Maija: Everything started with a love for dance when I was very little. And over the years, during my school afternoon, I started to get interested in other kinds of things like theatre, writing.
But dance was my first love. And it looks different each time, and the reason why I do it keeps changing.
Operation We hinges on the question, "What is we?" It's an investigation into how we as people form groups, and it consists of three parts:
#1: Our Social Democratic Bodies, 2011
This explores the local/national past. It's about the idea of welfare in Finland, the welfare state that moulded Maija's generation in the '70s and '80s. Marimekko T-shirts, Olympic ribbon-dancing (everyone's mother and grandmother did gymnastics in the National Sports Club!), even a futile effort at "dancing the war away" while wearing a mask made of gloves.
Maija: We were told how lucky you are that you were born here and think of the starving children in Africa because they don’t have any food.
Me: (whispering to Wai Mar) Did you parents say that?
Wai Mar: No. We already have starving people down here. We don’t need Africa.
Maija: It created a lot of agreeing, which reflects our consensus culture. But paradoxically, it’s also really fun to do. And when you do this exercise for a long time, you feel like your thoughts are not from your head. Your language is from somewhere else.
This explores the western present: the speed of modern life and how it affects us. How we talk about how busy we are. How we even compete over who’s the busiest. The humour here is much darker.
Dancer: I don’t have time for books. All those blank pages. Waste of space. Books are alright when they are in bookshops where I don’t have to see them. I don’t even have time for sex. I don’t even remember the last time I had sex. Maybe 15 years ago. It is a waste of the human liquids. I don’t even sweat.
This will explore a global perspective - and this Flying Circus Project excursion is turning out to be an excellent research trip.
In the last few minutes of her presentation, Maija talked about If I Only I Had Learned in School, a project she did with Tellervo (from FCP) and Tellervo's husband, Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen. She'd met up with Tellervo and after a long talk, discovered that they both cared passionately about education, learning and freedom. Thus an open call for folks to teach classes along this theme, resulting in a series of lectures in an '80s-style classroom on:
- “how to politely respond to unbelievable insults, bad treatment and being subjected to domination”
- "how to understand the world from the perspective of another species, such as lice" from a biologist
- “that when a rapist puts his weapon in your face, check if it is an air or gas pistol first” from an expert on women and rape, noting that most women know nothing about weapon culture- “how to be myself and not to be good girl”, which included a demo of feminist bar dancing
- “about shaking hands correctly when you meet”, about encountering different cultures
-“to accept all my feelings peacefully”
- and many more...
Such strange games of communities, again utterly different from anything we've encountered before. She closed with an image of her own daughter at the exhibition, in a pose that evoked her belief in the ability to learn, relearn, refresh our minds.
Maija: Metaphorically we can empty the schooldesk that we have and place something new inside.