English translation of the YOYO interview in Aamulehti

Finally I had time to translate the first YOYO press interview to English — Ilona Koskimäki from the Aamulehti newspaper interviewed me on 19 June. Hope to see you at the YOYO premiere on 3/4/5 August!

CATASTROPHE PERFORMANCE IN AN EVACUATION SHELTER – WILL IT BE AN INTIMIDATING EXPERIENCE?

YOYO – You are On Your Own introduces the audience to Survivalist thinking and outlines various future threats such as nuclear disaster and Third World War. The performance that premieres in Helsinki in August takes place in an authentic evacuation shelter that can host up to 40–50 spectators.

What is YOYO about, performance artist Joonas Lahtinen?
-It will be an odd presentation of a special shelter interior prototype. It might be characterized as a curious lecture performance but we won’t use any Powerpoints etcetera – it is an art project.

What do you want to say with the performance?
YOYO reflects on the changing parameters of “preparedness” and of our “essential” needs; what would we really need to survive long periods of time in a closed and claustrophobic environment, without all the experience horizons that we’ve got used to? It can be that water, bread and shelter won’t be enough for us. We may also need things that help us maintain our mental health and strength. That’s what our interior design plays with.

Will it be an intimidating experience for the spectators to take part in the performance?
-Well, we’ll create some kind of “unconventional” ambiences. But although our theme is a serious one, there will also be humourous moments in the performance. YOYO is not a simple horror story.

Was it difficult to get permission to use an authentic shelter for an art project?
-It took quite a while for us to find a suitable site but after hearing about the Punanotko evacuation shelter things started to work out. As far as I know, the shelter has been in rescue use in the past and is still on standby. Until this summer, an opera group used it as their rehearsal space and a dance school will move in after us.

Are catastrophies a productive theme for art?
-Yes. Difficult and multifaceted issues that you can’t quite control or make sense of urge you to think creatively and avoid the everyday paths of thought.

What do you think, what kind of catastrophe will destroy our planet?
-Well, if we don’t change our current way of life – that is, if the gap between the wealthy and the poor continues to grow and if we continue to exploit the natural resources like we are doing today – we will face some kind of a serious global catastrophe. Nature catastrophes and social and political problems are and will be tightly intertwined.

(Interview by Ilona Koskimäki/Aamulehti (19.06.2014), freely translated by JL)

 

aamulehti_19-06-14_YOYO

 

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About Joonas Lahtinen

Joonas Lahtinen (* 1984, FIN/A) is a performance artist, director and researcher who lives and works in Vienna and Helsinki. His performances are often site-specific and have a strong installational character. In his works, he explores the politics of space and of the everyday from perspectives that are both humorous and disturbing. Joonas has studied Performance at Queen Mary, University of London and he is writing a PhD thesis about the problematic of “emancipatory” participative art at the University of Helsinki. Since 1995, he has performed in various Live Art, theatre and TV productions both in Finland and abroad.
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