OTHER SPACES IN A NUTSHELL
Other Spaces is a Live Art collective founded in 2004, in Helsinki, Finland.
The core of our work is based on collective body exercises that bring into contact with different unfamiliar forms of being and experiencing. In other words, the exercises let us visit “other spaces”. In our weekly rehearsals we invent new exercises and develop old ones further.
Our participatory performances build on these exercises. Using simple techniques we bring also our audiences to other spaces. We also teach our exercise techniques in workshops and demonstrate them in public events and spaces.
Other Spaces consists of about 20 artists working in different fields of art.
Photo Petri Summanen
Continuous weekly rehearsal is the cornerstone of our work at the Other Spaces collective. Rehearsal is change that happens together. Studying the embodying of various phenomena is collective, continuous and happens over long durations.
Our collective has been rehearsing weekly since 2004. This culture of continuous rehearsal is a remarkable way of working in the arts profession, where projects are often short in duration and the work of the artist splintered in a multitude of different gigs. The continuity of rehearsal is also a kind of response to ecological challenges: change is slow and requires commitment. Our commitment to rehearsal creates a basis of credibility to our performances and our public agenda of change.
The exercise in the photo is Power Line.
Photo Yehia Eweis
The exercises are based on the idea that getting in touch with different forms of experience can alter us and our behaviour thoroughly. It can increase our understanding of the mutual equality and interdependence between all kinds of living beings.
Our exercises are based on precise but simple bodily techniques, which can be adapted by everyone for their own body. The exercises are suitable for everyone regardless fo their age, form and background.
The experience brought on by the exercise lasts as long as the technique is being upheld. Through the exercise we inspect the topic of the exercise, an object or phenomenon, we enjoy it, and learn from it, each of us individually and collectively as a group. The exercise gains in depth each time it is repeated!
The exercise in the photo is Falling Buildings.
Photo Attilio Imrogno
The long term pedagogical goal of the collective is to make the exercise techniques accessible to large and diverse audiences. Our workshops are an excellent, easy and pleasant way to learn our exercise techniques.
Other Spaces workshops are suitable for everyone, regardless of age, shape or previous experience. Workshops can be of different durations, from about three hours to a full day. We can adapt the content of our workshops to many different themes. We can teach workshops in several languages besides Finnish. English is easiest to organize, but other languages such as Spanish, French and Russian can be possible.
Contact us to organize your own workshop! ([email protected])
Photo Antti Ahonen
Other Spaces looks for means to change their habits to better meet the challenges of the anthropocene and the ecologic crisis. Our goal is to increase understanding of interspecies relations and the role of humanity as a part of the ecological system. All our recent performance projects address the position and the responsibility of mankind as a part of the ecosystem and the preservation of its diversity.
The work of the collective suggests that meaningful experiences can be had nearby, without travelling far. The performances, workshops and rehearsal of the group aim for a new kind of existence and sociability between humans. They suggest an option for humanity that remains sustainable after the eco-crisis, a transformation from consumer to citizen and a human being.
Photo Yehia Eweis
Here are some writings relating to the group, readable on the net. Links to reviews of individual performances also in the productions page!
Esa Kirkkopelto, “Erään poron tunnustuksia. Laumaeläin esityksen toisena”. Teatteri ja Tutkimus 7, ”Esitys ja toiseus”, eds. Anna Thuring & Anu Koskinen & Tuija Kokkonen, Theatre Research Society, 2018.
Erica Cirino, “The People Who Pretend to Be Wolves”. Citylab, 20.3.2018.
Jaakko Ruuska, The Art of Metamorphosis – Other Spaces. Pages 42 – 44, Tinfo e-julkaisut 2015, Tinfo News – Sustainability, Resilience and Performance Utopias.
Esa Kirkkopelto, The Ethics of Gastropods. An analysis of a Trans-Human Practice. Eurozine, 21.10.2015.
Hanna-Mari Kuivalainen’s radio documentary Ylimääräinen pää (Additional Head), Yle 2015.
These essays tell more about the artistic principles and goals of the Other Spaces.
The English version of this manifesto has been published in Eurozine: A manifesto for Generalized Anthromoporhism.
The English version of this manifesto can be found in Manifesto Now.
Rehearsal is done in a group.
Rehearsing is continuous, regular and detached from performance production. If wanted, it can be connected to performances of various kinds.
The exercises by themselves are always a kind performance. Following exercises together is a part of rehearsal.
The topics of exercises are transformations, visits in altered and/or unfamiliar forms of being and experiencing, “other spaces”.
Exercises are based on various kinds of self-invented techniques. The techniques can be informed and influenced by different traditions and methods, but they are not based on any previously existing doctrine. One goal of our work is to invent new and new kinds of exercises.
The techniques take into account, among other things, mental imagery, body position and movement, sound, and relation to other bodies, space and time. When the technique is discharged at the end of the exercise, the experience created by the exercise is also discharged. Discharging the technique is part of the technique. The states brought on by the exercises can not “remain”.
There are many and many kinds of exercises. Variation and comparison between exercises creates understanding about the techniques of creating experiences.
Rehearsing is done indoors or outdoors, preferably in comfortable clothes, without shoes.
Rehearsal is preceded by a brief collective warming up. The ways of warming up vary according to needs. Warming up is a transition to the rehearsing situation.
The exercises are done following a common instruction. Everyone adapts the instructed technique to their own physical condition, shape of their body, and their state of mind.
The arc of an exercise consists of entering the state, upholding and reinforcing the state, and exiting the state. The duration of the exercise (typically 8-12 minutes) is agreed before the exercise begins.
The exercise is begun, done and ended together. The exercise does not finished until it is made collectively sure that everyone has exited the state. (Everyone can interrupt their own exercise if they want, and move to observing without disturbing others.)
Rehearsing includes discussion, where experiences brought up by the exercise are compared. Based on the discussion the exercise instructions are adjusted and the exercise structure is developed.
There is no criticism or grading of performing the exercise. External direction is offered only when asked. Everyone attempts to make the exercise “work” for themselves. The exercise works when it produces not only information about the entity or phenomenon under study, but also enjoyment. Exercises are so simple that in principle anyone can do them. If making of some exercise is too difficult, one can to another exercise.
Repeating an exercise is part of rehearsal. Repetition deepens, enhances and alters the experience created by the exercise. Exercises do not become complete. Repetition also creates understanding about what an exercise means as rehearsal, action and a potential way of life.
Rehearsal is change happening collectively.
Other Spaces collective is supported by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland and the City if Helsinki.