A Hairy Test

This is the last phase, phase 8 of The Exercise Through Line with a spoken phrase said after the description as a beginning of a consequent action.

In this phase of the exercise through line everything else continues as in the previous phases (See the whole Exercise through line), but I add a simple spoken phrase that we used in the original performance of The Real Health Center in August 2016. The articipant still describes their perception as before. After they have finished the performer says ‘I would like to propose a test to find out whether this is something we should now concentrate on’. The performer has the duration of that sentence to prepare for the test. Then the test starts. The reason for the use of this sentence is to introduce the exploratory quality of the interaction, acknowledge two overlapping contexts in relation to testing – health center and artistic experimentation – and in the form of a sentence highlight the simultaneity of precision and openness.

In this short tryout Sami R. is in the position of the performer (shown in the clip) and Veera is in the position of the articipant (the one whose point of view the GoPro is recording).

For this last phase of the exercise through line we didn’t manage to capture a video clip that would combine all of the things mentioned, but I have chosen this video as an example of one approach to creating a ‘test’. It has all the other phases (of the exercise through line) incorporated except participatory action. The action in this clip reflects action as in the phase five (5) of the exercise through line (phase 5 of Exercise Through Line).

This video is not an ideal version of this last phase of the exercise through line as the action here is not fully participatory to the extent it’s aimed to be in this phase, but I have chosen this video to show what the test can mean in this context. The action forming a test doesn’t have to make sense – which this particular test shows beautifully – , it doesn’t have to be connected to a role, a conscious through line or anything else resembling a score. It is one action that arises from the senses – here arising from the sense perception of the articipant – which is then framed as a test. Test is used as a frame to create an open space where the articipant has room for their contribution. Actually, even though the action in the clip doesn’t take the articipant fully into action, it does take the articipant inside the scene Sami R. is creating. The articipant doesn’t entirely stay in a position of a spectator. In that sense this scene could well be part of an immersive performance

The video is also a good example of a description laced with feeling in order to make the description even more precise. You can see and hear this in the description when Veera as an articipant is saying the branches make her feel ‘stopped’. You can also hear it in the tone of her voice which marks it as something specific even though this particular tone might not translate well to those not speaking Finnish.