Reality Research Center, founded in 2001, is a collective of artists engaged in performative adventures. Our shared aspiration is to observe, question, and renew reality by creating performances.
Our vision: Art will change reality
Performances are both the instrument and the fruit of our research; every year we produce several projects that expand and break not only the prevailing concept of reality, but also the borders and definitions of performative art. Most of our performances take place outside of traditional art spaces: in the woods, in offices, on the street, in boxing rings, in virtual reality, in parliament, or in homes. Exceptional circumstances require exceptional care for the spectator – over the years we have become specialists in audience development. The spectators and their experiences are the focal point of our interest. That is why we often replace the word spectator with experiencer, participant, or even author.
Performance and live art is related to the general performative turn in society.
In the 21st century, Finland has seen the emergence of performance and live art (FI: esitystaide), an art form located somewhere between theatre, performance art, and contemporary dance. Performance and live art is related to the general performative turn in society – nowadays performativity is of interest not only to artists but also to event producers, consultants, teachers, digital service developers, health care professionals, and the game and advertisement industries, among others.
During the past 18 years, Reality Research Center has been establishing the position of performance and live art on the Finnish cultural landscape, and has carried out more than 100 performance projects. In addition we have organized workshops, seminars, events, and disturbances; our creations include a pedagogical method, a mystery school, a prison residency, art larcenies, and urban rituals. We have participated in long-term international projects and our performances tour abroad regularly. Esitys magazine (2007–2017) started our publishing activities. Since then we have released several books as well. The newcomer in our family of publications is the online magazine Ice Hole – the Live Art Journal.
So, Reality Research Center is not a theatre, even though many of our members have a background in that field, and some of our work falls within the borders of contemporary theatre. We are a crew of disagreeing performing arts professionals – directors, actors, choreographs, lighting designers, musicians, game designers, ritual artists, cultural pedagogues. Reality Research Center is not a secret society, either. Every autumn anybody interested in the artistic research of reality can apply as a member. At the moment we are a group of 40. In addition to our members, 15–50 visiting artists or scholars take part in our productions yearly.
Our mission is to foresee the future and go where nobody else has gone before.
Our mission is to foresee the future and go where nobody else has gone before. For 18 years Reality Research Center has stayed two steps ahead of others. That’s why our performances may seem strange and we might stay below the popular radar. But, when a certain performative approach becomes a trend, it is probable that some of us have already experimented with it. We are contemporary explorers and the outpost of the future; the avant-garde of the Finnish performative arts. In practice this means:
- Testing boundaries; perpetual pondering on what performance and performer could be.
- Creating and developing new art forms.
- Incessant questioning of what the nature of reality is. Our aim is to get everyone into questioning what reality is and what it should be.
Artistic director, Main & Off programs
For 2018 to 2020, Janne Saarakkala, one of the charter members, was chosen as the Artistic Director of Reality Research Center. During these years collective’s productions are divided in 1.) Main Program chosen by Saarakkala and 2.) Informal Off Program.
Administrative board 2019
Maria Oiva (chairperson), Talvikki Eerola, Titta Halinen and Janne Pellinen
Aittamaa Essi (producer) / Condit Outi (actor, performance artist) Eerola Talvikki (drama instructor, performance artist) / Elo Julius (director, performance artist) / Haataja Henri (producer) / Halinen Titta (dramaturg) / Hammarberg Johanna (artist) / Hannula Saara (performance maker and researcher) / Hosiasluoma Niina (actor) / Härkönen Ville (actor) / Häkkinen Anna Maria (dance artist, choreograph) / Johnsson Jussi (actor) / Jussilainen Anna (dance artist, teacher and cultural scholar) / Kalenius Lea (poet and adult educator) / Katriina Kettunen (journalist, MA student of live art & theory) / Kontula Lauri (actor) / Koskinen Pekko (game designer) / Laitinen Tuomas (director, performance artist) / Lappi Ari-Pekka (reality game designer, solution architect) / Lindstedt Iida-Maaria (actor) / Luukka Louna-Tuuli (drama instructor) / Mertanen Minja (dance artist) / Mäkelä Pasi (butodancer, musician) / Mustonen Maija (dance artist) / Neves Joel (director) / Numminen Katariina (director, dramaturg) / Nuutinen Maria (performance artist, environmental scholar) / Oiva Maria (director, performance artist) / Partanen Jarkko (choreograph, dance artist) / Pellinen Janne (performance artist, lawyer) / Pitkänen Pekka (light designer) / Porkola Pilvi (director, performance artist) / Priha Linda (dance artist) / Saarakkala Janne (director) / Salminen Jussi (live artist) / Santavuori Maria (performer, pedagog and trainer in music and performing arts) / Santavuori Risto (cultural pedagog) / Silvennoinen Tommi (director) / Taipale Petri (director, performance artist) / Torvinen Timo (actor, drama instructor, theater technician) / Tuomisto Tuire (actor) / Van Den Berg Kolina (actor) / Vuori Eero-Tapio (director, ritual artist) / Wikström Jonna (performance artist, drama instructor)
Office & productions
Tel. + 358 400 641 989
Kaasutehtaankatu 1/33, FI 00540 Helsinki
Helsinki, Suvilahti, Puhdistamo, building 6, 2nd floor
(Kaasutehtaankatu 1/33, FI 00540 Helsinki)