At the end of February Zodiak Stage will host the premiere of SOMETHING AND NOTHING ABOUT DARKNESS, the new collaboration of Sanna Blennow and Mikko Niemistö. We asked Sanna and Mikko about their collaboration and the background of the new work.
When and how did your collaboration start?
We met in December 2015 at DOCH in Stockholm while attending a course on performance. People thought that we were siblings, because we looked so much like each other, so we started referring to each other as ”sister” and ”brother”. At that time, Mikko was studying for his Master's degree and Sanna joined his research project called “inventories”. The project was eventually shown in Berlin in 2016 in the frame of Mad House Helsinki’s festival called NoMad House.
In 2019, three years later, we started working on a new project together called Astral Projections. It was made for a gallery space and the performance-installation opened a few days before the first COVID19-lockdown in Forum Box gallery, Helsinki.
SOMETHING AND NOTHING ABOUT DARKNESS is a part of a larger "family" of works. Can you tell a bit more about the background of the performance from this point of view?
The ”family” is a bit of a misconception to be honest. Instead, you could see it as four different flowers planted in the same soil. The roots might be entangled but they appear very differently.
The flower-family is questioning today’s ever wakeful late capitalist society, and thinking that dreams open a poetic space for resistance.
The previous works have explored dreams in documented form. SOMETHING AND NOTHING ABOUT DARKNESS (SNAD) has experimented with how to dream collectively whilst being awake, and how to approach different modes of speech through the logic of a dream.
The pre-text about the performance includes this phrase: "The performance dwells in states of emptiness, anger and frustration and is searching for channels through which these can be projected." Can you expand this a bit further? How will this translate onto the stage?
We prefer not to answer this question in text, but rather invite you to come to the show and see for yourself.
There is going to be some spoken text in the performance. How are you creating the texts?
During our years of working together, we have always played with text as a material.
We have researched different speeches, manifestos, punk songs and our own dream diaries. This collage of material has been floating around and accompanied us in the process.
With this text-bank, we have improvised in the studio by opening up a channel where we dream in the present. These sessions have been recorded, then observed, transcribed, edited, and we have repeated these actions until the final text has landed.
SOMETHING AND NOTHING ABOUT DARKNESS at Zodiak Stage on 23.2.–7.3.2023