (Olemisen poeettinen liike; tanssin uuden paradigman tadefilosofisia tulkintoja Martin Heideggerin ajattelun valossa sekä taiteellinen työ vuosilta 1996-1999, TEAK 2004) was released, my first thoughts were that my research is insignificant – someone else had conducted the research I intended to make. I will not comment on Kirsi Monni’s doctoral thesis to any specific extent, but I wish to raise a few examples that, at the time, clarified the difference between our projects for me and the specialty of my research in relation with Monni’s one.

After Kirsi Monni’s presentation at the Dance and the Body seminar (Helsinki, ZODIAK) on 29 January 2005, I wrote down some main points for myself. My brief notes written on 30 March 2005 were as follows:

1. Monni apparently perceives her work through the performer’s “internal vision”. However, I would like to move the focus back on the actions of the entire “happening” of the theatre, while talking of the experienced “embodied” activity with regard to an individual factor. Monni’s presentation raised a research question: “How to discuss experience-based acting, while producing performances so that their overall artistic and orchestral structure is possible?”


2. In her thesis, Monni is aiming at a specific “holistic” conception of the performer/human (p. 26). I am more interested in reductionist, even cybernetic, conceptions of the performer/human.

3. Even though Monni denies making an “unaesthetic manifesto” (p. 25) when writing a “new dance paradigm” where

“…the direction of observations has turned from an object body perceived through vision to the observation of information conveyed by the experienced body and its internal senses. I propose that the techne of the experienced body is understood more as embodied awareness than the body’s aesthetic-technical shaping and control (p. 32)”. (translation own)

Considering my work, here lies the danger of transferring performing arts permanently over to transcendence – outside perceived experiences and reason. A line is drawn where artistic work is sealed inside a box or container, away from aesthetics, presentation, meanings, communication and its possibilities. Where will the possibilities offered by political aesthetics remain?

Kirsi Monni’s study provided me with loads of material through sections where she discusses the practical utilisation of the patterns and exercises of the Alexander Technique, butoh and budo arts in her artistic work. The introduction in Kirsi Monni’s research contains a fairly comprehensive list of other research on phenomenological dance and movement. I have also become familiar with the works of Jaana Parviainen, Maxine Sheets-Johnstone and Leena Rouhiainen but I will not discuss them in more detail.

Yvonne, Princess of Burgundy (2005) specified a number of problems in practical exercises in relation with theory so that, at the time, I had already abandoned modern phenomenology as the leading theory and was looking for something new.

At the RE-SEARCHING symposium in Malmö (21–23 April 2006), Ylva Gislen’s thoughts of Donna Haraway’s cyber theory and Heidi Giplin’s presentation on parametric architecture in the works of William Forsythe made me go deeply into these theories and finally form my study’s theoretical framework on their basis. At the time, I felt for the first time that I was able to clarify my research-artistic goals for myself and my audience through a general theory. During the symposium, I drew a sketch of my future “parameters of embodied theatre” in my notebook.

In 2006–2007, I wrote my first drafts of the theoretical main chapters in my research: “CYBORGS” and “PARAMETRIC ARCHITECTURE“. Ruotsalaisen kesän yö (2006–2007) was the first artistic work where I truly attempted to think of the different areas in theatrical work as cybernetic/parametric parts of the whole. The goal of the theatre performance, towards which the final research performance could move, also became clear at the same time: a theatre which is similar to the ideal in the architectural design of Kar Oosterhuis – the weather.

During the rehearsals for Ruotsalaisen kesän yö, I also wrote the first draft of my “STANISLAVSKI” essay.

What is political theatre? Where is the political core in my theatre production? I wrote the first drafts of the “Possibilities of political theatre in the era of advanced capitalism” essay related to these questions already in 2004, before starting my actual research. At the time, I found Marcuse’s discussions to be more like criticism towards the strive for agitation in left-wing art than a theoretical base for actual art production.

In the draft written in 2007 after reading Donna Haraway and Felix Guattari, I understood that political aesthetics constitutes a real parameter which influences the end result and ultimately shapes my performances. Turning the question of political aesthetics into how a performance is made away from what is made opened the aesthetic/political dimensions of cybernetic embodied experiences for me: abandoning control over the whole in practical processes and adopting a cybernetic production of artistic information located in a situation comprises a radical selection of political aesthetics, producing specific performances. The essay was finally published in 2010 as an abridged version in the Nordic “At the intersection Between Art and Research – Practice-Based research in the Performing Arts” collection.

