They come from the year 2069 – from one of the possible futures. What happened between now and 2069? How will we look at art? Is man still a peculiar ape, usually met in a wrong climate zone, messing around with his strange businesses that doesn’t seem to make sense for the rest of the living creatures?
Forest Ballet is a humoristic and multi levelled performance, that goes through the milestones of our near future from the viewpoint of art. On the way, we also get to see how for example coltsfoot, huntsmen and photosynthesis are doing.
Forest Ballet is about radical hope.
Forest Ballet is a site sensitive outdoor performance, duration is about 1h 20 min.
Concept and the main responsibility: Saku Koistinen
Choreography: working group
Dance: Laura Koistinen, Saku Koistinen and Satu Rinnetmäki
Scientific consultant: Antti Majava / BIOS Research Unit
Visualization: Vespa Laine
Sounds: Fern Orchestra (Laine) and working group
Technical support: Tuomas Laitinen
Plant instruments: Markus Heino
Production: Routa Company
Translation: Sarra Keppola
Some important source materials:
Stefano Mancuso: Plant Revolution / 2017
Tarja Kallio-Tamminen: Kvanttilainen todellisuus / 2008
Yuval Noah Harari: Homo Deus / 2015
Juha Hurme: Niemi / 2017
Yuval Noah Harari: 21 Lessons of the 21st Century / 2018
Kari Enqvist: Suhteellisuusteoriaa runoilijoille / 2014
Tulevaisuus Hanskassa -podcast / 2017
Romeo and Julia -balet
Barry Adamson: The Vibes Ain’t Nothing But The Vibes
The texts of SIIRI:
Welcome to a performance of Forest Ballet. My name is Siiri and I will be performing as your guide on this travel through time. We are headed towards the year 2069. We will be experiencing slight turbulence over the years 2030-36. Approximated duration of the journey is 1,5 hrs, we hope you enjoy the ride. For whom ever it may concern, this journey is now also available on perscription, as it contains a Finnish Medical Association -approved Nature Experience -standardised natural experience. The EU-averaged carbon footprint of the show is 74g/h and natural resource unit 3,2.
The Plantification -movement that pierced through the fields of art in 2020s had a huge impact on the artists and oeuvre of the artistic field of dance. Theretofore had reflection and aspects towards humanity, essentialism, evolution and behaviour been sought from the animal kingdom (e.g. chimpanzees, horses, birds and wolfs). This orientation was still trending during the late 2020s, although a fraction of artists saw it as a kind of counter-argument, manifestation or a need to hold on to something old and familiar. Mainly the critics of the animal kingdom movement saw it as an inability to process modern ideas. Then again some dance artists and later on art scholars did not regard it as traditionalism but as an ever-forward looking orientation — the results simply weren’t visible yet.
At one point some of the artists became permanently vegetative and after the ministry of education became aware of this the Arts Council of Finland started hosting rehabilitation programs for the artists under the name of ”Path towards humanity”.
In the field of performing arts there were more and more pieces no longer performed by humans but only by plants and animals. In the plant-organism-animal-performances a choreological accuracy was unachievable, at least in the sense of repetition, and so a completely new method of creating movement and choreography was developed: the natural improvisation. The swedinised dance artists and professors Mervi Vilén and Dario Poosela became inspired to create and develop natural improvisation and sought to it connections from the past and courses towards the future. In 2029 they founded a new collegiate educational program for dance to the border of Sweden, Norway and Finland, as part of North Atlantic Academy of Natural Art. Natural improvisation method was somewhat criticised for its coincidental nature, especially on certain animals and plants. Other terms were also applied: haphazard improvisation or truly accidental improvisation.
The first other-species agent to win the acknowledged Fame Act Award for dance (Tanssin Maineteko -palkinto) was Polly the parrot in 2032 after years of touring kindergartens with her working group, teaching movement and dance.
At the latter half of the 20s old theatre buildings and stages were abandoned by artists when it became too expensive to uphold them. As the budding quanticism was sending artists to the abundance of organic shapes, mainly natural environments, the buildings became deteriorated and especially in the north were left unheated during the winter. This severely damaged the condition of the buildings and they have been mostly unfit to return to. Spaces for Dance organisation demanded an 8 hectare area from Helsinki Central Park, due to the so called ”bushcrowds” — the constant lack of sufficient woods for practicing.
