Baltic Connection

International Theatre Festival


my calendar (0)

Friday 26.09.


Festival director Eva Neklyaeva
Helsinki, August 14th, 2014


This text begins while I’m sitting at Juha Valkeapää’s living room, waiting for his beloved. Let’s wait for two more minutes, Juha says. Maybe five more. Let’s wait a little longer. We are sitting here, waiting. Adele plays in the background.

Most probably, the beloved will not come. But it is not certain. We are almost sure she doesn’t exist. But this is not definitive.

Juha draws our attention to one line in Adele’s song:

“Sometimes it lasts in love and sometimes it hurts instead. Yeah.”

Juha particularly likes the “Yeah”. In his opinion, it shows a special kind of maturity of the young singer–songwriter.

A few weeks before that, I’m hanging out with Anne Juren in Rakvere, at Baltoscandal Festival. The sun is either not set yet or already up, the way you can never be quite sure only in the middle of Northern summer. Anne talks about how it is impossible to provoke anyone on stage anymore. She mentions Zizek, who apparently said in one of his lectures that to really mess with the system, one should fall in love.

On the following day, Anne accidentally dislocates her shoulder on stage while performing. The audience does not believe the injury is real and refuses to leave, thinking it’s all part of the show.

A few months ago, I’m standing on Vaasankatu street, watching a performance called Angry Woman through a glass wall. Inside the gallery, 5 very cool female artists dressed in black underwear take turns screaming and trashing the place. The gallery crowd cheers on. A couple of people stop by, looking worried, and ask what’s going on. “It’s art”, someone explains. Immediately, they calm down and walk away.

Zizek’s concept of love as a political category starts with love as a disruptive, violent force that ruins the accepted way of things.

Love that will tear us apart again.

Bell Hooks writes: “In truth, true love is all about work. To truly flourish, love requires an ongoing commitment to constructive struggle and change”.

While the feeling of crisis is urgent and all-permeating, it is still exciting to work at a time that presents an opportunity to redefine the place of art in society, in public space, in relation to the art field itself. A few years ago, we believed that the need for change meant the change was already happening. Today, we are just only discovering the scope of required commitment.

My favorite read this summer, Jacob Wren’s latest book Polyamorous Love Story, surprisingly ends with a happy moment of a loving couple, after weaving layers and layers of dark stories about art, sex and violence. A group of New Filmmakers are making films without camera, by scripting and directing their lives as if these were movies. Mascot Front is a terrorist organization that might or might not be an art movement.

In the book, the search for new forms of art is somehow directly connected to the search for new ways to love.

The events in the book take place in a world where art is in crisis, the society is in violent struggle, and artists and activists are looking for new strategies to work, to engage, to create change, to make sense. But at the same time, to blur fiction and reality, to establish multiple points of view, to battle dualities, to be transgressive and unpredictable.

It is a world that looks suspiciously like the world where we live now.

Eva Neklyaeva,
August 14th, 2014