Featuring: Maija Hirvanen, Satu Herrala and Miikka Tuominen (Finland)

If Rainis was dreaming of a society with ‘social democratic bodies’, Finnish artist Maija Hirvanen actually grew up in one. A popular adage in Soviet Latvia went that Scandinavia was where ‘the real socialism’ could be found; now that, too, has experienced an economic and psychological decline. The dream of a modern ‘we-identity’ is currently undergoing a crisis.

Our Social Democratic Bodies is the first part of Maija Hirvanen’s trilogy Operation We. The piece draws from the working groups personal and collective experiences of how ideologies impact the body at the time when one is growing up. Hirvanen and her collaborators were growing up in Finland in the 1980’s. They identify generation experiences connected to, for instance, gendern eutrality, consensus seeking and general ideals of equality. From these notions, Our social democratic bodies looks at how ideology could be approached choreographically and in a performative manner. Maija Hirvanen mounts her contemporary dance and text-based performances with the Friends of Physical Contemporary Art collective.

The piece asks, what is ‘we’ in the current times? Which ‘us’ does this ‘we’ refer to? The different work names of the episodes of the piece include Dancing the War AwayMy First Marimekko, Right to Care, More Coffee? and The Most Beautiful Hymns.

Hirvanen holds an MA degree from the University of Art and Design Helsinki. She is a choreographer for the Zodiak centre for contemporary dance in Helsinki.