Fur on skin
Even when facing the most devastating conditions, human beings can remain creative agents, working with tools that combine things in and out of this world – the concrete and the imagined. Behind chaotic drama, there can be intimacy, resilient resistance, and humble acceptance.
I am researching movement as survival or movement as perseverance of being. This theme is treated as a type of philosophy, one that asks open questions and delivers ‘explanations’ which have not yet found their explanatory capacity, other than in abstraction. The aim is not to understand. The aim is to participate in a process with no answer and no end, but with an experience of carrying on. Survival is a proactive continuum, a begetting, a fabrication, a fashioning, a figuring.
Instead of a stage piece, there will now be images, texts, and videos.
Silja Tuovinen is a dancer and creator from Northern Finland currently dedicated to the process of developing her own practice and choreographic tools independently in Berlin. Silja has been trained as a dancer in her hometown Oulu in her childhood and teenage years and took part in the Dance Intensive Program at Tanzfabrik Berlin in 2018-2019. She holds a BA degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from Malmö University and incorporates elements deriving from her academic education in her artistic creations.
Silja is working to understand more about choreography as a process similar to reconciliation. She is intrigued to find ways to go beyond the surface of assumed realities, while focusing on the feeling, experiencing, and sharing body. Joy and sensuousness of existence as well as the aim to comprehend landscapes of the invisible guide her working processes.
During the festival I have researched movement as survival, or movement as perseverance of being. This research process will not end here as I have understood how it is the essential core of my artistic thinking. The blog format of the festival has enabled my focus to shift strictly into development of practice instead of a development of a specific final piece. Sometimes, you might be offered just what you need.
This research has of course not happened in a vacuum, especially because the current global situation has required a fabrication and figuring through complex, difficult times for all of us. Of course I still feel it’s required to say, that my experience has been an extremely privileged and safe one. I have been conscious not to take too lightly the fact that suddenly, a global crisis opens up “a perfect” avenue for my artistic research. I have been home, physically safe and secure, creating, while many are facing existential struggles. This is not something to overlook or forget. At times lonely, creative work felt even narcissistic. There were days when I did not want to have anything to do with creativity. These feelings however, strengthened my understanding of how I would eventually like to broaden my individual process to a social one.
This already accidentally happened to an extent. During the past few months, I have started to spontaneously send my friends improvised bedtime stories through voice messages. This moment right before going to bed can be a distressing one during difficult times and I felt something comforting needs to be added to that moment. These bedtime stories surprisingly added a new layer to my practice as well and I have framed my “final video” accordingly.
I guess the wonder of a creative process is exactly the mystery of it. I am quite surprised by what came out of me. It is very different than what I imagined it would be. I am very thankful for having been a part of the festival. I am also thankful for having been able to witness the process of all the other artists from such a close, yet long, distance.
Sharing the work on stage in all its sensuousness is my favourite part about dancing and performing. Communicating such sensuousness feels much more difficult on camera. I am making a lot of trials on how to translate a somewhat similar experience through video and its choreography. Here I am sharing one draft and I would love some feedback! What works on camera? What communicates sensuousness? What feels good (maybe even in the body)?
Choreographing/ editing improvised material is a tough process. I feel forced to judge material that arrives through non-judgment, material that is perhaps never meant to be met again after it’s generation. This is a whole new way of meeting myself, but it’s not so bad, and I won’t complain.
How every image appears is through drafting and sketching without judgment. Never is there an aim to produce perfection. The images are always just a spontaenous reflection in the moment, a product of improvisation.
Before, I never considered sharing them. I always tended to give value only for the final and polished. It is a good release to share them here on this blog.
I am interested in how the “soul” and spirit survives in partnership with the body. How comfort, freedom and meaning are found within the difficult. More so I speculate how such processes become felt in the body, what kind of movement is generated, how the body starts to find positions and compose itself in the space.
In this process I read, think and write a lot. Concepts and stories emerge. Instead of trying to represent or explain them in any final project, I let them sink in and be felt. Then I allow my body to interpret freely. It’s a nice cooperation.
From the more “rational” perspective there is something I feel I almost understand. I write it like this.
Survival or persistence of being is a matter of a continuous self-reflection involving an exhaustive dialogue between self and other, inside and outside. It is an ongoing dialectic in which a person strategizes in order to avoid nullification and to achieve a sense of governing their own fate. However, much of this process comes into being spontaneously, surprising the orbits of despair.
It’s a circle and a line.
“We are adepts of metaphysics. We live not on the ground but in the realm of dreams, of talk, of words. We need to add something to everyday life in order to understand it. Even when we are living next to death.”
-a quote from Chernobyl Prayer by Svetlana Alexievich
Images appear as a product on the side. Here is the first one.
Forests and fields have become collaborators by providing a scenery for a creative process. There has been no time and no reason to question the functionality of the uneven, frozen and wet ground as a substitute for a silky, smooth, wooden floor. In fact, the ground has become a more intimate friend than any studio floor before. When working outside I need to generate movement continuously in order to stay warm. Unprecedented inner landscapes take form.
I go for long walks during the moment in the evening when it is going from light to dark. Patience to participate attentively in the slow, inevitable change generates a reassuring reminder of continuity. I just carry on. Images and visions arrive somehow out of the blue, unavoidably and tenderly.
In darkness the forest becomes more vocal. Birds sing louder and they fly closer so that you can often even feel them.