CAN THE SACRED BE PERFORMED

REALITY RESEARCH CENTER

 

In 2010 I led the research year under the theme Can the Sacred Be Performed? My starting point was the observation that the roots of art and the sacred are deeply intertwined. Through time the sacred has inhabited the religious space art has created its own modernist space. In the postmodern nothing was sacred anymore except the renounciation fo sacred itself.

Yet the ultimate questions haunt us. What is of the greatest value to us when the church, the king, the monoculture or the father does not tell it to us anymore? When survival is not a problem anymore and every moment is a performance of our lifestyle choices? Who will save us when the world is breking down under the weight of our entertainment? Is there still something that is not for sale, something that we will not brake? Or in contrary – is there someone here for whom nothing is sacred?

Like performances, the sacred slips thorugh our fingers and leaves but an invisible trace in us. It is so personal, that when shared it soon turns into hypocrisy or petrifies into structures. It wraps itself into its own descration. Art brakes the borders of the sacred, the sacred destories the freedom of art, and neither survives without the other. Does art create a religion out of itself? Does the sacred disappear when performed? Or is the vigor of performaces in the ways they are sanctified?

 

EXPOSURE WORKSHOPS

On Thursdays throughout the year I organized a workshop hosted by each working group at a time. The workshop was a place for the artists to expose themselves to sacred and to the ways the others approached it. It was composed of excersices, lectures, discussions and demostrations. It was open for attendance by anyone wether an artist or an audience member.

 

PERFORMANCES

12 Etudes on Everlasting Life

The series of 12 performances to practice eternal life. Every month I worked for three uninterrupted days with one artist on a specific approach to everlasting life and created a method to practice it and a performance to show that pracrice. After the year I gathered the practices into a book, Manual of Everlasting Life.

Urbania – the Ultimate Pilgrimage

This performance took the audience on a pilgrimage around Helsinki, Porto and Rio de Janeiro. Direction was by Maria Oiva.

Belief

Belief was a guided performance, in which the performer-guide and the specator-guided explored the city and the structures and rituals of belief that it is built on. Belief was created by me, game designer Pekko Koskinen, cultural pedagogue Risto Santavuori and actor Juha Sääski.

Study on the Purgatory by Dante

The performance was a tribute to the second part of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. It studied the seven mortal sins, purification of the past and intense feeling of longing. Direction was by Janne Pellinen.

Naked/Sacred

was a performance about nudity, the sacred and there relationship. It was composed of series of excercises done together with the audience. Direction was by Julius Elo.

Henki

Henki means both breath and spirit in Finnish. The performance was a corporeal experience for one spectator at a time. The performers guided the spectator on a journey of breathing together and moving in the shared world created by that breath. Direction was by Anna Jussilainen.

Holy Day

was a 24-hour event gathering the experiences of the research year. It was composed of performances, installations, discussions, workshops, meals, sauna etc. I curated and directed the event.