Methodology and knowledge base

The main method of researching the performativity of the spaces and assumed suggestions of performativity that these spaces express is by spending time in these three spaces, contemplating the ideas and emotions these spaces evoke and performing by the associations emerged through these contemplations. Spaces themselves carry within them a certain assumptions of in which manner an individual is to act and perform in them. By being aware of these assumed codes implemented by the nature of the space one enters in a certain dialogue between oneself and a space. As Richard Schechner implies that the level of self-consciousness correlates to the amount of performativity in behavior of the individual (Schechner 2006, 171) I try to find the performative elements from my "being" in these spaces and observe them as artistic material. I also observe the spaces as they were a sort of performances themselves. This point of view comes simply from my own experience of seeing the the elements of performativity especially in the things made by human and in the living organisms. ......

I look my contemplations about the spaces and the performativities raising from my explorations in them trough and against the ideas and writings about performativity by such authors from art field as Pilvi Porkola, Richard Schechner and Sarah Bright. From human behaviour perspective I seek points of views from sociological, philosophical and psychological writers such as Erwin Goffman, Jean Baudrillard, Deborah Lupton, Heidegger, Rene Baudrillard and Alan Bryman.

As a point of view in my approach to observing my own behaviour as performance works very much the ideas of performing yourself by Ervin Goffman. ..



When the imagery and the video material starts to become some kind of litter. There is masses of clips and images coming and going and here I'm producing more. So what to do with this all then? I read Thomas Hirschorns writings about his ideas about art and he said that he cant understand the idea "less is more". Hes approach to material and the way he assembles things that at first seem to be merely trash but by the way they are portraited become meaningful. I personally see them as certain kind of sets or events that definetelly hold within them a performative elements. That something I might like to here; to see what happens to all this garbage like loads of material when I start to put clips together beside eachoter. Will they express something together?

(Hirschhorn, Thomas. et al. Critical Laboratory the Writings of Thomas Hirschhorn. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2013. Print.)


Porkola writes how “Minusta al­koi tuntua, että nykyisessä kuvakulttuurin yltäkylläisyydessä kuvan tekemi­seen täytyy olla joku erityinen syy. Ajattelin, että kuvat tyhjenevät väistämättä muiden kuvien virtaan ja siten niiden merkitys hukkuu, tai ainakin muuttuu

She started to feel that in the abundancy of modern image culture there must be a certain reason to make images (Porkola,   ) She thought that the significance of images inevitably drowns at least changes in to the constant stream of other images.


Porkola writes that she started to look the coffee mug on the table and to see it as a performance. (Porkola, 2014) There is something very similar to my experience when observing phenomena around myself. I wonder whether it is the result of our society slowly changing towards more and more performativity oriented system or is it just the amount of performative elements around us that makes one to observe things as performances, or is just the mere symptom derived from my points of interest.

I’m trying to approach the same question that Pilvi Porkola asks in her doctoral thesis that what can be seen as a performance and why. And to be more precise with it I study my own relation to the idea performativity in the context of surroundings where I live and work. The performativity as phenomena or as a certain kind of question creates all sorts of meanings and associations while I spend my time working and avoiding work.



And now! Make a list::::



Pilvi Porkola –                     the idea of performance and performativity in general, what can be seen as a performance, what can you do with the performance and how can you do research by and via performance. Also the ideas and thoughts about what kind of knowledge and how is being being produced (or is it being produced) while performing or while documenting a performance. This relates to for example my experiments of approaching an act of filming the space as a sort of performance. In this case the material produced in this act, is it a document of performance, an event of some kind, or is it just a video that precents the focus of a performer, or can it be seen as a performance itself? Can you produce a performance that at the same time takes place in the act of filming something and in the act of viewing it?


Porkola, Pilvi. Esitys tutkimuksena : näkökulmia poliittiseen, dokumentaariseen ja henkilökohtaiseen esitystaiteessa. Helsinki: Taideyliopiston Teatterikorkeakoulu, Esittävien taiteiden tutkimuskeskus, 2014. Print.


