Last night some of the rainfall came down as wet snow, but nothing of it remained in the afternoon when I went down to the shore to empty my boat of water. The ground was as dark and gloomy as before, only more wet. To my surprise the wind was blowing from west-northwest in such an angle that there were no big waves between the mainland and the island. Thus I quickly decided to return and bring my things and to row across to record the December session of Year of the Horse now, and thus to have it done well before Christmas. I am visiting the same rock that I sat on once a week during the year of the horse 2002, but this year 2014 only once a month. And this session today was the next to last one. One more remains to be done in January, before the Chinese year of the horse ends and transforms into the year of the goat.
These days there is not much daylight; dusk sets in already at four o’clock. And on a cloudy day it feels like the day never really begins. In the city centre all the Christmas lights try to cheer people up to shop, but by the shore the occasional lights here and there feel dim. You would expect people living here for generations becoming somehow immune to the effects of lack of light, but no. Most people suffer, feeling constantly tired and slightly sad. I was energized by my dread for the strong wind, though. On the way to the island it was pushing me, but on the way back I really had to work hard against it. And nothing keeps you awake better than a kick of adrenaline.
Many performance artists work with that, I guess, when they experiment with risk or pain or hint at terror. Like Peter Rosvik with his blood soaked globe in flames in the rain last night at the event Tonight at Suomenlinna. Or Michelle Lacombe with her subtle mixture of saliva and tears in the strong and simple performance at the end of that same night. My small performances for camera do not involve any real risk, or even imagined dread, although I keep repeating the same actions as if forced by some mysterious trauma. No symbolic self-immolation or other type of violence is hinted at. The most scary part is often related to the unpredictability of the weather and is nothing the viewer of the artwork will encounter.
I recently read a dialogue between Borradori and Derrida called Autoimmunity: real and symbolic suicides, a dialogue with Jacques Derrida. The reason for engaging with a text that deals with the aftermath of September 11 was a recommendation by Rustom Bharucha. He visited Helsinki last week and gave a lecture on his book Terror and Performance, speaking admiringly of this dialogue. The debate on terrorism is not as heated as at that time, but much of the analysis is still valid. And with the situation in Palestine being what it is the discussion of state terrorism is as relevant as ever. Even a peaceful activity like performing landscape could turn into a dangerous affair if there are disagreements concerning who is entitled to use the land. Terror, territory and ‘terra’ go together.