Movements and Words – Special Issue on Dance & Poetry

You´re currently reading this years second issue of Nokturno. This time we dive into different unions between dance and poetry in our featured essays, interviews, video documentations and dance poetry videos. We also bring you the latest work of HÖYRY, a Helsinki-based digital verbal art collective and last but not least, minimalistic concrete poetry from USA!

We open with A Pile of Frames by poet Dirk Huelstrunk and dancer Milla Koistinen. Their collaborative work, combining sound poetry and contemporary dance was born at Kone Foundation´s Saari Residence in 2014, when both of them were working with their individual projects. A Pile of Frames is based on structured improvisations and so each performance is different. We present documentations of two compelling performances, one that took place in Helsinki and other from Frankfurt. In Franziska Helms´ interview, originally published at the web site of Lettrétage, Huelstrunk and Koistinen talk about one of the central themes of their work, repetition, as well as improvisation and relationship between words and dance.

In Vilma Tihilä‘s work-in-progress video Ella & Alina Ella Holappa and Alina Sakko dance her choregraphy, inspired by Milka Luhtaniemi´s poetry. Director, choreographer and film maker Tihilä also contributes to this issue with an essay on the theoretical and aestethic perspectives behind her work. The essay explores the thinking of Maya Deren (1917-1961), pioneer in dance movies, who frequently used the term ”poetry of film” in describing her relationship to creating films. Tihilä´s essay is simultaneously an open call for a poet to collaborate with her in her next project.

Eino Santanen is known for his acclaimed poetry books and intensive live performances – both in solo and together with Matti Kangaskoski and Tuomas Timonen in black mödernism – but within the dance scene in Finland he´s equally known for his collaboration with dancer and choreographer Valtteri Raekallio. Since 2014 Raekallio has built immersive site-specific dance and poetry performances based on Santanen´s poetry. Santanen answered via mail to Nokturno´s questions about their joint projects and how his relationsship to poetry has changed along the years of collaboration. You can read the Finnish interview here.

Dialogue between poetry and dance is further probed in the essay Jumalallinen tanssirunous by Hanna-Mari Ojala. Ojala is the winner of 2017 Lahti Poetry Marathon video poetry competition and her videos combining dance and poetry have been presented in several international poetry and video festivals. In her essay Ojala discusses with the Slovakian poet Eleni Cay and reflects the nature of the art forms and the creative process that takes places in the intersection. In a selection of five videos we present you some of her most succesful videos, including Echoes, awarded both at AltFF Alternative Film Festival and Avalonia Festival and Solitude, most recently featured at the ScreenDance Festival in Stockholm.

HÖYRY is a Helsinki-based digital verbal art collective formed by poet Henrik Pathirane and philosopher Juho Pääkkönen. Their previous works include Oleminen | Being, published in Nokturno last year. In Vallan kielet Pathirane and Pääkkönen have utilized the machine-learning based method of topic modeling to create a series of poems based on documents by the Finnish parliament working period of 2014-2017. Poems comprising from lists of words are read by Microsoft´s speech synthesizer Heidi.

This issue closes with three concrete poems by lawyer and poet Joshua Smith. Smith´s poetry has been released in several magazines and web sites focused on experimental poetry and art. His minimalist approach, nearing the genre of pwoermds, poetry of single words, creates intensive, spatial and metaphorical focal points.

Next week marks the beginning of the Digital Residence of Spring 2019! Niina Oisalo´s project on video poetry and poetry films begins on Monday and continues to the end of May. More information you´ll find here.

Deadline for submissions to Nokturno 3-2019 is 31st of May. We welcome digital, experimental and cross-disciplinary poetry, and poetry related texts such as essays and interviews.

(image: Fever by Hanna-Mari Ojala)