Photo: Vilja Pursiainen

Doctoral research expands into the non-human

Friday, May 26, 2017 - 12:00
Theatre Academy, Auditorio 1

What is the significance of performance art, and what possibilities does it offer in this era of ecological crisis? What does expanding the functionality of performance and the social sphere beyond mankind mean for the performance and its subjectivity? In her doctoral research, Tuija Kokkonen investigates our relationship to the non-human through a performance event. Our deficient ability to understand the long-term consequences of our actions has led to a new era where the impact of human activity has the same effect on Earth as a geological event. Kokkonen studies how a performance may expand the time perspective and experience of duration through non-human actors and their durations.

The basis for the doctoral research is the performance series Muistioita ajasta – esityksiä ei-ihmisten kanssa ja ei-ihmisille (2006–) (Memos on time – performances with non-humans and for non-humans), in which Kokkonen has worked with animals, plants and weather in creating a practice and theory for inter-species performance. Kokkonen presents an idea of weak (human) activity enabling the activity of non-humans and redefining the authorship, performativity and spectatorship of a performance. The performance is processed as a gathering of species, in which the interaction of weak actors and non-human actors as well as the ethics of hospitality create a new kind of polis.

Tuija Kokkonen is a performance artist, researcher and teacher. Since 1996 she has been creating memo performance series that investigate relations of place-specific “nature”, environment and time from which questions of performance and ecology spring. She is active within ecological and post-human performance research and art both in Finland and abroad.


MA Tuija Kokkonen’s doctoral research Esityksen mahdollinen luonto – suhde ei-inhimilliseen esitystapahtumassa keston ja potentiaalisuuden näkökulmasta will be presented for public examination (in Finnish) on Friday, May 26th 2017 at 12 o’clock at the Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki (Auditorium 1, Haapaniemenkatu 6, Helsinki, Finland).

Opponents: Professor, Ph.D. Hanna Johansson (University of the Arts, Academy of Fine Arts) and Professor, DA Harri Laakso (Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture). Custos/Monitor of the examination is Professor in Artistic Research Leena Rouhiainen.

The doctoral research will be displayed 10 days prior to the public examination at the Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki’s library. The doctoral research is published in the Theatre Academy’s Acta Scenica series. Copies of the book can be bought from the Theatre Academy’s Library on the day of the public examination. One may also order a copy of the book from A pdf version is available at