Writer: Emma Heinonen

“It has elements of virtuosity and sensitivity. As a spectator, you will see the dancers at work and get to witness it. In a way, it’s like watching someone paint a wall.”

ALDA is a dance installation that can be experienced in Tampere Finlayson area in August. The work is a combination of visual and dance art, where the viewer can freely walk in a space filled with colorful fabrics, observing the dancers from near or far, fully immerse themselves in the soundscape formed by human voices, and touch and look at fabrics hanging from the ceiling of different colors and materials.

Choreographer Katrín Gunnarsdóttir says that she got inspiration for the piece from traditional physical work performed by women, such as sewing, cleaning and taking care of children and family.

“I wanted to explore qualities that are usually overlooked, such as softness, silence and caring”, she explains.

The everyday routines traditionally carried out by women in societny, serve as the starting point and a sort of a movement catalog for the work. The piece is inspired by community spirit, repetition and it forms an immersive world that breathes feminine power.

Durational and longlasting piece travels to different places

Gunnarsdóttir is from Iceland, where ALDA originally began and where it was performed in 2022. The project has also been presented in Trondheim and now it visits Tampere as part of the program of OFF Tampere and Finlayson Art Area.

ALDA, in Icelandic refers to a wave, which reflects both the visual landscape of the work as well as the undulations of the project: its movement and shifting into different environments and communities. Gunnarsdóttir wants to work with local artists when bringing ALDA to different places.

“Perhaps in the next round of the project we will have an “army of care” as dancers!”

– Katrín Gunnarsdóttir

“We thought about how we could tour with the work without having to carry the entire work group with us and how we could better involve local communities. For example, in Trondheim we worked with mothers, and in Tampere the history of Finlayson’s old textile factory is brilliantly woven into the work.”

Dance artists from Pirkanmaa Dance Center Wilma Seppänen, Wilhelmina Ojanen and Essi Koivula and Tampere Conservatory student Julia Tamminen perform in the work. During the first performance week of the piece, there will also be a guest from Iceland, dance artist Védís Kjartansdóttir.

“It’s wonderful to have Védís with us! When she arrived, it was great how we got to know each other as if through the piece itself, dancing and singing. She is a good physical reminder that the work has a long history and we are part of the timeline,” Wilma Seppälä reflects.

“Perhaps in the next round of the project we will have an “army of care” as dancers!” Gunnarsdóttir smiles.

Away from the oppressed role of a dancer

The installation lasts five hours at a time, during which each dancer has a three-hour turn. The work, which is based on long duration, required a different way of working from the choreographer.

“For the piece, I did research on feminism and women’s communal physical work, and through that I wanted to make the piece comfortable for the dancers – so that they wouldn’t feel the structure was oppressive, but that they could own it,” she says.

In the piece, the dancers implement movement material as well as improvised scores. They have possibilities to make decisions within the work, and the choreographer’s instructions have been that, for example, you can sometimes step out of the work or take breaks.

“The performer has her own voice and is creative”, Gunnarsdóttir summarizes.

“As a performer, I take it (3 hours) as a sort of a long meditation. The audience can dive in and walk around, I don’t have to drag them along with me or force them to dance with me, I don’t have to act like an extra for the audience,” Wilma Seppälä explains.

The viewer chooses

The installation spreads across the large, open space of the Finlayson area, the Media 54 gallery. The viewers can decide for themselves when they arrive to the space and how long theys spend time there. It is also possible for the viewer to return to watch the work at another time.

“I’m asking people to slow down. Like looking at a landscape in nature, you don’t wait for something to happen to you, it’s up to you to find something there. If you wait a while, you might see, for example, ants moving when you look at the ground.”

According to Gunnarsdottir, in this way the work is closer to visual art, an installation. In the work, the viewer is active and it is up to them to decide how much they engage with the work.

“I’m asking people to slow down. Like looking at a landscape in nature, you don’t wait for something to happen to you, it’s up to you to find something there.”

Katrín Gunnarsdóttir

The work also differs from site-specific works, in which, according to Gunnarsdottiir, the viewer often expects something significant to happen.

“We have tried to move from the traditional dramaturgy to just being in the space.”

Depending on the time and day, viewers are likely to see a very different work.

“It’s like a fermentation, it’s constantly discovering new things and it can’t be fixed. It just has to be.”

ALDA can be seen at Media 54 gallery in the Finlayson area until 20th of August.

Opening times:

Wednesday-Sunday 16.–20.8. from 1 pm. to 6 pm. 

The total duration of the event is 5 hours. It is up to the spectator to decide how long they stay in the space. You can come to the event at any time during opening hours. Suitable for all ages. Admission to the exhibition is free.

More information about the work here.