The final performance for the research was THE BEST OF THE WORLD – or “cyborgs” and “the virtual” in advanced capitalism (2007), which I will discuss in the following chapter.

At the Nordic Summer University winter seminar in Gothenburg on 31 January – 3 February 2008, Sarah Rubidge’s seminar paper was presented concerning the current guidelines of artistic research methods: Artistic Research, Practice-based Research, and Practice-led Research. I found the division to be the first good definition for the research (Practice-led Research) I was conducting. Afterwards, a number of books have been released on the theory and practices of Practice-led Research (e.g. Smith/Dean 2009) but, in my opinion, Rubidge’s summary constitutes the most useful methodological guideline for my research. In 2008-2010, I mostly polished my writings, performance recordings and website. All videos and photos are mainly shot by me. The website has been designed together with Lasse Hytönen.


3.  THE BEST OF THE WORLD – or cyborgs and the virtual in advanced capitalism

My research’s artistic endstation was “THE BEST OF THE WORLD – or “cyborgs” and “the virtual” in advanced capitalism” theatre performance. It was performed at the KIASMA theatre between 19 and 30 September 2007. My research had prepared me towards and for this performance (2004–2007). At some point, I pictured the final structure of my research so that I would not write anything of this performance – that this artistic research would end with it. The performance would act as an indication of the change in thinking until that moment. Now (in summer 2011), I am however writing of that performance so that the reader can understand how essentially it is linked with my research question and its general problems.

3.1.1. Starting point: a thought of denying the performance

In spring 2004, I had a discussion in Helsinki with set designer Juha-Pekka Kiljunen and dramaturgy student Jukka Heinänen of a possible future theatre performance. However, I wanted to question the obviousness of the starting point in a single work of art and refuse from starting to work until I had returned back to the moment where a group of people met to make a decision on this future performance. Actually, I wanted to go back even further – to the moment where no decision on this performance existed. This moment, postponing the start and, above all, “going around it” (denying it) were significant factors in producing this performance in its final form.

Let us return to the discussion. I was interested in Jukka Heinänen’s way of writing. His clauses are fluent, thought-provoking and multi-dimensional. Moreover, he replaced dialogue with prose, images and spatial elements.

However, what is significant is what we decided to do – something we truly wanted to do. We did not choose a work of art we were interested in but an act we wanted to perform – something that would be fun.

Jukka was interested in the biography of snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan. I wanted to make a performance which would be finished during the reading rehearsal. There would be fully virtual reading rehearsals: first, we would produce a radio play, a piece of music that would act as a “score”, around which we would set up three-dimensional audio theatre. Juha-Pekka said to be interested in “someone watching a picture on stage”. Ok!


3.1.2. “Las Vegasation” as a theme

I pondered the theme for the performance: What would be a phenomenon which was present all the time but remained unnoticed, non-verbalised or unconnected to a concrete event? What is the current human conception under changes? What is an interesting topic? Something timeless in classic literature which has waited for its time to rush out to modern theatre arenas? Current topics face the danger of rapid outdating: How can we hold on to something bubbling under without turning it into aesthetic tabloid fast food after completion? I still do not know the answer, but here we failed miserably and as expected. When, in autumn 2007, our leading fictional character was playing poker in a virtual Las Vegas, Finnish tabloids were filled with news of Internet poker and gaming addicts. We truly felt to be on the pulse of the times – in the most embarrassing way considering art. I felt like a marionette controlled by market forces.

However, Internet poker was never our theme; it was merely one possible interpretation or an angle for our performance.

O´Sullivan is the world’s greatest snooker player – an addict, an impossible personality who, through immense talents and years of persistent training, has become the best of the world within his sport. He has not gained anything for free and, in this sense, is an atypical person in the modern western culture. He could act as a glaring contrast to a multi-skilled opportunistic pieceworker who adapts to everything. We felt that, on this basis, we could produce something floating in time, while being timeless.

