Your stream of dreams is entering the theater space through Odd Meters, could you reveal more about the initial idea and research for this piece?
Dreams became a focus for me when I was interested in the throughout technologized western world that is getting increasingly detached from the day-night cycle of living and the nature. I was inspired by the book 24/7 –Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep by Jonathan Crary, in which he paints almost a dystopian picture of our contemporary society as a place where night and rest is seen as an unnecessary interference from production.
The topic itself felt hard to approach since I was never interested in making a statement. I instead wanted to approach the unnamed feelings and the background noise of a lifestyle that is powered by electricity and increasingly lacking true connection to human and non-human beings. I started recording my own dreams by having an alarm clock at 4 AM and then speaking whatever. I found a subjective approach to these thoughts. My dreams seemed to reflect a lot of my own daily fears and anxieties about the contemporary world, but they were also layered, containing my whole lived history. It was through often unexplained and illogical dream events and excerpts of my nightly recordings that I started mapping a landscape for the piece.
In the piece you are working from a non-linear understanding of time, would you like to tell more about this, about your notion of time?
When I engage in my physical practice, that frequently has to do with intuition and repetition, I often end up in ritualistic scores where the sense of time feels circular or gets occasionally stuck in loops. Also, while working with my dreams, I noticed their tendency to not constantly wander to new places but also to linger timelessly in the same situations and often return back in time to certain images and places, that are slightly altered from the original.
Since the process of Odd Meters started from my reflection on the high speed and growth centered contemporary life, that feels like a linear diagram of accomplishments, I wanted to situate the piece in a place where the concept of time is a mystery. Revealing itself differently in waking life, dreams and the nature.
Odd Meters is a physically very intense solo that you choreographed for yourself. Could you reveal more about the working process in the studio, finding the movement and working with this high intensity?
While the process focused heavily on the dream material, I wanted to bring the body forth as intensely present in the live event. Also, after spending a lot of time with fuzzy dreams recorded at four in the morning, I just felt the urge to move forcefully.
Animating the dreams, or staging them, never felt relevant, but most interesting for me was to bring side by side different corporeal states and landscapes. I was working a lot with and against rhythms to move through body memories and to enter controlled but semi-improvisational scores. Through this practice I started to approach the movement material that forms the foundation of Odd Meters. Also, exhaustion plays a big part since for me it is something that makes the body move from the inside towards the outside, provoking associations and revealing different bodies within the body.
A lot of the movement and physical work in the piece has grown from my method of ”staying with it”. I was stubborn in dwelling in the same material even though I sometimes wasn’t sure what it was about or grew momentarily tired of it. And even though in the piece the rhythm and ambience changes occasionally, it is as if throughout the whole performance there is something pulling me back towards the foundational and obsessive repetitions that started it.
This interview was conducted around July-August 2021.
Photo: Katri Naukkarinen