The participatory open air performance Avalokiteshvara Superclusters consists of a multipart collective exercise in compassion. The goal of the performance is the experience of fundamental equality of all beings and entities in our universe. The performance combines Avalokiteshvara, the Buddhist embodiment of compassion, with superclusters, the largest known structures in the visible universe. The performance takes place at the outskirts of the city, in wastelands, where the natural and the constructed realities meet in random, aleatory and uncontrolled manners.
The name of the performance comes from Buddhist lore. According to legend, Avalokiteshvara was an ancient Buddhist novice, who alone tried to respond to the challenge of universal compassion. The compassion of Avalokiteshvara towards all beings eventually became so infinite that it tore him to a multitude of pieces. When the other Buddhas rushed to help Avalokiteshvara and reassembled his disintegrated body, the result was a multi-headed, multi-armed and multi-eyed Buddha, an embodiment of cosmic compassion. Varying the legend of Avalokiteshvara, the participants of the Avalokiteshvara Superclusters performance collectively create an endlessly shapeshifting cosmic structure which joins them with all the entities in our universe.
Superclusters are the largest known structures that have been identified in the known universe. They are groups of galaxies shaped and held together by the opposing forces of gravity, dark energy and the expansion of the universe. Our own supercluster is called Laniakea, which is Hawaian for open skies or immense heaven. In Avalokiteshvara Superclusters we try to expand our circle of compassion so wide that it covers not only our own supercluster but also beyond, including all entities and beings in the entire universe.
Avalokiteshvara Superclusters is motivated by the current planetary situation, where immigration, disintegration and congestion are states common to all of us, transforming and unifying our bodies. What moves all those restless, placeless bodies and keeps them together? According to the working hypothesis of Avalokiteshvara Superclusters, that force is universal compassion which can be felt and exercised only after our bodies have become strange enough to one another!
Compassion is not merely a feeling, but a comprehensive change in attitude and position, which applies to everyone of us and reaches beyond ourselves as humans. Our aim must be cosmic compassion, a limitless compassion towards all beings, regardless of their size, scale and position in the universe. This drive towards compassion for all entities alike, is a challenge that affects everyone, and to address this challenge we need to practice!
WRITINGS AND REVIEWS
Maria Säkö: Toisissa tiloissa -ryhmän uutuus tarjoaa kosmista myötätuntoa jättömaalla – Avalokiteshvara Superclusters tapahtuu yhdessä yleisön kanssa, Helsingin Sanomat 26.7.2017.
Meri Liukkonen: Pukukoodina mökkivaatteet: osallistava ulkoilmateos tähtää kosmiseen myötätuntoon, Kulttuurikuuri -blog 25.7.2017.
Tuomas Rantanen: Esitystaiteen tilahäiriköt, Voima 18.9.2017.
Tuomas Rantanen: “Kaikki maailman koivut, yhtykää!”, Voima 19.10.2017.
YOU CAN ALSO EXPERIENCE AVALOKITESHVARA AS A WORKSHOP!
Through the workshop version of Avalokiteshvara Superclusters, audiences have practiced compassion and cosmic dimensions in Chiaravalle (Italy), the Forest Festival of the Helsinki Adult Education Centre, and the Baltic Circle Festival. More info and booking a workshop: [email protected]
Avalokiteshvara Superclusters is preferentially organised without ticket sales. Instead, the participants finance the protection of a portion of our planet. The participants of the 2017 performances protected a total of 2780 square meters of forest. See here for the protected area, and a lot of other material about Avalokiteshvara Superclusters.
AVALOKITESHVARA SUPERCLUSTERS WORKING GROUP
Eija Ranta, Esa Kirkkopelto, Kati Korosuo, Minja Mertanen, Outi Condit, Sanni Priha, Paula Tella and Timo Jokitalo.
Production: Jaakko Ruuska
THE PRACTICE OF AVALOKITESHVARA – BRIDGES WITHOUT STRANDS ARTISTIC WORKING GROUP
Outi Condit, Kati Korosuo, Minja Mertanen and Paula Tella. Esa Kirkkopelto also participated in preparing the work.
The Practice of Avalokiteshvara – Bridges without Strands was produced by the working group and the Baltic Circle Festival.
Avalokiteshvara Superclusters premiered 22.7.2017, additional showings 23.7., 29.7., 30.7. and 12.8.2017 at the wastelands of Arabianranta, Helsinki.
Performance demonstration The Practice of Avalokiteshvara – Bridges without Strands was realised as part of the Baltic Circle Festival 14.11.2015 at Arbis, Helsinki. The demo was preceded by an open morning rehearsal 11.-12.11.2015 at the Eskus Performance Center.
Participatory action Avalokiteshvara in Action at the Pixelache Festival, Helsinki, 24.9.2016.
Performance demonstration Avalokiteshvara – A tree is looking at a human at the BodyWord Festival, St. Petersburg, 12.5.2017.
Performance demonstration Little Midsummer in Other Spaces at the Pyhe market in Mietoinen, 16.6.2017.
Workshops based on Avalokiteshvara Superclustersiin 18.-22.9.2017 at Chiaravalle, Italy, and 1.12.2017 at the Forest Festival, Helsinki Adult Education Centre.
Avalokiteshvara Superclusters was produced by the Other Spaces collective, supported by Kone Foundation. The project was prepared at the Saari Residence of Kone Foundation, and was rehearsed at the summer residence of ESKUS Performance Center.
The Practice of Avalokiteshvara – Bridges without Strands performance demonstration and the workshops of 2015 were supported by the Baltic Circle Festival.