As a result, “Las Vegasation” comprises a common denominator for a number of different phenomena connected by shared features:

1. Everything changing into different games and probabilities


2. General transition towards entertainment in social functions (media, economy, politics, etc.)

3. An idea that everything can be achieved without really doing anything (reality TV, Popstars, talent shows)

4. All social phenomena involve winners and losers. The majority are losers but every individual could, in principle, be a winner. However, the most important is to be a part of the game, and not left wholly outside.

Juha Varto discussed this theme in his inauguration speech at the School of Art and Design already on 14 January 2000:

In his famous novel “The Counterfeiters”, André Gide presents people who have noticed that it is not necessary to know anything, be responsible for anything or care for any consequences if they can express knowledge and are familiar with related rhetoric(…)Often, those who are counterfeiters, lose the sense of this difference. Even though they are striving for the correct impact, they will ultimately lose the difference and reason. Then, everything will have the same significance – and insignificance(…)The result often is worldlessness: a strange empty freedom which is freedom from something but not freedom in anything…

Juha Varto: Skills first, knowledge second. (editing and translation by the author)

In my opinion, Varto discusses here “Las Vegasation” as a general phenomenon, as well as the differences between the two protagonists in our performance, “Ronnie” and “the player”: Ronnie is actually good at something (snooker), whereas our leading character is not good in anything – but still wants to be “the best in the world”.


3.1.3. Development and production

After Juha-Pekka Kiljunen’s (29 March 1968 – 17 June 2005) unexpected passing over, the production was naturally put on hold. However, we still decided to continue working on the theme with Jukka. We proceeded by meeting every now and then. Jukka wrote pieces of text and I placed “orders” concerning various ideas for encounters, such as “virtual Vegas”, “casino hotel slogans”, “rules of poker” and “Dante’s Vegas”.

Even though I did not say it to Jukka at the time, I wanted to have a “script” (musical score) in my hands at some point that I could follow freely or slavishly – either way. I did not believe that my study would have proceeded systematically if I had started to “device” or “improvise” a theatre performance. I wanted to define parameters, build an orchestration and mix it. Jukka was with me at a certain level and promised to provide me with a script draft every six months out of previously composed texts and encounter ideas.

The “completion” of the script faced understandable obstacles: Jukka was appointed as a dramaturge at the Oulu City Theatre, increasing his workload tenfold. As a result, I started to assemble a new work team to perceive the whole according to what would be left outside the theme and text structure – three-dimensional elements.

My work team would also face other technical setbacks. At the Sibelius Academy’s “Voice, Sound and Subjectivity” seminar, I met technical researcher Teemu Mäki-Patola who was developing cybernetic instruments and user interfaces for them (you may know him for his virtual air guitar). After describing my plans to him, he became very interested in the performance. We met a couple of times but then he received a significant development grant for his product, and did not have any time for our project. My teammates either went after money and positions, or died. At some point, I started to feel rather desperate…

Fortunately, I was able to persuade musical group PINK TWINS to join the project. Its members Jusu and Vesa Vehviläinen became interested in the performance’s themes and execution. We had already worked together before. Particularly through STALKER and JÄRKEVÄT JÄÄ HENKIIN projects, our cooperation within theatre audio and video had proven to be fruitful. In its productions and working methods, PINK TWINS had also used parameters and cybernetics that I could directly interpret as an artistic analogy to my research´s actor self. PINK TWINS programs its machines that make up a “third band member” and take part in the creation and performance of works of art, but that are not under full “control”. However, machines do not freeze as “pieces of art” in their works. It is not a band for which technology or digital systems form a dystopia or a paradise filled with new possibilities; instead, digital technology and parametric design comprise a method of thinking and working – a tool for aesthetic capturing, a way to be and to do.


3.2 Rehearsing and composing the performance online

Because the work team was scattered around Finland and we did not have any funds for travelling, I decided to compose the performance material online – this working method offered a thematic correlation with my research topic and mental terrain. I set up a website on the university’s server where all material produced was uploaded for the entire team to view and comment. It was not a website which had been thought as a work of art but a content bank quickly created with Apple’s iWEB application.

This produced good results: Whenever texts, set design plans or music pieces were completed for the production, they were immediately available to the entire team for viewing/commenting on the production site. The website proved to be a useful medium for sharing information about different themes as links, images and essays. The performance was finished on the website as a radio play. It was developed into an accurate “score” for the performance, providing everyone involved with information about the duration and the relations between different parts of the performance (/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/musiikkidemo.mp3).

