The Visit

2016 – 2018

In collaboration with Hanna Ahti

The project is supported by the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation

In the framework of my doctoral artistic research on scenic thinking and time ecology at the Performing Arts Research Centre (Tutke – Uniarts Helsinki), we developed together with Finnish performer/mover/dancer Hanna Ahti a two-year collaboration on performing (and) time. When Hanna visited me the first time, it was winter, it was in February 2016. She was more than seven months pregnant. She spent several hours, almost four I guess, in the sport hall of the Theatre Academy, lying on a blue gym-mat, moving extremely slowly, also sleeping (she told me this later). I visited her few minutes and photo-documented the situation. Even though being one of the most hired performer of the contemporary dance scene in Finland, Hanna never went through this art academy. For her second visit, I booked another dance studio in the school, the baby was born few weeks before and Hanna was very tired, she spent hours again in the studio, recovering, sitting, leaning on the wall, sleeping again (she told me this later). Again I visited her few minutes and took few pictures. No talk. The third time, when I came and visit her in the studio (another different one) she was standing and rocking her newborn daughter in her arms, very slowly, very carefully; it seemed to me that she had been doing this during a long time, for the baby to fall asleep after being fed. I photographed them and left. Altogether Hanna visited me eight times. Sometimes alone, sometimes with her baby, one time with the baby and the elder daughter. Eight visits thus, four times a year during two years, one visit per season. Each time in a different dance studio, each time during four to five hours. At each visit we hugged and said “salut” (Hanna speaks French), spoke very little, smiled, and we never said good bye, until we would meet for the next visit. I asked Hanna to take notes if needed, if she would feel like it. I just asked her to take time. I paid attention that every time she came, she had with her the same book, Deleuze’s A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Did she read it during the successive visits? I never asked. I guess she did. Later, I have selected eight images of the whole process. One per visit. I never read Hanna’s notes. For now I am not going to write more than this about this. Maybe later. Not sure though.

The Visit was shown in the studio 523 of the Theatre Academy of Helsinki on the 9.12.18, as the first opus of the diptych The Visit I Horizontal. Horizontal is a performative research session, proposed and performed by Hanna Ahti in resonance with The Visit.