ICE HOLE issue 10: Isolation

The spring of 2020 was very unusual. In a short time, many things changed. Due to Covid-19 everyday life was not possible as we used to know it, there were new restrictions and safety precautions concerning meeting people and travelling. One thing that changed was teaching. 

I was planning to give a course entitled “Reality show – Performance Art Course” at Aalto University, during April and May 2020. Due to the Covid-19 situation the course was held via Zoom. Initially the idea of having a performance art course via Zoom felt paradoxical, when thinking that performance art is often defined as live, corporeal and an embodied art form that happens between people in a shared time and space – and that was exactly what we were unable to do.

However, there is a strong tradition of performing to camera in the field of performance art. So, I decided to focus on that in the course. The aim was not to make perfect films or short movies, but to document performed acts for sharing. Every Monday afternoon we gathered to talk together via Zoom about the practicalities, but the main work of the course was done individually. I gave materials to read, performance assignments to complete and questions to think about. The participants did performances, documented them and gave feedback to each other. The topics varied from site situated performances to Fluxus inspiration and from autobiographical performances to everyday life inspired works. 

This issue of ICE HOLE is an edited compilation based on video works participants made during the course. In spite of the circumstances being abnormal and tricky I thought that the course was rewarding and fulfilled its objectives. 

In these performances people are at home, they drink coffee and read papers and do everyday life actions  but you can feel the dislocation in the air. Although performance art generally is individual-centered, I feel that in these performances individualism is palpable in a new way, where it’s not only about doing things alone but doing things separated and alienated. It was not only a choice the artists made, but the circumstances they needed to deal with. Also, the relationship to nature is present. Although feelings may have been anxious and alienated at times, the birds didn’t stop singing and the Spring eventually came, as it comes every year. 

I’d like to thank all contributors: Viena Breilin, Joao Marcelo Emediato, Martin Dahlström-Heuser, Asko Heikura, Sini Henttu, Punit Hiremath, Eva Menschel, Cansu Pylkkänen, Oona Räyhänkoski and Sanni Saarinen. 

In Helsinki 3rd August 2020

Pilvi Porkola

Editor in chief