Maria Rutanen

The events of “My Body, The Lion” are set on a sand-free savannah, where sensitivity, pleasure, subtlety, and tragedy of bodies are embodied through somatic experience and imagination. By looking at the empathetic experiences evoked by fictional films and nature documentaries, the process of making a work explores imagination and empathy, leading to questions about the human relationship with the surrounding world. What role does empathy play in dealing with global crises, and how can empathy be enabled through corporeality and imagination? The work is based on a human’s ability to move back and forth between the realms of ‘what is’ and ‘what could be’.
 
CHOREOGRAPHY: Maria Rutanen
PERFORMANCE: Joséphine Auffray, Mikkel Mallow, Maria Rutanen

Maria Rutanen comes originally from Finland and currently lives and works in Berlin as a dance artist, teacher, and choreographer. She holds a Master in Choreography from the Inter-University-Centre for Dance HZT Berlin. She graduated as a dancer and performer from the TIP-School of dance, improvisation, and performance in Freiburg. She studied dance and somatics, dance pedagogy, and physical theatre in Finland. Since 2011 she has realized her own choreographic work, often in collaboration with live musicians. Her approach to dance and choreography is influenced by improvisation, contact improvisation, and somatic practices, which she taught in Finland, Germany, Denmark, India, Bolivia, and Iran.

Joséphine Auffray is a dance artist, performer, and choreographer. She studied at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London (2015-2018) for the Bachelor in Contemporary Dance. In 2017, as part of the Erasmus program, she joined for several months the Folkwang Universität der Künste in Essen. Originally from France, she first studied in the Conservatoire de Nantes with intense ballet training and later followed the contemporary dance course in the same Conservatoire.

Mikkel Mallow works with performance and dance making in Copenhagen and Berlin. Aside from being engaged with dance, performance, and artistic collaborations, Mikkel has an academic background in the field of sociology, art, and modern culture. In 2018/19, he was part of the Dance Intensive program at Tanzfabrik, Berlin. Currently, he is working with practices of participatory performance and hauntology for the new media and contemporary art festival ‘CLICK’.

Goldberg Variations part II

 

J.S.Bach: Goldberg Variations: Aria da Capo è Fine. Performed by Kimiko Ishizaka.                                                                Sound: Alex Zampini

                        

In between territories

I live between many territories. I share them mostly with ants and mosquitos. Here the latter ones are famous for spreading the virus called dengue. They are called “tiger mosquitos”, that have nothing to do with “Pantheras”. They’re two winged insects belonging to the family called “Culicidae” and I call them “bitches”. The “bitches” kill the most humans in the world. And guess what, the face masks and night curfew won’t help, because they like to eat my legs and many of them are active during the day time. And they really are everywhere, inside and outside.

When I am going to explore new territories, it is way too hot. I am afraid of snakes and scorpions. The grass is sharp and it scratches the wounds on my skin. We all embody the lions from different environments. We have formed a temporary pride, and there are 25 017 kilometers between us. We are in a relationship to each other through a very strange territory. It is time consuming to take over the territory online. It can be an overwhelming place to be. It is perhaps one of the most dangerous territories today and at the same time the information, I gain so easily, is astonishing. I know so many things about lions now, additionally I can be in the shade, use air-con, and stalk lions from a safe distance. I am reading about how animals gain group immunity. I read how a lack of social connections decreases the immunity in humans. I read that lions are the only cat animals living in prides, making it easier for them to get territories for themselves. I read how some female lions exhibit male attributes, they grow manes and kill cubs, which is commonly known as male behaviour. I read that the biggest threat to lions are poachers and urbanization, and how their territories are tightened. Some of them are left out from the pride, they live in solitude and roam as nomads without territories. There are no queens and kings inside the pride except in the human imagination. They are the felines that need the most rest. They have strong legs, teeth and shoulderplates and they always greet each other with physical touch.

It has been a genuinely interesting experience working online, posting assignments and videos back and forth. One of the most exciting things was how the two members of our temporary pride have never met off the screen in real life, but nevertheless they have developed a confidential, close, and inspiring working relationship with each other. Finding a work strategy took its own time and required experimentation when we all were in different places around the world, but we definitely bonded by the end of the research.

I am exploring verticality. It is a new territory in my solistic lion practice. It is surprising and unexpected. I thought I would only crawl all the way to and from the stage. I don’t actually know anymore whether I am doing research for a camera or a stage piece. I became a cameraman, an editor and I appear in my own film. I am not a filmmaker, but it is interesting to edit our research materials and try to combine them with some narratives they don’t initially have. The whole project for me became an amalgam of different habitats we nomad.

And suddenly I was supposed to decide where my home is, where I want to be when countries are closing their borders. The foreign ministry of Finland was calling its “pride” out to go home immediately. They wanted all the Finnish people to go home to their own territory. Germany was offering evacuation flights to go back to German territory, because they call it a safe place for “us” who live there. They want us to stay inside of our own walls. Luckily I would have those walls, where to go. I was in between many choices, but I stayed next to the woods and wildlife. Next to two most dangerous species: humans and mosquitoes. Since I’ve been on this island people have died and injured from traffic accidents, someone was murdered, a woman fell from the rocks and died, a guy went kayaking, the ocean took him and he never came back. Additionally there’s plenty of dengue. And corona, fortunately so far one case, already healed, no deaths.