The soundtrack could also be considered, following Oosterhuis, to be the performance’s “swim” which the performing “swarm” must follow.


3.3 Rehearsals at Teatterimonttu in July 2007

Rehearsals were divided into two during the first weeks. The set was being built at Teatterimonttu and the script was being developed in a studio into a demo play, a musical score for the performance. We brought the KIASMA theatre stage from Helsinki by taping it virtually at the University of Tampere’s Teatterimonttu theatre on which we started to build set elements according to the set designer’s plans. At the same time, we reviewed the scriptwriter’s text fragments in the studio, and started building the performance’s framework and the order of different scenes.

The script’s structure and focus points, and the entire performance’s form were finalised during the first two weeks in July, when we also became aware of our meagre production budget and that I had to act in the production.

All of us read the text on tape and listened to it. We tried to read as neutrally as possible. However, we changed voices digitally on the go and live. We polished the nature or “sound” of the characters as follows:

1) Waves UltraPitch. is a plug-in for processing various parameters of the human voice. Most important adjustments include the pitch and harmonies.

2) Using different Time Warp methods, we sped up and slowed down speech digitally. As a result, the colour or character of each voice was generated already at the script stage in a content/formal harmony of sound produced by machines and humans.




3.4 Cybernetic applications for actors work

In a workshop at Teatterimonttu, we also developed the cybernetic and virtual theatre applications for the performance. The entire production was a cybernetic-virtual machine to which each performer was connected in some way. The core of all applications was formed by a network of eight Mac computers with MAX programming language as the operating system. Through the use of MAX SP, we were able to edit video and audio in real-time so that the performance produced a true symbiosis between flesh and machine. I will present some of the applications in the following:


1. “desertlady254”, “WIFE” and “dealer” characters. A cybernetic virtual actor: With set designer Ruska Schönberg, we developed a rotating element in the right hand corner of the theatre stage. On its one side was a normal projection surface and on the other Ruska sat clothed in white onto which our virtual female characters were projected: “dealer” (Erja Manto), “WIFE” (Heidi Kiviharju) and “desertlady254” (Siiri Scott). Erja, Heidi and Siiri performed their entire role on camera as short video clips so that they could be projected in real-time in the actual performance. Siiri performed her entire role in the United States, and we never met her “in the flesh”.

The demo version of this application looked like this at the initial stage:

This photo was used to an accuracy of one pixel when producing the videos to be projected onto the character.

“Dealer” looked like this:


“WIFE” looked like this:


“desertlady254” looked like this:


As a result, “desertlady254” was simultaneously projected onto the protagonist’s home (actor Henry Hanikka’s back) and our cybernetic-virtual actress.


2. The protagonist’s connection to the performance’s cybernetic world through a computer: When performing the protagonist, I did not give myself much time to live the part or act psychologically. In order to obtain as real an embodied experience as possible of a “virtual” or “cybernetic” life, I was continuously connected to the performance through my laptop. I directed my images on projection surfaces, adjusted the sounds made by Ronnie’s body movements, and my writings could be seen on the projection surfaces, etc.



3.Ronnie O’Sullivan’s connection to a virtual embodied experience through a “Wii” controller: In his short monologue, Ronnie’s character describes his rewarding embodied experience arising from playing snooker. Actor Henry Hanikka held a Nintendo Wii controller (recently released on the market) in his hand. It changed the actor’s thematic three-dimensional embodied movement into an actual sound heard by the audience. The controller was connected to my laptop on stage through a Bluetooth connection which transmitted a signal to the performance’s MAX SP network for processing. Therefore, I was able to adjust the parameters of Henry’s movements before they were transferred to sound processing for the performance. At the same time, Ronnie’s character played “virtual snooker” projected on the floor of the stage. Thematically, this reflected the conflict between the “real” and “virtual” embodied experience.



4.“Performance of machines” originating from the performer’s cybernetic impulses: The performance ended with the finale of machines. All performers sent an impulse from the devices connected to them, which the MAX SP network independently sent for editing according to predefined parameters. At the same time, Ronnie’s character, in his monologue, defends any subjective/collective, enjoyable/rewarding embodied experience: virtual, cyborgic, motional, even narcotic (smoking)…



5.Failed cybernetic application: The players’ (Pink Twins) brainwaves were converted into MAX SP signals to be used for controlling the performance’s audio and video. This took a lot of time and money but never worked properly. We borrowed EEG scanning equipment from the Tampere University Hospital’s EEG laboratory and functional MAX applications were available, but we were never able to finish this project as actual parameters in the performance’s network. However, we left the hoods intended for measuring brainwaves on the players in order to highlight the general cybernetic connection between the man and the machine.


