Good morning everyone! Thank you for being here! My name is Leena Rouhiainen and I work as Vice Dean of research and Head of the Performing Arts Research Centre here at the Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki. It is my pleasure to welcome you to our 4th Colloquium on Artistic Research in Performing Arts CARPA titled The Non-Human and Inhuman in Performing Arts – Bodies, Organisms and Objects in Conflict. To set you off on this three-day event filled with curiosity raising topics of intensity such as Intimacy, Money, Rubbish, Dogs and Cats, Marionettes, Monsters, Living Machines, Love, Hell, Ecocatastrophy, I will shortly contextualize the event.
It is by now more than two decades since the Theatre Academy began fostering artistic research through doctoral education. Gaining impetus, the specificity of this area of research was pointedly acknowledged by the Theatre Academy in 2007 when it founded the Performing Arts Research Centre. All the doctoral work and much of the research done at the Theatre Academy was brought together by the centre through the very term artistic research. At the same time, it became imperative that we develop and promote the then emergent field of artistic research through international collaboration. Consequently, through the efforts of especially professor Annette Arlander and the support of professor Esa Kirkkopelto the first biannual Colloquium on Artistic Research in Performing Arts was held in November 2009. The purpose of these colloquia has been to contribute to the development of research practices in the field of the performing arts and to foster their social, pedagogical and ecological connections. The term ‘performing arts’ has been understood broadly and considered to encompass a variety of creative practices. Up to date the colloquium has specifically focused on timely issues in artistic research by questioning, for example, how does artistic research changes us, how it takes place in action, and addressing the kinds of impacts it has.
CARPA 4 follows a somewhat different logic, while focusing on the inhuman and non-human it takes as its starting point the most recent paradigmatic shift in cultural criticism and theoretical thinking. According to our vision statement CARPA 4 asks how different practices and techniques in performing arts face the contemporary critique of anthropocentrism. How do they participate in the renegotiation of the role and the limits of the human and what kind of critique does involvement with the non-human entail? We hope this interrogation benefits art-making and artistic research and empowers its potential as a constructively critical socio-cultural agent of change. We are pleased you all are here with us and bring with you a variety of questions, approaches and heterogeneous points of views. We hope these days prove to be insightful and enjoyable for you all!
And now I will give the floor to Professor in Artistic Research, Esa Kirkkopelto, who is responsible for the vision of this gathering.