Baudrillard -  The idea of simulation. According to Baudrillard modern phenomena such as television and constant communication has changed our relationship to our surroundings and to ourselves. Baudrillard sees that the the real in our society has in a way stopped being and it has been replaced by a simulation of the real, and in many times (like in his example of the idea of Disneyland) things that are presented as imaginary are just attempts to hide that there actually is no more anything else than imaginary, that something that has been real for us has turned into simulation.  As in my own work and observations of my own and others behaviour in the selected places and spaces I tend see an element of essentialistic actions. Procedures going on in the sake of the appearances and not in order to produce something. Same thing happens in my own work, meaning the question that I constantly ask from myself whether I actually work towards something or do just simulate the act of working? The idea that  I’m especially interested in Baudrillards claim that the television and the constant communication and interactivity has caused a change in our way of precepting objects and subjects and our whole surroundings where we live. Objects have lost their symbolic methaphoric value when they are being constantly represented as nothing else but just mere imitations of reality.


Baudrillard, Jean., and Mark. Poster. Selected Writings. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1988. Print.


Baudrillard, Jean, and Drew. Burk. Telemorphosis. First edition. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Univocal, 2011. Print.



Alan Bryman -                     Brymans concept The Disneyization works as a perspective or a point of view of which against to observe and contemplate my ideas and observations about performativity in everyday life. With the disneyization Bryman means the phenomena how especially the service labour professions are seen more and more as a sort of performance like actions, and how the especial mood of by which they are performed becomes a big part of it.

Bryman, Alan. The Disneyization of Society. London: SAGE, 2004. Print.


Guttu -          the text “End of art education as we know it and in the movie…” Guttu creates interesting views about the perfomative nature of our society. The outcomes of the educations seem to drown in the force or branding and institutional posing and it becomes irrelevant what is actually done compared to what is shown.

The end of Art Education as We know it, Guttu 2020, Kunst Kritikk


Kathy O’Dell

O’Dell writes in her essay Trouble at home about identification and the body. This

relates to my work by the perspective of observing the person and especially the

body in the space and what happens while that act. O’Dell sites Lacan and other

thinkers about their theories of identification and writes about the contradictions

appearing when we as viewers see the performing body and experience sort of

identification to it, even though when we don’t have any actual information about the viewed subject as an supposed individual.

Hall, Doug., and Sally Jo. Fifter. Illuminating Video : an Essential Guide to Video Art. New York (NY): Aperture, 1990. Print.


Erwin Goffman

still not in a form that I could apply here but it might be part of the text in some point since I’ve managed to think it trough. But in general Goffman addresses different forms and elements regarding the phenomena of performing oneself. He comes up with the concepts that try to define the ways of presenting ourselves to the other people and what elements are contained in that behaviour. All this is very interesting and basically pretty much in relation to the very core of the subject of my thesis, yet still I haven’t quite found the point of view that I would actually have anything to say about.      

Goffman, Erving. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1990. Print.


Deborah Lupton (+ some thinking that occurred, left here)