3.5 Final performance

The production was completed in its final form fairly quickly in rehearsals performed at the KIASMA –theatre. The completion process reminded me of a well-prepared rock gig rather than an ordinary theatre performance. At this stage, all performers knew in which order the pieces were to be played and who would play which “instrument”. We shot the rehearsals with video camera and watched them together backstage. We were mainly polishing the balance between different parts of the performance and transitions from one sequence to another. As a result, we performed the final mixing process together.

However, this complex process produced one concrete research result: because the performance did not, at least at its completion stage, have a theatre director sitting in the stands and thinking of the whole performance considering the audience, the performance became slightly one-dimensional in relation to its themes. A video camera cannot capture the experience of being in the audience or define what it means to actually step into a specific space and sense the particular performance – this can only be done by a director.


4. Current conclusions… (13 June 2011)


In retrospect, my research can be read as a narrative of changes in the definition of embodiment in my artistic work: a theoretical, artistic and practical narrative. The images of embodiment of an actor that I was after at the beginning of this research are set as “containers” where communication and the acquisition of new information about the world are clearly restricted (limited). The same criticism towards these “containers” can also be seen as a general “cognitive turn” in theatre research, particularly in studies where the theatre is seen as an ecological phenomenon, something larger than the head and the brain, something that dissolves into functional observation processes (Paavolainen:7).

My artistic problems with the definition of identity on the theatre stage or embodied subjectivity in acting have not been fully solved in this research. Donna Haraway’s A Cyborg Manifesto detached me from my previous conceptions but does not offer any actual solutions or practical recipes. Currently, I can easily agree with Chuck and Carl Dyke’s demand on a “post-Haraway” identity:

We need a nontrivial conseption diversity“(Dyke, Dyke:1).

I am currently working on an audio theatre piece where a computer imitates famous Finnish actors and produces the content of the play (e.g. poetry). The work’s theme centres on Ville Lähde’s essay written for a radio play on the “relationality of human identity”. The essay addresses the issue of human identities and how they are inextricably interwoven into the pattern of human relations, past and present.

The essay is also an exercise and one possible direction for my future artistic research in subjectivity.

  1. (abstract by me)


    “Imagine a blank sheet of paper.”

    “Poke the sheet randomly by using felt pens of different colours. There are separate and homeless dots here and there without any home. Only from afar can you see patterns like constellations but they change according to the distance and point of view. Move closer.”

    “You are one of the dots in a limitless world of paper. You may know the closest dots by name and colour, and some distant dots via them, but your field of vision is limited – after all, you are living in a two-dimensional world.”

    “Let us add a third dimension. Crumple the paper, and the relative positions of the dots change surprisingly, and some of them disappear from view. Human life is not as flat as a sheet of paper. All things slip into cracks in the crumpled sheet. Human life is multi-dimensional.”

    “Our paper sheet contains a number of other zones and groups.”

    “When we encircle groups of different colours into separate areas, the numerous boundaries begin to cross and do not follow the shapes human or natural geography. We may not have any common denominator with our closest neighbour but we can find many friends on other sides of the paper whose lives have been determined by many different boundaries. ”

    “How is it possible that closer is farther, and farther is closer? Because humanity lives in multiple dimensions.”

    “Mark yourself and the most extreme dot on the sheet so that they can easily be seen. They are probably not connected by any of the groups drawn as they are so far from each other. However, we continue to think two-dimensionally. Take the paper in your hand and start crumpling it slowly until you and your distant neighbour are close to one another. The distance between you may be shorter than that to any of your neighbours.”

    ”People are living in a world that crumples over and over again and, as a result, friendships across boundaries and between enemies are possible. In addition, surprising alliances are possible, even inevitable.”

    “Straighten and crumple the sheet over and over again. Our paper world has created a new dimension which makes it even more crumpled – time.”
    “ But borders are not only perceptions, Repeated enclosures and zonings of our lives make these arbitrary borders our second nature.”

