a new performance project by Every house has a door
in collaboration with Essi Kausalainen
We began work on our new performance collaboration with Helsinki’s Essi Kausalainen during a residency at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation’s estate on Captiva Island, FL in November and December 2016. With Lin Hixson directing, and Mathew Goulish and Essi performing as well as contributing writing, choreography, costumes, and video, the work proceeds from common interests in inter-species communication (human, plant, animal). Essi wrote, “My ten-year artistic collaboration with plants has redefined my relationship with artistic ‘materials,’ my own body and those of others. I have learned to see myself as a community, an open process that is constantly taking place relative to another.” Essi’s choreographic poetry and humor provides a starting point for a circuit of research, language, and gesture, with snail-derived choreography derived from snail behavior and text extracted from the deleted dance of the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.
This project furthers our investigation into post-human themes and their direct translation into performance; that is, human collaborations (potential and actual) with plants and animals. Caroline Picard’s curation at Chicago’s Sector 2337 first united the work of Every house and Essi Kausalainen under these ideas in the exhibition Imperceptibly and Slowly Opening (2016). Current philosophy dialogues rethink the human place in the world, and these questions have found their way into contemporary art. We want to afford our company and audiences more direct engagement with these themes, and the interface between the human and other life forms. The scarecrow of our title presented itself in the writing of contemporary American philosopher Alva Noë who proposed this human replica as a humble form of inter-species communication.