R.I.P. SERVICES (2016-)
R.I.P. SERVICES offered us one surprise after another; it was a very detailed crash course on dying prepation … Did I feel distressed? Not at all, because the seducing soundscape, the precise script, the intriguing video projections, and the breathing exercises that we did together gently led us to reflect on these issues … The performance succeeded to pierce the untouched mental “foil” in the human mind that keeps the fear of death away … The hour-long performance also included humour. It offered “personal trainers” for “death management” … the service that chaffed at life-coaching businesses was, I would say, a frighteningly brilliant idea. Raisa Rauhamaa, Teatteri & tanssi, Helsinki
R.I.P. SERVICES is an interesting experience … it is possible to address even such a topic as death in a seemingly airy and distanced manner and yet, simultaneously, discuss fears and taboos that are related to it. The performance leaves room for the spectator to experience emotions by herself, for herself. Sirpa Puhakka, Kansan Uutiset, Helsinki
R.I.P. Services offers interesting parallels and challenging views regarding the side effects of our fixation on “wellbeing” … Already the thought of a “good” or a “better” death is a sarcastic notion about our contemporary culture … the performance can be seen to “fill” the loophole in Michel Foucault’s concept “biopower” … Death, as Foucault puts it, is the limit of power. R.I.P. Services, perhaps also as a general critical comment on the consumerist society, toys with the idea that we may be able to productivize this ultimate limit that escapes power – the limit between life and death. Matti Tuomela, Mustekala Kulttuurilehti, Helsinki
YOYO – You are On Your Own (2014-2015)
The performance concept is powerful. It blurs the borders between the performance situation and reality in an engaging way … the Finnish-Austrian collective that created the performance is a definitely interesting new acquaintance. Marja Silde, Teatteri & tanssi 5/2014
With a lot of irony, the performance YOYO – You are On your Own sheds light on the fears of a young artist; fears that drive him to isolation. Indeed, the performance shows us a gloomy portrait of our contemporary society: he, who chooses to prepare his survival shell instead of going to protest on the streets for a political change, has completely lost the belief in politics and the society. Sebastian Fleischer, Ö1 Kulturjournal 03.02.2015
The Gyro Gearloose-like protagonist of YOYO is an intriguing combination of cool-headed engineer thought, manic survivalism and sensitivity … even IKEA would pale before this efficient survival packaging act. Hanna Helavuori, tinfo-tiedote 25, 05.08.2014
You might really feel at ease here, in this ambience, if you didn’t constantly hear the admonishing voice from the off that reminds us about past and upcoming catastrophes. The hour that we spend in the rugged and cold basement whose walls get decorated through curious fresco-like memory videos, lives from Mikko Niemistö’s mischievous performance. He furnishes the vaulted crypt carefully and leisurely, like a prudish housewife, reflects on the performance situation and gives friendly glances at the audience, thereby wrapping the surreal catastrophe scenario in soft irony. Ditta Rudle, tanz.at, 03.03.2015
I BLAME YOU, TONY BLAIR! (2014)
Article in Teatteri & Tanssi 2/2014, written by the Editor-in-Chief Annukka Ruuskanen:
Artists, reclaim the arts!
Joonas Lahtinen (29) is a performance artist moved to Vienna whose Ein.Küchen.Bau delighted audiences at the Stage Festival in Helsinki last summer. It reflected on the ethos behind the fitted kitchen and opened up wise views on our whole contemporary way of life.
Now, the group Joonas Lahtinen u.a. delves into the European art policy in their premiere of I blame you, Tony Blair!. Its protagonist Harald Jokesch (in the photo) has been working in the German-speaking theatre field since the early 1980’s and personally experienced changes in the funding and production structures of art. The performance combines fictitious and biographical elements from Jokesch’s career.
“We’re making a bittersweet and humorous monologue by an aging performance artist, with an installational character as to the soundscape and set design,“ says Lahtinen.
“To the character Harald Jokesch, Tony Blair and the ’creative economy’ logic propagated by him are to blame for these developments. Harald feels that because of Blair’s politics, especially freelance artists have to work and think more and more like service providers, “creative entrepreneurs.“
Joonas Lahtinen u.a. urges us to think about what the creative economy can offer to older performance artists who don’t want to or don’t have the skills to adopt the “marketing spirit.“
“What role does the theatre as institution play in the contemporary society that worships efficiency, measurability and profitability?“
I blame you, Tony Blair! premieres at the Imagetanz festival organized by the Brut Wien art centre. The theme of this year’s festival is „Who cares?“, that means, the different forms of art-making and caring.
Stove, sink, refrigerator, microwave, storage, work surfaces – everything economically arranged, within just 4 square metres – this adds up to the dullest kitchen in the world, despite the cosy embroidery. The point of this optimization orgy: the shelves are full of canned ready meals. The festival motto, “Verwerte Dich!“, could hardly be embodied in a clearer or more concise manner. After all, kitchen is the ultimate site for exploiting ourselves; this applies especially to women. Products, workforce and time are used up there. The voice-over text fragments turn all this into a compact and direct “discourse performance”. Alexandra Kedves, Tages-Anzeiger, Zurich
The modern “just-in-time” lifestyle could hardly be portrayed more concisely or sharply. “EIN.KÜCHEN.BAU” offered a highlight already in the first evening of the “Freischwimmer” Festival. Hans-Christoph Zimmermann, Westdeutsche Zeitung, Dusseldorf
Fitted kitchen. A rare and witty performance theme. Barbara Petsch, Die Presse, Vienna
Also the kitchen, this “centre of home” with its controversial connotations, has its language. Lahtinen brings this language into life. Helmut Ploebst, Der Standard, Vienna
One of the most interesting works at Stage was Joonas Lahtinen’s small-scale EIN.KÜCHEN.BAU that seemed to be the only performance art production in the festival program. The performance showed us a lone guy dabbling about in a 1970’s styled fitted kitchen; it looked as if he had transformed into an efficient and hygienic part of a “world-machine” envisaged by architects and community planners. EIN.KÜCHEN.BAU that has been touring Europe was a funny and illustrative performance about the odd human utopies to make the world a better place. Annukka Ruuskanen, Teatteri & tanssi, Helsinki
In Joonas Lahtinen’s EIN.KÜCHEN.BAU, the “kitchen“ with its somewhat mundane reputation gets portrayed as a deliciously rich and multilayered site. The kitchen is a site that balances between the private and the public, the personal and the political, the masculine and the feminine, the industrial and the individual. EIN.KÜCHEN.BAU forces us to see the ideologies and power relations in the kitchen and shows us how the steps that we take in the kitchen actually follow a precise “choreography“ pre-planned by others. Maija Karhunen, mustekala.info, Helsinki
Radio feature about the Berlin premiere of EIN.KÜCHEN.BAU at Freischwimmer-festival, RBB Kulturradio 27.10.2012, 10.45 am (in German):