The questioning of organic movement and the debate between inorganic and organic was heated when a robot performed the first cyber dance performance at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. The project was chiefly state funded and when it was discovered that the executive agent was not a natural person the arts commission demanded a return of the funds, since it was not deemed adequate to present tax-funding for unnatural agents. Along with the report many other performer’s artistic abilities were also deemed unnatural. Since then every grant-applicants have had to present a biometric authentication of identity, though it is fairly easy to bypass the system.
A popular veteran pop star Baby Giga caused a commotion as it was discovered that she had not performed concerts in her own body since the end of the 20s. There were persistent rumours that she had passed away and was buried in Parainen, or that she was the first person to have completely transitioned to the world wide neuroweb. A final, biologically proven certainty was never reached and the will for research gradually died out.
After a radicalised plantification attack was made to a conserved sawmill of a sawer-MEP in the mid 20s the grants for tree hugging and protection of environment were heavily cut. Many agents in cultural fields were included to this lot. The Veiled Woodcutter -movement was initiated, aiming to teach trees to protect themselves from the woodcutting machines.
An algorithmic vegetative intelligence, made possible by the developments in biotechnology, was planted in the midst of economic forests and it began to teach trees to merge to their environment. After this, forestation uncontrollably spread out of reach of technology in certain parts of the world, and nobody knows to where the trees disappeared. This phenomenon is known as woodsome, and the possibility of its existence is still under debate.
In the avalanche of plant-organism-animal-critique the will to make performances without harming anyone or anything resulted in the extremely ethical works without performers. At first the events of these works were narrated with audiotapes, but later on both narration and audience were given up as well, which definitively made the production of these works challenging to say the least. This brief movement, situated at the end of the 30s was called ultraethicism.
The most famous dance artist in Finland continues to be Jorma Uotinen, still working in television.
Contemporary dance and theatre, along with performance art, made their way to the former institutionalised city theatre structures, giving birth to the expression ”Performance is the new farce” / ”Performing farts”. A counter reaction was due. On the second presidency of Paavo Väyrynen in 2030-2036 the populist government launched a protective commission for sensible art as part of Arts Promotion Centre Finland. The commission set additional clauses for evaluating governmental granting of arts. In addition to previous decrees, a piece of art now had to qualify in one, or preferably more of the following criteria: Classic fine art or classical piece, Kalevalaesque, Patriotic, About a forest, Narrative, Includes comprehensive skills, Farce, Musical. Some of the clauses are yet to be abated, but artists have learned to work around them.
Next we will see the famous huntsman’s variation ”Huntsman’s dream” from the 2034 premiered hunts ballet The Last of the Huntsmen.
Tussilago farfara / Coltsfoot
coltsfoot tussilago, tusilago, fárfara, pie de caballo, uña de caballo hestehov podbiał pas-d’âne, tussilage tussilago, hästhov, leskenlehti, Huflattich følfod podbě martilapu
”Unlike animals, who chose moving as their primary means to find the necessary nutritions, plants made an opposite decision in their evolution about a billion years ago.
They do not move from their place, they get the energy they need from the sun and they have adapted to predation and many other problems and limitations that follow taking root to a single spot. Think about how hard it would be to live without being able to move from one spot. Think about being a plant surrounded by insects, herbivores ja carnivores, being unable to escape. The only way to survive would be to develop a structure, completely different from animals.”
The differences between plants and animals are dramatic. Animals move, plants stay still. Animals consume, plants generate: animals produce carbon dioxide, plants fixate it. The most important and unknown difference is this: the difference between concentration and diversification.
An individual can be determined in at least two ways:
- According to etymological determination an individual is a biological entity, who can not be split into two parts without causing the death of (at least) the other part.
- According to genetical determination an individual is a biological entity, who has a genome stabile in time and space, as it remains the same throughout its lifespan.
There is a problem in these definitions, when applied to plants. For example, when a plant is divided in two, it multiplies. Hence a plant defies definition as an individual.
