Other Spaces crosses borders to deliver transgenerational theatre in Germany
Helsinki-based Other Spaces collective’s Collection of Imaginary Beings is headed for the Hamburg Kunsthalle.
Place-specific and transgenerational, the Other Spaces collective’s Collection of Imaginary Beings is set to open in Hamburg on 9 October 2021. Its world premiere at Turku City Library in Finland was part-produced by the Hamburg’s Kampnagel performing arts centre. The collaboration between In Other Spaces and Kampnagel dates back to the collective’s earlier production, Great Barrier Reef.
The Collection of Imaginary Beings forms part of a series of works aimed at engaging participants of all ages. The performances in Germany are scheduled to take place at the Hamburger Kunsthalle. The performance will be in English, but to ensure that the needs of each audience members are met, it will be simultaneously interpreted into German, with the interpreter also becoming part of the participatory work themselves.
In an earlier TINFO interview last year Kampnagel’s dramaturge Anna Teuwen had this to say about the collaboration:
The physical exercises set up a frame of rules that everyone can (and must) follow and even if it might be more difficult for the grown-ups to act like they usually do in Other Spaces Collectives projects when being surrounded by kids (like it might feel more silly) it worked out that they took it seriously and had a very unique experience and encounter with the other participants of all ages.
In my opinion this is due to the experience and strong attitude of the members of the Other Spaces Collective who guided the participants through the show. The kind of silliness and irony that can often be found in works for younger audiences where artists work with two layers of meanings in order to cater for everyone, does not take place in the works of Other Spaces Collective, due to their democratic and equal approach.
Active since 2004, the Other Spaces collective’s artistic approach is based on a commitment to continuous practice. For the audience, the collective’s performances are an opportunity to imagine yourself inhabiting the body of some other-worldly creature, taking on the guise of a car, a reindeer, a humanoid or even a power line.
The collective has appeared at a series of high-profile festivals, the Venice Biennale among them, with their hugely popular Wolf Safari staged in Italy, Denmark, Russia and Britain. In early September, collective members Esa Kirkkopelto and Minja Mertanen ran an embodied exercise workshop at the Wiener Festwoche alongside Kate McIntosh. In 2022, the Collection of Imaginary Beings is scheduled to appear at the Hangö Teaterträff festival in Swedish translation.
The Collection of Imaginary Beings has been created by Other Spaces’ members Eeva Kemppi, Jussi Lankoski, Kaisa-Liisa Logrén, Minja Mertanen and Jaakko Ruuska. In Hamburg, they will be performing the work in English. The script for the performance has been translated into English by Liisa Muinonen-Martin, who has received a TINFO grant to support her work.
Alongside Other Spaces and Kampnagel, the Collection of Imaginary Beings is produced by the Turku-based TEHDAS Teatteri. The Hamburg production has received additional support through TINFO’s LUO mobility project.
TINFO / Sari Havukainen, 8 September 2021
Translation of the article by Liisa Muinonen-Martin. Photo credit: Jaakko Ruuska