Luptons writing s about the body and the way the body is understood and observed and what kind of significations it arouses in our society nowadays and how the approach to it has changed during the history connects organically to my work as researching the presence of my own body and its performative elements in the spaces. Lupton writes about how the modern “self” is seen as highly autonomous and individual, in constant contradiction between communicating with the others and maintaining its individuality. According to Lupton the depiction between the self as inside and others as outside is very distinctive for our modern relation to embodiment. Very interesting factor also is the claim that in the past before the body relation produced partly by enlightment the concept of “feelings” has been quite different and the distinction between actions and feelings has not been so strict. Feelings and emotions in general has been seen much more as physical bodily things not something concerning ones individual inside “self”. It’s also very interesting notion that seventeeth century Christian development in the western countries highlighted the the regulation of the self, bodily actions and expression of emotions. And in the cultural level people started to valuate themselves and make distinctions between the quality of the self regulation and the manner of controlling oneself. And this of course became the instrument of distinguishing separation between social and cultural classes. The idea of self control is a big factor when dealing with the idea of performing one self. In a way I find it interesting that there is a certain contradiction with this when being highly self-conscious and intentionally regulating ones expression and bodily actions in front of others at the same time creates a performative element in the persons behaviour, it also at the same time conceals and distracts the expression of something that could be considered as the actual “self” of the individual. This makes me think whether the concept of self (if it even exists) is being presented or represented more in the highly self-regulated actions or in the not regulated non self-conscious being? I s the individual self after all just an idea that we project to our selves while deliberately performing to others, to the assumed audience or even to our selves? Is the “self” just a performance? And is this performance also, as I presume Baudrillard might assume just an simulation performed in order to hide the fact that there is no actual individual self that could be extracted from the others, from the the outside, that there is no inside no autonomous being that could be separated from the mere organic materiality? So if I would come to the conclusion that this is the case, what would happen to the sentence “Performing yourself”? If the self in this context is nothing but a performance itself an simulation, the act of performing one self would become a kind of double performance. This reminds me of the Baudrillards idea of hyperreality, the state when objects and the scene where we live stops referring to anything real but just to the themselves or to the imitations of real, the endless net of communication representations. In a same way I feel at times that the act of producing a piece of (especially video) art is no longer an act of actually producing something that presents something. It is not making an object that works as a signifier, or that has a methaphoric element in it. No. The act itself is the signifier, it is the quality and manner of simulation, the imitation of something being considered as the act of producing art that is observed.


And when assuming that this is the case, how it relates to the factor that O’Dell mentions when she writes about the identification and Lacans idea about the mirror state? Mirror state meaning when a child at first time perceives its own image via mirror and identificates to it and how the self in a way splits in that state. And to the idea that when viewing a performance the viewer identificates to the physical body of the performer and how this is seen as a “too early” identification since the identification directs only to nothing but the “sack of skin”. So when assuming that the self is nothing but an performance itself and there is no inside to be perceived then what else the is to identificate whit but the sack of skin? As O’Dell writes about the work of …… where he deliberately plays with the element of identification by splitting the viewing of the person in to videoimage, mirror and the actual physical person, it makes me ask a question whether it actually has anything to do with the identification or the representation of something that we want to see as an individual or is it more about revealing the fact that there is nothing else than the image?


And as mentioned how feelings and emotions where not so much separated from actions in the past, doesn’t this raise a question about the relation between the self and the actions? Is there a distinction between something called the inner self and the action this assumed individual physically performes? Are the actions always a physical implementations of the self a representations of the attributes of the self, or can the self and the actions be separated from eachoter? Or is it the case that the self emerges in the actions, that before the action there is no self that the action does not manifest the self but it creates the self and exists only within the action? And finally can we even presume that the self basically is just an imaginary idea, a dream projected to the physical body, that the actions performed by the body are in order to express the self of the individual person are just simulations of the idea of the self in action?

Lupton, Deborah. The Emotional Self a Sociocultural Exploration. London: SAGE, 1998. Print.


Eero Tarasti

Eero Tarasti’s concept existential semiotics reflects quite a bit the

ways I percept and construct meanings to the encountered aesthetic and other

phenomena. Especially Tarastis idea about transcendental signs that in a way does not yet signify anything concrete but in a way float into transcendence and are sort of becoming signifiers. I must admit that these theories also float a bit over my head but since I have been interested in them for a quite a long time and I’ve experienced that they have affected and developed my way of approaching different physical, aesthetic and auditive phenomena I feel that I just can’t discard them and leave them unturned. I think it mostly has something to do with the experience of some phenomena. That when precepting something that causes you the experience of signification, something that appears as a sign like agent but you yet cant define what it signifies. These kind of experience in my perspective are ones that I relate to the Tarasti’s ideas. That one have have experienced the signification of the the signifier but it has not been something that can be at least verbally defined, but transcendental one.

