In the darkness of a smoke sauna, stories and memories of womanhood come alive. A wordless mask and object theatre performance set in the heat of the heart of Finland. Masked bodies – naked memories.
That is the description text for one event of the Turku International Puppetry Festival called Sauna which we had a look at on Nov 22, just the day when everybody else was watching the ice hockey match between Turun Palloseura (TPS) and Kalevan Pallo (KalPa) from Kuopio … anyway, my friend Deissler visited me during this time, and at least now he has a nice story to tell (like »there was ice hockey, and guess what we had to see … puppetry theater!«).
So, fully excited about how this womanhood could come alive, we found our places in a beautiful park area of Kupittaa and waited for the show to begin. Actually, I was surprised that it seemed to be even booked out. Before everything started, we just had to leave the building, walk through the dark and finally re-enter the building from the other side.
Ok, after this adventure, the lights were dimmed and the even was about to begin. It takes place in a imaginary sauna. At first, we see a older woman, walking around and also having a sauna turn. She moves slowly and repeats details of sauna-bathing activities such as putting the water on the oven and using the vihta, which means hitting the body with birch branches.
After that, a second character appears. She is younger, more sexy. This woman is presented as rather shy and reserved. She hides her body and enjoys the sauna. Suddenly, both women are on the stage and near the oven. The old is hidden and the young is giving birth (?) to some white creatures that pop out of the oven (and are actually the only »puppets« in this play).
I am not sure if I got the plot right, and I am absolutely not sure what this wants to tell us. So, please correct and interpret in the comment area!
On Thursday, 20. Oct. 2011, the 14th »Blackmarket for Knowledge and Non-Knowledge« took place in Turku’s wonderful Volunteer Fire Brigade Bulding. Blackmarket is a project by Berlin artist Hannah Hurtzig and its main idea is, that people can meet experts on a certain topic and talk to them. Experts and »clients« are sitting face to face to each other in a rather dark room, only with a light bulb above them. Some of the conversations are also »broadcasted« to a Black Radio, so that even people who were not able to book an expert are able to listen to conversations via headphones. The concept of Blackmarket sees »the transfer of knowledge as a communicative and performative act«, as the Turku2011 programme page tells us. With this theoretical background, we can discuss the question about what knowledge is and what makes it to knowledge (negotiation?) from a more philosophical point of view.
However, the motto for this fourteenth episode of this project was »100 Conversations about being Silent in 4.33 hours« which appears paradox at first. But when you have a look at the list of the 50 experts taking part in this event, you quickly see that »being Silent« can have lot of different aspects and the perspective changes a lot, depending on the discipline that deals with that »being Silent«. For example, this time, there were sociologists invited as well as sound artists, musicians, literature and culture researchers, but also physicists, mathematicians and astronomers. Together with a sign language rap artist, translators and writers, they created a wide field of expertise. According to the event information, it took about three months to coordinate that and to create a timeline that puts the experts in a specific order.
Thus I did not book an expert (1 Euro per 30 minutes), I tried to listen to some conversation via Black Radio, but all the broadcasted conversations were … of course in Finnish. Anyway, I was proud that I could at least understand some words, haha! We played a game and tried to find out which conversation is broadcasted on which channel, so we tried to find the right pair for each.
Back home, I found out that there is a Blackmarket Archive online with more than 700 conversations! Amazing! I listened to some about language, see here: