Gravity impacts every movement in the… in the sense that it leads movement to the ground. And so, even in the walk when you have a shift from one balance to another, you have a very very quick interval between when gravity, um, pulls you down, and when gravity pulls you down again. In that interval there’s potential – potential to… to move in… in an infinite number of directions. But in a brief infinity, right? …

philosopher Erin Manning verbally describing her tango lessons and moving with a partner in an episode by The Funambulist Podcast

Hi, dear audience, dear friends, dear colleagues,

I’m Pietari Kärki and I use the artist name Pie Kär. I am happy to be called both. I am a freelance artist and right now I am working for Moving in November, thinking about the social aspect of the festival in dialogue with our artistic director Kerstin Schroth. We chose to call what I do dramaturgy for social choreography – for this year’s expanded festival Traces in/ from November.

The collaboration between Kerstin and I was found in dialogue situated in the lobby of Stoa, as two audience-members at the Moving in November Festival 2019. Kerstin walked around in the crowd, talking to people who were available: “Hi I’m Kerstin, I’m new here. I will be the next artistic director of this festival. How is the dance scene? How do you experience this festival?” Seldom had I been presented these questions during the five years I had lived in Helsinki at that point. This marked a sudden shift in my perspective to the festival and the local art scene. I arrived. I shifted from viewing the festival scene over there to inspecting it from here. Simply: inviting me to share my perspective made me feel that my perspective is important, that I am here, and that my perspective is one where agency can emerge from. In my case, it took a newcomer to help me arrive, or an outsider to invite me in. It was then when I became local in Helsinki, someone who sees themselves as having enough insight to act around here. I was invited to invite.

We spoke about how people place themselves in the lobby space, how the architecture of the space affects us and what kinds of hidden rules we assumed there to be. Who can speak to whom? Who is welcomed to welcome? We spoke about time and messiness. It became an excited dialogue! Some months later Kerstin invited me to continue this dialogue towards actions, and I joined the festival team to work on a plan we have titled Invisible actions to support the social.

Our plan accumulates from questions born in the lobbies of theaters. How to playfully affect the sense of time and the use of space in all these lobbies? How to ignite a play that can be perceived as an invitation by both the contemporary dance audience and the passers-by at all these venues?

On behalf of our festival team, I invite you to greet across the lobby. I insist on noticing the intersectionality of these venues. People passing through these spaces daily: some are going to the library at Stoa, some charging their phones at Caisa, some going to a hobby at the Cable Factory, some navigating a festival program, all moving in November with intersecting paths. What if the festive comes just as much from the beauty of those encounters as from the ones that take place in black boxes? I invite the festival audience to greet passers-by. And why not to stop by to stand by, when so invited, and to ask: “how do you experience this scene, this place at this time?”

The festival opens on November 5th in Caisa with a living-room-like setting. You can pass by, come and go and stay a while. Caisa will host two ongoing dialogue concepts and two art pieces.

Lastly, I would like to introduce the festival elastics. Each festival-goer will be given a hoop of elastic. Each elastic is measured so that when two people hoop one another with one, they are at the safety distance from one another, yet in physical contact. A contact that can get playful, but maintains a layer of the urgency this time poses on distances and closenesses. Each elastic also comes with a short manual, and very possibly you might spot other hints too.

The rest of the invisible actions to support the social I will keep to myself for now and they can be encountered at the festival. I wish you a festive, playful, safe and accumulatively inviting November, wherever you might move!

Warmth and winky grins,

Pie Kär

(they/them, hän)

Photo: Stills from the festival trailer by Mariangela Pluchino