Tarasti, Eero. Existential Semiotics. Bloomington, [Indiana] ;: Indiana University Press, 2000. Print.


Salome Voegelin

As a big part of my thesis is my relationship to the sound and especially the sound

appearing in short fleeting moments. Many times my objection is to some how

depict the actualness and the significance of these these moments by creating

stagnant soundscapes from the material recorded in these situations. Voegelins

writings and ideas about the ways of listening and especially the idea of imaginary listening meaning that the listening is always an imaginary process, since the sound itself does not provide direct information about the sources physical attributes and so for the listener must in a way invent the source that its listening. These notions have have had a big influence on my research and the ways I approach to auditive phenomena.

Voegelin, Salomé. Listening to Noise and Silence : Towards a Philosophy of Sound Art. New York: Continuum, 2010. Print.


Roland Barthes                  

Barthes is in a way curiosity in my thesis text because I mostly sitate his single sentences or short musings from his book Barthes by Barthes. I find few of them very much reflecting the ideas and questions I circle around concerning the way we see or perceive ourselves and what is the relationship of our image of ourself and the captured imagery of ourselves. These texts relate highly also to the O’Dell’s texts about identifications through the body.

Barthes, Roland. Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes. New York: Hill and Wang, 1977.


Susan Bright

Susan Bright writes about the different aspects and modes of self portraiture in the photography art. Especially the examples of artists using performance in their self portraits creates many reflective surfaces to my work. The aspects of the relation between the significance of the process of making the image and the actual end result is something that is handles in these texts and that is also something that I am grasping in my work.  I do not yet have any specific to say about the text, but it has affected my approaches to my work and the way I understand and analyze the things I’m working on. And I will use it in the final text when I have had it better figured out.

Bright, Susan. Auto Focus : the Self-Portrait in Contemporary Photography. London: Thames & Hudson, 2010. Print.


Richard Schechner            

Schechner writes about the basics of the concept performance and performativity. He states how in a way performativity is seen to be correlating with the amount of self awareness. He also sites the Baudrillards ideas of simulation in an interesting manner. More about this subject later, when I have addressed this onwards.

Schechner, Richard, 1934-. (2002). Performance studies : an introduction. London ; New York :Routledge,


Thomas Hirchorn              

Hircshorn is for me just an interesting curiosity because of he’s ideas about the amount of material and the way the material is used. I like his statement that he doesn’t understand the concept “less is more”. As he states that the modern way of trying to present only so to speak the most important and most valuable parts and beautiful forms in a spacy white wall rooms is produces exhibitions and works that are more like design than art, exhibitions that look like art exhibitions. Also his way of using a litter like materials in a massive amounts in his installations interests me in the relation to the effect that the excessive quantity of images and objects in our current culture has in the way we percept art, culture and our surroundings, and also in the way we understand our relation to them.

Hirschhorn, Thomas. Critical Laboratory : The Writings of Thomas Hirschhorn, edited by Hal Foster, and Lisa Lee, MIT Press, 2013.



Some thinking that occurred while reading and comparing these thoughts:


If it seems to be that the human body has adopted different meanings and signification and it has become more and more private as coming to our days it seems quitorganically

logical that we have at the same time become more aware of the way we exist in the space with our bodies especially amongst other individuals. And if the amount of self awareness correlates to the amount of performativity as Schecchner states or the a performance like behaviour while doing things. As we concentrate in the way we look and act while doing our things such as work etc. we cant help but to be aware how we perform our selves. As Goffman talks about the the different kind “fronts” people have and the certain kind of manners of performing one self that are connected to the hierarchical systems and positions also makes it interesting how the social aspects of course affect the amount of performativity of our actions. As at the same time our life has become more and more abstract and the amount of other human beings around as daily has increased substantially, especially during the last hundred and fifty years it seems almost inevitable that our behaviour and the whole society becomes more and more performative and performance oriented.

