MADE BY is the Institute’s series of interviews that allows artists, designers, thinkers and doers to unfold their creative process in their own words.
Choreographer and artist Maija Hirvanen’s For those who have time looks at time as a phenomenon that unites and separates people. For those whose have time will be performed at Sadler’s Wells on 10 and 11 October.
For those who have time is a physical piece on the inner state of the human being produced by the modern accelerated and condensed concept of time. This state separates us from each other, because many of us are perpetually too busy either for a real reason or without one, because being busy has become a habit. At the same time, this state of accelerated time also connects us, because living in condensed time concerns so many people in Western societies. For those who have time is also a kind of an acknowledgement to the audience – to the people who have made time to watch the performance on that particular night.
The performance is the second part of my trilogy Operation We. All parts of the trilogy examine from different, defined perspectives what connects people, what “we” consists of. Each part in the trilogy is an independent work of art so it’s not necessary to see all of them to get the hang of it. For me, making a trilogy has been a way of engaging with the same question for several years from very different points of view.
In this part of the trilogy I wanted to work with minimalist aesthetics as well as black and white so as to make the theme of time clearly visible on the unembellished stage. The lighting and costume designers and myself created the stage and costume design and the visual look of the piece in tight cooperation. When our team begins its work, plans, unfinished thoughts, ideas, snippets, bits and pieces that I have written exist. I have so far never used finished text in my works. Rather, the language in them is born as the work itself is created.
I have been dancing since I was a child, so for me sweating is a natural way of expressing, processing, and thinking. I have also always been interested in language and pictures and listening. Physical art could lie somewhere in the crossroads of these sectors. For me the wide definition of physical art means that everything we perceive, experience, think or invent is born out of the processes of the human body. Perhaps because of this extensive interest and to understand the different sides of physicality I have ended up working in a cross-disciplinary way. I do not believe that I would have been able to find my own style of expressing myself without taking these detours that also develop and change my self-expression further.
I hope that my works would be open and thought-provoking. It would be great if my art could offer an alternative to entertainment as a means of getting away from everyday reality. Or that it would make a member of the audience feel like performing the piece themselves or start practising art. I also want to use the performances and their language to say that we have the chance to build anew our identities, habits, perception of reality, and deeds again and again. Next week you will be at once the same and a different person than you are now.
I have a secret plan for the next 50 years of my career. I dream of performing more again in the next few years, because I have created so many works for other people. I have realised that it’s important to pay attention to how I do things and what they lead to. This doesn’t mean that ambition isn’t a good thing, but time-wise making art is about much more than accomplishments.