This interview was made by email by Jesse Gehlen from Maailman Kuvalehti to Matraquita in October 2016. The interview was not published in this interview format.
Where does your interest in performance in public spaces come from?
It is very important for me to think who is my audience in different spaces and contexts, and public space represent the possibility of encountering a broader audience than in designated art spaces such as museums, galleries and theaters; this is important for me since I perceive that art discourses are neutralised when they are confined.
I perceive the potential of art as an affection that can question and influence its surroundings, not as an art product, but as an artivist practice and contribute to a necessary social change. I don’t want to make art only for artists and I don’t want to act only as an artist.
I think artistic practice in public space as a form of knowledge that can from the poetics talk about politics by bringing something to it and touching something that underlays in human transmission, drifting away from data-dropping. I think in art as a possibility of an encounter, were one-to-one relations are extremely important to reach and understand the other.
How did you come up with the idea of sauna as a performance space?
In 2012 I made my first work in a sauna, it was based on a comment from a friend who introduced me to sauna by saying that, “Sins can be washed in sauna” it really impressed me for it was a very powerful statement, it sounded almost religious, I didn’t understand what he meant with “sins” but this got me very interested.
In a very broad way I have thought in sauna as a performative space that through its basic elements such as steam, water, heat, rocks, community and bodies, can relate more to the human than to a specific culture. It can brings us together to discuss important things, such as events that in our present history, seem to have power to torn us apart (maybe this can relate to the“sins” he mentioned)
In (A)part the performer and audience are both part of the performance. Is that style of performance something that interests you in particular and why?
I think that building temporary communities is very important today, I have a big need for street life and interaction. As the artist or performer, I’m not interested in giving instructions to the audience or to expect a directed participation, I rather think in building the necessary conditions for resonating with each other. My work is to activate places and objects thought carefully before hand while maintaining the piece as open as possible, allowing it to breath and to evolve by itself. It is very challenging.
How would you describe (A)part and why should people join the performance?
(A)part is a performance that seeks to reverberate with others by combining poets, sound, video and performance art, embedded in the sauna ritual. it’s an installation that is built over three hours and that will constantly negotiate with the weather, audience, architecture, and dramaturgy. Its basic structure is open, fluid and maybe abstract but there are also some very concrete images and texts that appear over time, echoing and building connections in between.
The final performance is defined by its dramaturgy but will remain unknown to me until the night of the event, for it can be completed only if we are many. I sense that being part of a community, even if its transitory, can be empowering and inspiring to us as society.