Many professions are nowadays highly specialized to the narrow area of expertise and the actual objective of many jobs fleet towards abstractive significations. When the outcome of our jobs is not to be seen or touched before us, it could be that the aspect of performatitivity raises its significance in the manner the work is done.


Rena Tiwari states that “The construction and representation of space is influenced by the way the body is constructed and represented socially”. In the same way it seems that the architecture and design of the places where practical actions are meant to be done is affected by the idea and vision of how the body is being performed in the spaces in the contrary of the idea about the practical actions and procedures are to be done in there.


Ane Hjort Guttu dives in to this subject in her text End of The Art Education As We Know It and also in her movie that is the implementation of the same ideological phenomena where the modern art school buildings are turning in to some kind of representations of stages where the idea of innovative art school is presented to the outsiders, rather than the places that would serve the learning and development of the students.


Alan Brymans concept Disneyization handles the same issue of professions, places and institutions turning in to mear platforms of performance. This also relates to Baudrillards ideas of simulation, how many aspects in our society have become the simulations of the original ideas, and how we pretend to be living and doing certain things but in a fact we just perform simulations of these actions in order to hide the fact that we are not living and doing them.

As I am using the video as a main medium of my work I cant help but come across with the concept of television; the apparatus that has become one the biggest signifiers or the latter half of the twentieth century. TV defines so many aspects in our lives and affects multiple ways in the manner we live our daily lives and especially how we spend our so called pass time. What I find interesting is the way how television effects the way we organise our homes. Since the rise of living standards and the middle class in the western countries has introduced us the concept of “living room” I cant help but to grasp the very foundation of the meaning and the concept of the room meant for living. As ….. writes in his essay how tv is a piece of furniture at the same time it is a equipment, it is interesting how the whole idea of modern livingroom is constructed around the television. The couch is located right across the tv that is placed front of the wall and between them there is a empty space or small table. We supposed to “live” by passively perceiving the performance portraited to us via and by this apparatus called television.

In Finland there is this genious tv series called Sohvaperunat translated in English as Couch potatoes. It shows people in their living rooms while whatching certain tv shows. What is interesting here is that the act of watching the tv is presented as a performative act.




How children adobt the issues, problems and goals from tv-shows and start to simulate the same kind of behaviour (Graham 169) States it   Constant interaction and communication has according to Baudrillard changed our perceptions of private and public space and made our lives transparent and constantly observed…    This all leads in to the kind of state where the whole life and actions of living become a certain kind of simulation, the performance played out to the presumed fictional audience or observators. As a student tells in Guttu’s text how the space of total transparency produces the feeling of being constantly observed and how this affects the behaviour of the student in a way that she starts to act out her work. Trying to look busy and a hard working person, trying think what should she look like when doing her work instead of concentrating to actual purpose of her work and its objectives.  (Guttu, 2021)

Baudrillard uses the term hyperreality when he writes about the way the acted out reality is projected in to the reality and how this creates a void where there is now more boundary between the reality and non-reality, and the private and public, no secret, nothing to hide, nothing to show (Baudrillard p.128, 200..)


And this all leads to the point where the representation in itself does not actually exist anymore. As Baudrillard states how this obsenety caused by the constant visibility and communication and the distant controlling dissolves the symbolic value of the objects in the actual scene where the subject operates and how the real becomes the simulation of it self, there will be no more the representation de facto. As we think we are observing the for example the image or a video of a person we think we are precepting a representation of different cultural, political, gender and what not issues but not, not anymore, as the hyperreal obscenity (Baudrillard perhaps would call it) has removed the symbolic status from the actual objects and subjects as well the image we percept is in a fact just an acted out performance of the representation, not the actual representation it self. It is merely a simulation of representation, it stands on nothing without the communication and thevalue and the analysis of the purpose and the function of the procedure where the image was produced. communication value and the analysis of the purpose and the function of the procedure where the image was produced. In a way when showing the image or the video, we do not show the actual material, the objects.