‘Thousand Times Yes’ is an international and intergenerational collaboration bringing together artists and musicians from Finland, Sweden and Denmark to explore the potential of cooperation and sharing in the form of a performance. It is a multidisciplinary dialogue that takes the shape of an experimental feminist chamber opera, inviting its participants to rethink the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk and its aesthetics, as well as the hierarchical and unequal traditions of the (performing) arts. While telling a story of companionship and coexistence, and the alternative futures at hand, the project aims to generate inclusive and sustainable working structures and languages.
The core working group around ‘Thousand Times Yes’ consists of composer and musician Marja Ahti (Turku), visual artist and writer / librettist Jenny Kalliokulju (Torrlösa) and performance artist/ director Essi Kausalainen (Helsinki).
“For the three of us the opera is a dream project that allows us to develop and extend our existing artistic practices into new territories. Bridging over the Baltic sea it brings us together to revise the aesthetic and ethic ground of our work. With the support of each others, with our different backgrounds and working methods, the project enables us to experiment, to take risks, and potentially to find something radically new; to work together on an imaginative interpretation of what an opera could mean in 2020. Presenting the final performance in Helsinki, Malmö, Umeå and Copenhagen through 2020-2021 we extend this dialogue with our performers and audiences.
While making space for inclusive and collaborative working structures ‘Thousand Times Yes’ is a passionate and ambitious artistic project. Weaving together complex electroacoustic soundscapes, recited and vocalized text, sculptural costumes and visuals, the piece composes aesthetics and expression that can only grow out of a shared process.
As artists we are interested in the practices of softening and opening that allow us to make space for the quiet voices and bodies to be heard. We are interested in complexity and continuity, the slow and the layered. In our previous works we have collaborated with gardens, plants, glaciers and animals as well as with biologists and researchers. This time our focus is in developing methods of collaborating and working that are organic, democratic and efficient, while creating an outstanding artistic outcome. This happens with the help of our multidisciplinary, intergenerational and international working group. In addition to the Finnish-Swedish core, the working group consists of soprano Johanna Kalliokulju (Gothenburg), musician Jorge Boehringer (Huddersfield), a Helsinki based alto singer and light designer Sofia Ivarsson (Copenhagen). In each city the opera visits, we will also invite three local teenagers to perform in their native languages as part of our team.”
Photo credits: Laura Cemin and Sini Pelkki