The Mole, the Serpent, the Virus – Jon Irigoyen creates potential spaces for experiencing the world differently

Jon Irigoyen’s project premiers today on Kallio Stage. Set in a dystopic future of 2024, the installation-performance speculates about future scenarios and possible next stages of modern capitalism as accelerated by the COVID-19 outbreak. Motions of repetition and looping are explored as recurrent patterns pointing to questions about the construction of historical narratives and inner mechanics of global economic and social crises. Unfolding in three chapters, The Mole, the Serpent, the Virus considers imagined futures in an attempt at navigating through present challenging times.    

Photo: Inari Virmakoski

This performance is part of your Phd studies in Aalto. Could you tell us what is the aim of your research and what motivated you to do it?

I am interested in the intersection between body, movement and politics. Why do we move as we do? I am making this research in order to find potential new spaces for moving out of capitalist practices. My research explores topics within Social Choreography, a transdisciplinary field which in recent years has inspired professionals in different academic and artistic fields to consider the potential of choreography in new ways, beyond the establish sphere of dance. I am interested in applying choreography to investigate questions about bodily practices, politics and even landscapes of ecological crises. One of the key elements of my research, which is now kindly funded by a Kone Foundation, consists of experimental collaborative practices. So as part of my research methodology, earlier this year I created the Social Choreography Working Group Helsinki, which is open to everyone interested in exploring different aspects of movement and bodily practices. It is presented as part of the 2020 production program of Esitystaiteen Seura. The Social Choreography Working Group Helsinki is part of a network of similar initiatives (Social Choreography Lab at Duke University, the Institute of Social Choreography in Frankfurt). The Helsinki-based transdisciplinary working group is open to everyone interested in its events and workshops. 

What has been challenging in making the performance?

Even though I have worked artistically in large groups before, this is the first time I am collaborating with a working group of performing arts professionals. Working as a director has been both challenging and inspiring at the same time. Yes, I have worked with performance before, but always as an individual practice, one to one basis. In the past months, I have gotten to learn more about other performative practices such as lighting design. In a way, I am also choreographing in this performance, directing the movements of the performers. This process has been extremely interesting for me, at a personal level but also as an artistic researcher. 

Photo: Inari Virmakoski

What kind of new artistic discoveries have you made?

I am constantly experimenting and practicing new artistic formats. The process with The Mole, the Serpent, the Virus has allowed me to dig much further into the intersections between movement, text and body. Coming from the visual arts, I think the format of performance opens up potential for me to communicate with new audiences and explore topics in ways which were not quite possible for me before.

What kind of audience would you like to have for your art?

I am always hoping that my audience would not only consist of professionals in the arts. That is why I have made installations mainly in public space before. I want to question the world we are living in and offer new approaches to different aspects of life. I think art in all its expression should work as spaces for experimenting, something that is not at all encouraged or even possible in commercial contexts.


Photo: Inari Virmakoski

a project by Jon Irigoyen.

Thursday 15.10.2020 and Friday 16.10.2020 (The performances are fully booked)
Performances at 4pm and 6pm on both days.
Kallio Stage theatre. Pengerkatu 11, Helsinki 

Concept and direction by Jon Irigoyen. In collaboration with Gabriele Goria, Inari Virmakoski, Kristian Palmu, Joona Pettersson and Suvi Hänninen.