This solo is part of your long-time research and encounter with moss. Can you tell us more about moss, your interest and your research? What does moss represent for you?
My interest is mainly a deep encounter with a certain plant and creating a movement language that evokes and invites the presence of the plant back into the space through the dance. I am always so impressed by how each plant opens up truly new spaces in the human body, in space. And these are truly new spaces and places that we can share with the plants. And also bodies that we can share with them. New bodies. I am wondering where the body can take place if not in our human flesh and bones. Because not every plant takes place there. Plants for me blow the imagination of what the physical is and on what levels the physical can take place. And it is so exciting to experience how each plant invites a unique space for the physical as its very singular terrain and domain. And I love the differences between different plants.
I say that with deep loyalty to the physical and acknowledging that there were times when I lost the physical to very transcendent and spiritual realms and I almost lost my desire to dance and move. Because suddenly moving and the materiality of the body would defile or disturb or destroy the connection. Now my work wants to try to strengthen the connection to a certain plant through the dance and I am still at the beginning with this approach.
Moss was the first plant I encountered through my hybrid practice of Plant-Trituration and movement research. Trituration is the hour-long grinding of a plant introduced to me by Shelley Etkin who received it from Aune Kallinen. From there I developed my own practice of grinding and moving.
Moss is my longest friend within that specific practice and the first in line to create a choreography. Moss is a plant that has to share utopian knowledge about a non-aggressive expansion and sustainable life in-between spaces. It teaches us to give space for others and to be the ground for others. Its relationship to water and the transition from water to land brings us back to our beginnings and our more-than-human ancestors. But also to the vital energy of departure, of “we are going off even if we don’t know where to go”. A thought that seems important to me, especially in the present time. There is a correspondence of moss as the surface of the forest and human skin. It invites us to stay on the surface and not to underestimate it. Mosses are for me also horizontal and polyrhythmic movements without a center, which split the coherence of the body into multiple, finely polyrhythmic multiplicities. Moss is such a group being that paradoxically helped me to find strength in loneliness and the simplicity of connection. It Invites a light form although the content can be heavy.
Moss is the first solo you choreographed for someone else, for dancer Suvi Kemppainen. Where did the wish come from? Could you tell us about the working process you embarked on together?
Mosses’ Spectrum oscillates between collectivity, connectivity, isolation, and loneliness. That’s why I thought it’s nice friction to work with it within a singular human body that meets the multitude of the Moss in an almost impossible way. I like those impossibilities and what happens if we try to overcome them. But then also breaking our habitual understanding of „one” body. Because on the other hand I am fascinated by the impossibility of the “one body“ and of an understanding of beings as never “one” and never “isolated”, but of an ecological understanding. The body as a shared ecology.
This friction is held very well through Moss and through my very appreciated collaborator Suvi Kemppainen. I met Suvi being their mentor when they studied in Berlin. We found a deep connection and they inspired me to dare to choreograph for others. The work with plants and becoming a mother myself somehow shifted something in me. I wanted to work with younger dancers and for the first time choreograph for someone else. Up to now, I have always danced in my own pieces and collaborative works. I would now like to develop other, perhaps more expansive, and more ecological forms of creating artistic works. Together with many plants and many people. In the working process, I invited Suvi into the practice that I developed. We are still in the process of making. We try to tune in and connect to the Moss and create and co-create with the Moss together.
Part of the work is other bodies dispersed on stage. Could you reveal your thoughts regarding this body landscape?
Mosses need other structures to grow on. In my first self-experiments with moss, I had the intuition to work with older women as landscape and structures in space. Mosses’ connection to our ancestors and the first big step from the water to the land leads me to invite old people in, reinforcing a line from old to young. A tribute to those who have held the space before us. A line of past, present and future but also of the omnipresence of past and future in the now, as one encounters it in many plants.