Time to Audience is a reading event in two acts. It is a piece of time handed to us when we appear as an audience. Both acts are available as a limited edition of reading objects. The first act is performed at the second festival week. The objects can be received an hour before the show from three festival venues (Stoa/Caisa/Zodiak). Each participant will read the text independently, but at the same time. Time to Audience is an episode in a series of experiments which compose the Audience Body, premiering in 2022. It is a part of Tuomas Laitinen’s artistic doctorate at the Performing Arts Research Center Tutke, Theater Academy in Uniarts. The research is funded by TTOR & Tutke (Uniarts Helsinki), Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation (in 2022) and Kone Foundation (in 2022). Time to Audience is also supported by Brother Finland.
There is a peculiar duality haunting theaters across Europe: the division between the audience and the makers of art. For art to appear, the artist has to enter the stage and do something. This doing attracts attention; thus audience is born. The artist is the object of attention, the audience are the ones who attend. To draw attention to the audience would dispose of it as we know it. They too would start to perform, they too would enter the stage. So how to learn something about the audience? How to focus on the audience while letting it remain beyond the sphere of attention? Since 2018 Tuomas Laitinen has conducted a series of experiments, which address this puzzling mystery. This series has been realized as more than 20 events of reading, in which the readers are invited to contemplate the phenomenon of audience while at the same time becoming its body. The series spans from the time before the outbreak of Covid-19 into to the time after the reopening of theaters. It thus documents a process of searching for the meaning of audience in exceptional conditions. The 2022 program of Reality Research Center and Moving in November feature Audience Body, which restages this series of readings and invites the audience to think about and feel itself as an emergent being. What is an audience now, as we are both closer to and further from each other like never before?
Tuomas Laitinen works as a director, performance artist, writer and curator. His artistic practice has revolved around experimenting with the audience position and questioning the nature of spectatorship. His works have taken for example the forms of retreats, family gatherings, rituals of encounter, 7-day mystery plays, pole dances in living rooms or practices of immortality. Currently he is working on an artistic doctorate at Performing Arts Research Center Tutke of the Theater Academy in Uniarts Helsinki. His doctoral research is concerning the question what is (an) audience.
Script and image: Tuomas Laitinen
Design of the reading device in collaboration: Alexander Eriksson Furunes
In collaboration: Reality Research Center