The strong muscle pain, mess of hallucinations, enormous headache, stomach ache, nausea, weakness, dizziness, rash, itchiness, cold, sweat, and eight days of high fever. “The bitches” got me. My body became a temporary territory for a virus, dengue took me as host.  And you know what they say, the more we squeeze the wild life due to urbanization and farming, the more and more viruses are passed from animals to humans. We move so vastly and they move as we move, between territories. That’s nature’s nature.

Thinking of territories, homes, prides, and their meaning to us. Or if they even exist, except in our imagination like lions, in a way as we know them.

The research continues but now we need a real flesh. 

 

 

 

No mad

 

by Joséphine Auffray

Music: Schubert, Fantasy in F minor

L(i)ongings

 

by Mikkel Mallow

The King

Nomads

         Remix writing from three of us.

Even though I don’t know what character it is, what is it, what’s coming out from me, I cannot define its emotions, gender, history, or narration, it has already reached a certain state of being. It is definitely very alert and sensitive. It sees life in inanimate objects, that connects it to aloneness and longing for other bodies. How to survive without contact with one’s own species? 

Quick heartbeat. Hot skin. Sharp eyes. Teeth out.

Ready to jump, to bite, to scratch. To hurt, to protect.

I lose control. My instinct is talking.

Destructive lion, male lion, an abandoned king who crawls through all obstacles, not stopping for anything or anyone. The bones are grand and strong, crushing the dry trees. It leaves no marks on my lion. It empowers him. He now only hears himself, his own heart pumping, his breath is out of control, his bones pushing against the ground. The detailed awareness of the lion body has lost itself to rage, until the power runs out and the empty feeling of solitude again occupies the body. Echoe of violence runs through my blood. Feeling sleepy now. 

I feel in between being a human and a lion. Sometimes more feeling as a lion, sometimes more as a human. I feel in between dangerous and seductive. Seductive? Yes, when my eyes become sharp and the direction of my focus is directed on something specific, I can feel extremely feminine (which is a new feeling in my lion body). Suddenly I become lighter, graceful, and more precise. I go away from the image of a king to, on the contrary, sense myself as a goddess of seduction. I can feel in between wanting to devour someone/something and wanting to have sex with it.

By trying to grow my sharp teeth, I produced minimal spasms on my superior outer lips. My tongue started growing and being wetter. I stuck it out and wetted my chops. My gaze became sharper. My throat started expanding and a low sound arised. 

I consider for a moment to look for animals to hunt, but there seems to be nothing alive here, but the spiders crawling on my skin and the birds too far up to reach. 

I feel hungry, but still not angry. Angriness? Why do I relate the lion to angriness?  

I feel splitted between two emotions as a reaction to the sound of fire. The first is satisfying, settled, soft, rocking. The second feels alerting, alarming, dangerous, in the need of reacting fast.

Lying on the grass. Nothing to do. Contemplating. Enjoying the heat. Turning slightly the head in order to receive more heat on the skin. Potentially a little fly catching my intention for half a second, but at the end it’s not worth it. 

I am very much in the present moment. I feel soft and at the same time very strong. There’s elasticity, resilience and wisdom in me. 

A vulnerability and soft darkness in all that uncontrollable power.

Why would I think that my projection of human characteristics on them will make me know them, the lions?

                               

one to one

with the most epic cinematic royalty free sound, that can be found online to blow up the ambience.

Out of context

 

film and sound by Joséphine Auffray

“ I look at it. I know I have the power. I am the predator. I know I can devour it any time. But I want to take my time. The best is there: taking my time to enjoy the ‘before’ than the moment itself. But I am weirdly drawn to it. Almost like if I was dependent on it. But didn’t I say I had the power? The power of choosing when is enough or when I want more? It is almost like if this thing was controlling me. I can not take my eyes away from it. It is hypnotizing me, controlling me. But I like it, I enjoy it, I desire it. It seduces me and I seduce it.  We are becoming one.“

Pride in solitude

 

Film, edit, sound: Louise Bonde

Lounge

Boredom brushes me. 

I need to shake off,

I stretch my arm.

I need to shake off,

Leg bounces.

Going through tedium.

Throwing away my life.

Bad conscience.

I need to shake off,

I change position.

Repeating my patterns.

Time to reflect.

Trying not to drift away into daydreaming.

I disengage.

Coming back to the focused mind, 

again engaged.

But why would they even experience boredom?

Quoting Heidegger:

“Being bored is the fundamental state of being a human being”.

Being bored alone, 

turning on the social boredom simulation. 

Being bored together,

lounging and hanging around.

Such a privilege.

Time and space to be bored.

Does it make you motionless or motionful? 

Significance of silence.

As Mikkel wrote in one of his reflection:

The boredom is showing itself, boredom sometimes turns into a peaceful state of nothing in me.

 
 
Lounging (verb):
lie, sit, or stand in a relaxed or lazy way.
Lounge (noun): 
A public room, as in a hotel, theater, or club, in which to sit and relax.

Origin:
Early 16th century (in the sense ‘move indolently’): perhaps symbolic of slow movement. 

(source: oxford)

Goldberg Variations

J.S.Bach: Goldberg Variations: Aria

By Kimiko Ishizaka