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respecting the audience
lecture by essi kausalainen [fi] as part of PAS #20

In the PAS –workshop I talked about my artistic work – its practicalities and its thinking. I shortly introduced my own history with performance art and the thematics that form my artistic language.

At the moment my work is very much inspired by the natural phenomenon and the huge variety of different species living in this world with us. I am intrigued by the different forms of existence – by plants, fungus, animals, viruses... My focus is in trying to understand how all these organisms form relations with each others, how they communicate and interact. Performance, as being ”live art”, seems the perfect tool to explore these questions. As an inspiration I use writings from Charles Darwin to news paper articles as well as my own observations on the life around me.

My way of treating the themes of life and living is based on the respect towards all the forms of life. This respect is the core of my working and it is the basis of my artistic language. I see my working process as a conversation between objects, which sometimes are animate (plants) and sometimes inanimate (furniture), and sometimes in between (sticks, fruits, water). As in any conversation the role of listening and observing is central.

Naturally the question of respect is not only limited to the materials. The respect of the audience should be present in every state of the artistic practise. The notion of the audiences’ sensitivity and its intelligence guides my way of structuring the work. It challenges me to deal with complex questions and it strives me to make my work with great care. Trusting the audience I am able to open my performance language into abstract and poetical levels.

Using my own artistic practise as an example I invited the PAS students to contemplate such themes as: respecting the audience (its sensitivity and its intelligence), using theorethical texts and philosophy as an inspiration together with aesthetic details and ethical questions, relating the works composition with its logic (what&why=how). I encouraged them to allow the complexity of their thinking and being to become present in the art they make.

Essi Kausalainen