Dana Michel (CA) 2019
An amalgam of intuitive improvisation, choreography, and performance art, Dana Michel’s artistic practice is rooted in exploring the multiplicity of identity. Michel works with notions of performative alchemy and lucid dreaming – using personal history, current preoccupations, and future desires to create an empathetic centrifuge of live moments between herself and witnesses.Today, her work can be described by some of its influences and inhabitations: sculpture, cinematography, comedy, hip-hop, psychology, dub, and social commentary.
In research, Michel alternates between the work that takes place in and out of the studio. After pouring over a subject via writing, reading, video, and discussion she relaxes her focus and let the body take over. “I feed myself with sound, silence, and dissonance – at times over-stuffing my body and psyche with stimulation to encounter its response. Then, minute details pop into my kinetic vision. They manifest movements, resonations, colours, textures, and certain experiences of light. These details clarify the trajectory of the work.”
“Using difficulty as a navigational methodology comes naturally and coerces my performances into places of emergency and vulnerability. This is where I am able to listen at closest range, and to share with the least hesitation. Thinking about beings as mathematical proofs or portals, made up of billions of possibilities, deepens this listening.“
Sonya Lindfors (FI) 2018
Sonya Lindfors is a Helsinki based Finnish artist who works with choreography, facilitating, community organizing and education. She is the founding member and Artistic Director of UrbanApa, an inter-disciplinary and counter hegemonic arts community that offers a platform for new discourses and feminist art practices.
In her work, Lindfors deals with issues of power, structures, representation and othering. Her recent series of stage works; NOIR? (2013), NOBLE SAVAGE (2016) and COSMIC LATTE (2018), centralizes questions around blackness, black body politics, race and representation.
Lindfors is interested in creating and facilitating anti-racist and feminist platforms, where a festival, performance, publication or workshop can operate as the site of radical collective dreaming.
In 2013, UrbanApa community received the State Award of performing art. In 2017, Lindfors received the artist of the year – award from the Helsinki municipality as well as Theatre Info Finland’s award for ”outstanding work on creating new discourse around blackness and otherness”. During the season 2017-2018, Lindfors is the house choreographer of Zodiak – Center for New Dance in Helsinki.
Tania El Khoury (LB) 2017
Tania El Khoury is a feminist Arab live artist based in London and Beirut, whose work aims at engaging with the politics of space, the ethics of the encounter with audience, and the writing of history from below.
Tania’s work has been shown across five continents, in spaces ranging from museums to cable cars. She has been nominated for a number of prizes and is the recipient of the Total Theatre Innovation and the Arches Brick awards.
Tania is currently working on a practice-based PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research and publications focus on interactive Live Art after the Arab uprisings. Tania is associated with Forest Fringe and is co-founder of Dictaphone Group, an urban research and site-specific performance collective in her native Beirut.
Terike Haapoja (FI) 2016
Terike Haapoja is a Finnish visual artist based New York. Haapoja’s political interventions, large scale installation work and writing investigate the mechanics of othering with a specific focus on issues arising from the anthropocentric world view of western modernism.
Haapoja’s utopian societal institutions, such as Party of Others (2011–) or the collaboration with writer Laura Gustafsson, History of Others (2012 – ongoing), activate the world around them, bringing structures of exclusion and inclusion into light. In recent projects Haapoja has approached law as a performative space where reality is constructed.
WILLOH S. WEILAND (AU) 2015
In the year 2015 the Prize was won by Willoh S. Weiland. Weiland is an artist, writer and curator and the Artistic Director of Aphids. The Australian artist and her working group returned to Kuopio to work on Artefact that premiered in Kuopio on Friday 28th October 2016.
Her recent trilogy of live works Forever Now, Void Love and Yelling at Stars (2008-2015) explores the relationship between art and infinity.
Often working collaboratively with non-artists Weiland is interested in creating impossible propositions and fulfilling them. Since 2011, Aphids (with Artistic Associates Liz Dunn, Tristan Meecham, Lara Thoms, Martyn Coutts and Thea Baumman) has presented works at most major Australian venues and festivals. Weiland has also made work for the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, the Next Wave Festival, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and the Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow.
Cassils (CA/US) 2014
The Canadian, US based Cassils is an artist who uses the physical body as sculptural mass with which to rupture societal norms. Implementing rigorous physical training practices and queering their knowledge of kinesiology and sports science, they formally manipulate the body into shapes that defy expectations.
Bashing through the binaries and the notion that in order to be officially transgendered you have to have surgery or take hormones, Cassils performs trans not as something about a crossing from one sex to another, but rather as a continual becoming, a process oriented way of being that works in a space of indeterminacy, spasm and slipperiness.
Forging a series powerfully trained bodies for different performative and formal purposes, it is with sweat, blood and sinew that they construct a visual critique and discourse around physical and gender ideologies and histories. Drawing on conceptualism, feminism, body art, gay male aesthetics, and Hollywood cinema, Cassils creates a visual language that is at once emotionally striking and conceptually incisive.
Drawing on conceptualism, feminism, body art, gay male aesthetics, and Hollywood cinema, Cassils creates a visual language that is at once emotionally striking and conceptually incisive.