A Point of No Return with Mikko Niemistö, Tuuli Vahtola and Jan Nyberg

For almost two weeks the Finnish trio consisting of Mikko Niemistö, Tuuli Vahtola and Jan Nyberg have been working in our studio with the upcoming work “A Point of No Return”. On Saturday 20th at 12pm-1:30pm we open up the doors for a work-in-progress residency showing of the project.  We asked them to tell us a bit more about their ongoing work. Here is what they have to say about the process this far.

– The title is now ”A Point of No Return” after we dropped out ”A Theory of Evolution”. ”A Theory of Evolution” however describes well our starting point which was our interest in the broad topic of human evolution and changes happening in us and the world during vast time frames. We are currently focusing especially in asking ”what makes humans human?” because of our interest in the widely discussed term ”the Anthropocene”. We wanted to approach the theme in a more personal, experiential and intimate way because of it ’s overly theorized nature and it’s connection to natural sciences.

What remained in the title and what we could identify our desires with more was ”A Point of No Return”. We want to look at when a ”point of no return” appears in time and what that point feels like and what it consists of. We are aligning this process with death, memory, producing sounds and text.

  • How did you find this collaboration and how has your dynamics developed throughout the project?

We met while we were studying at DOCH and continued an artistic dialogue (and friendship) when we returned to Helsinki. While we have been trying to figure out what we are actually doing we have also started to develop our own language and a common practice. Our roles in the project have shaped throughout the dialogue and as we still are all in equal positions in the studio and on the stage, Mikko and Tuuli take more responsibility for organizing and decision making while Jan focuses on the work of the performer.

  • You have been working with the action of weaving different materials, like strings and fabrics to transform the space. Can you tell us something more about this process, how does your movements and relation to the surrounding change as you transform the room?

We started by weaving, since we were interested in the crafts as one defining aspect of human cultures but also as a symbol for learning processes. The process has evolved to a point in which we have for now set aside the strings and fabrics and focused on voice, speaking and words as a form of – and material for – weaving. We have landed on an idea that the shape this project eventually takes on the stage will be strongly built on auditive and textual factors.

  • What other methods, intentions or themes will you work on during your process in the studio?

We have been trying to navigate inside this field of humanness and the non-human and distilling from it the things that for us are most interesting. This process led us to zoom in on the awareness of one’s own death, which we think is something that cuts through the different aspects of human culture; a factor behind our dominant role in the ecosystem, our relation to other beings, our pains, our art, our religions and our need for glory and recognition to name a few.

  • How will the project proceed after the residency?

We will continue the collaboration with one more person in the working group, fashion designer and performance artist Justus Kantakoski, who will be designing costumes and the more visual aspects of the project. We have been talking about, for example how to include the action of weaving both as a movement practice (returning to the initial idea), as well as a texture on the costumes.


Visit the facebook event for the work-in-progress “Residency showing: A Point of No Return