For utilising the environment, plants use their rootstock, the head meristems of which explore the soil. It is no coincidence that the symbol of modern age, the internet, is structured the same way as a rootstock. Because of their modular, diversified structure without command centres, plants are able to survive repetitive catastrophic situations without losing their ability to function, and quickly adapt to massive changes in their environment.”
As Mimosa Pudica (sensitive plant) was studied at the beginning of the 19th century, it was found to possess exceptional abilities. In an experimental test the plants were taken on a carriage ride along the cobblestone streets of Paris. At first the mimosas closed their leaves, but as the tremor continued, all of the plants, one after another, opened their leaves. The plants got used to the tremor, which suggested that they had to possess a memory of some sort.
In 2013 the Australian marine biologist Monica Gagliano and the Italian biologist Stefano Mancuso set forth a scientific study on the functional memory system of plants.
The leaves of Tussilago Farfara are 10-20 cm broad, heart- or kidney-shaped, pinnatifid and with irregularly toothed margins. Top is nearly glabrous, underside white-felted. Its large leaves shade the soil and stop other plants growing giving the coltsfoot its massive vitality, that also makes the plant very hard to eradicate. The fruit of coltsfoot is a long, achene, with a tip of unbranched hairs. The plant spreads extremely effectively, with its flying achenes and deep-reaching, layered root.
Dear Living Community. Future is all around us in the light.
The light that reaches you makes its way from the outer space. On their way to planet earth the light particles, photons, have soaked in knowledge from the other particles they have encountered, possibly making their way to the other direction, the future of space-time from our point of view. In this way light entails information from other dimensions.
Light particles also entail energy and, according to Einstein’s theory of relativity, mass and energy are the two sides of the same thing. Gravitational field is to be seen as a warping of space-time. Light does not have invariant mass, its mass is based on movement.
The momentum of photon is important in space study, as it can create propulsion. For example, when sunlight reaches a large sail in space, the massless photons exert pressure on it. This light pressure that affects the sail creates propulsion either by being absorbed into the sail or else by being reflected from it.
Dear listeners, don’t forget that according to wave superposition principle wave functions can also be added together to form new wave functions. Entanglement means that the quantum state of one particle holds information from another particle, that can even be separated by a large distance; they are both described by a single, albeit spatially divided, wave function. Entanglement occurs for example when two particles collide or a particle divides into new particles.
Dear Living Community — nothing matters but photosynthesis!
Ever since the breaking point of Grand Unified Theory all art has shunned from narratives. When it was understood that the quantum character of reality does not convert to a dramaturgy, nor a person’s meandering identity to a coherent story, the reason and sense of storytelling gradually shifted and withered away. Yet, since the end of the 40s ballet and opera have experienced a renaissance, and ghost stories in camp fires have been trending among the youth.
The massive proliferation of the deer raised a lot of debate on the 50s. The excessive blooming of plants caused by the increase in carbon dioxide concentration along with mild winters made deer populations so big that they widely damaged new forest plantations and more. Electric cars were equipped with bull bars. The deer were fed during the winters so they wouldn’t eat seedlings, which made the matters worse in the years to come. There was a heated social discussion on the hunting of the deer, most opining that being sentient and cognisant, they should not be hunted. The popular opinion was that the humans had already meddled too much. Researchers demanded a heavy diminishing of the population, pleading on the fact that Finland had committed to fixate 300 billion tons of carbon to their forests by 2095.
Svenska Kulturfondet became significant as the only private patron of culture in Finland. In the 50s the Swedish crayfish party culture, initially elevated to stages by Finnish-speaking theatre groups, became a prominent phenomenon. The most famous of these performances was the premiere of the rendition of Orwell’s classic: ”Crayfish farm” by the director Kristal Smörgås in 2061. The Crayfish Cachucha is still performed today.
After the Adjustment of the Equator the global atmosphere took a more equal turn. Audiences opted for art and global entertainment business faced mass layoffs. After the flop of the 19th Pirates of the Caribbean -movie Johnny Depp listed as an unemployed jobseeker to Sweden, where social security was still functional.
Humans are tied to their own constructs and cannot neutrally distance themselves from the events of the world. This questions subjectivity. The line between perceiver and perceived is entangled and dissolved.
Will you have courage to reach towards a new dimension, which can still be small and deflated?
Welcome to the year 2069.