A few words…

Welcome to this issue of Ice-Hole, a compilation of some of the remains of the kick-off seminar of the Academy of Finland funded research project How to do things with performance? The seminar was organized on 4th October 2016 in collaboration with the Performing Arts Research Centre at the Theatre Academy of University of the Arts Helsinki, and Esitystutkimuksen verkosto, the Finnish Network for Performance Studies. As the principal investigator of the project I have the pleasure to introduce the research team: senior lecturer and docent Hanna Järvinen, post doctoral researcher, doctor of art Pilvi Porkola and post doctoral researcher, doctor of art Tero Nauha, who are all contributing to this issue.

First a few words about the project: In this project we ask what can be done with performance – what actualises when a performance takes place, when it is documented, and when it is written about. In what ways can we understand ‘performance’ today, as a new materiality, as presence, and in the international, multilingual context where words, documents, and practices connote differently but are shared in online environments? We seek to update the theory of performativity vis à vis new materialist theories of agential realism and non-philosophy.

The project brings together four views on artistic research in performance. By asking what can be done with performance as research, the project partakes in recent discussions in artistic research, in performance philosophy, and performative and performance writing as well as in the emergent discussion of performance studies in Finland. Through performing research, artistic research defines what is the context or the world where this performance takes place. Hence, a critical attitude towards the political, social, economic, and philosophical premises of research is inherent in the process – not as given, but as produced and articulated in and as the acts of research. Moreover, artistic research does not produce only postulations about the world; rather, its processes and performances will actualise in the world as real and material events.

We take our task seriously, despite or perhaps due to the fact that all four of us have very different ideas of what performance is or could be and what can be done with performance, not to speak of how that should be done. In order to get started we invited our distinguished advisory board, professor Heike Roms, doctor Katve-Kaisa Kontturi, professor Ed Scheer and professor Simon O’Sullivan to help us, by sharing their views. And they all did, either joining us in person or by some mediated contribution. We also invited some Finnish artists and scholars with experience of working within the broad field of performance to show us or tell us their view on how to do things with performance. And surprisingly many were willing to do that in illuminating and provocative ways, so we invited anybody interested to join us for the day in exploring and listening to what can be done with performance. The artists who helped us by sharing their views, not included in this issue, were Esa Kirkkopelto, Kira O’Reilly, Saara Hannula and Kimmo Modig as well as the ones who are contributing here, Henna-Riikka Halonen, Tuomas Laitinen and Karolina Kucia. Thank you to all of you!

As is usual with live events, and despite our diligent efforts to document all contributions, not much of what remains of the performances seems interesting for somebody who was not there. Therefore the texts and videos included in this issue are further developments, condensed extracts or scripts for some of the performances and presentations in the seminar, and they are remade especially for this context. We hope you like them.

You can find more information about the research project on our official website, http://www.uniarts.fi/en/howtodothingswithperformance

You can also follow our blog https://howtodothingswithperformance.wordpress.com

or the archive of our endeavors on the Research Catalogue https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/281037/281038 where you can also find the full program of the event.