    “These zones are controlled easily from the inside and the outside, shaping us with them because our class-divided nature and physical world are forced together. In the Ghetto, it is dangerous to be a stranger as where boundaries are controlled through violence, stories and songs.”

    “Until a new time breaks it all, first in the shredder of war, then in the forge of progress. ”

    “We must start from the beginning. Poke dots here and there with a felt pen, randomly. Also draw dots on the other side of the sheet because there are more of us.”

    “We are forced to examine the distance and closeness between each other in the multi-dimensional geometry of an ever-crumpling sheet of paper where our old tools do not offer help. The more we crumple our paper, the more different neighbours we can find – and the same people are both distant and close to us. We are gathering new layers of our identity because boundaries also cross each other inside us. I am many.”

    “An image. You are falling towards a coast broken by fjords, a borderline of two colours. You are used to thinking of the blue sea and the brown earth as a natural boundary, something clear and undisputed, because that is what it looks like from afar. The closer you move, the more broken the boundary is. It becomes more difficult, impossible ultimately, to decide on which side of the boundary a dot is. When we dive closer, we can also see previously hidden tones, a beach constantly shaped by the sea, a rock eaten away by erosion, slowly fossilising algae… Boundaries are always full of life, no matter how you guard them.”

    “Our various boundaries between and inside ourselves have always existed. They do not disappear even if clearer and forced boundaries try to cover them. They are constantly shaped by the hands of time, building their three-dimensional fjords in the corners of human life.”

    “Our most dangerous and powerful stories try to convince use that there is only one boundary and everything else is false consciousness, free-spirited foolishness or primitive strangeness. These stories claim that we are living in a flat world where we cannot climb over boundaries or dig our way underneath them.”

    “Stories of a flat world do not have any history or the human diversity within each individual, not just between them”

    “Walls are also living in the accusations of class betrayal, burkas, unions between religion and politics, discussion bans, neighbourhood police forces and cadres, not only in reinforced concrete and the disparity of income. These practices can succeed only if we agree to be two-dimensional dots. If we recognise our diversity, continuously compare ourselves with others, refuse to settle and move in an ever-crumpling world, power can no longer hold on to us.”




    1. Dyke Chuck, Dyke Carl (2008):Identities: The Dynamical Dimensions of Diversity. In book Alperson, Philip (toim) (2008). Diversity and Community: An Interdisciplinary Reader. Blackwell Publishers Ltd. Malden, MA, UK.
    2. Mitter, Shomit (1992). Systems of Rehearsal. Stanislavsky, Brecht, Grotowski and Brook. Routledge. London.
    3. Haraway, Donna (1991). “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century” in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature pp.149-181. Free Association Books. Routledge. New York
    4. Hannula, Mika; Suoranta, Juha; Vadèn, Tere (2005). Artistic Research – Theories, Methods and Practices. Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki. Cosmoprint. Espoo.
    5. Kanninen, Mikko (2010). “At the intersection Between Art and Research – Practice-Based Research in the Performing Arts” essay collection’s article Possibility of political theatre in modern capitalism – Practice-led research inspired by aesthetics of Herbert Marcuse“. NSU Press 2010.
    6. Monni, Kirsi (2004). Olemisen poeettinen liike; tanssin uuden paradigman taidefilosofisia tulkintoja Martin Heideggerin ajattelun valossa sekä taiteellinen työ vuosilta 1996-1999. TEAK Helsinki.
    7. Paavolainen, Teemu (2010). Theatre/Ecology/Cognition. Theorizing Performer-Object Interaction in Grotowski, Kantor, and Meyerhold. Tampere University Press. Tampere.


    Online material

    1. Wikipedia: Ronnie O´Sullivan.
    2. Rubidge, Sarah (2004). Artists in the Academy: Reflections on Artistic Practice as Research [online document]. Australian Dance Council. [date of reference 31 October 2009]
    3. Varto, Juha (2000). Ensin taitaminen sitten tietäminen.

Mikko Kanninen

Theatre as a Project of a Body - artistic research on the theoretical and practial possibilities of moders acting



To be presented, with the permission of the board of School of Communication, Media and Theatre of the University of Tampere,

for public discussion in the Teatterimonttu theatre, D-wing, Kalevantie 4, Tampere on April 22nd, 2012 ay 12 o`clock.


(c) Mikko Kanninen 2012