PIMIÖ IS A PERFORMANCE THAT RESPECTS THE MAGIC OF TRADITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY WITH WARMTH
Performed in Teatteri Union in Helsinki as a collaboration between Portmanteau and WHS, Pimiö is in many ways an exceptional performance in these days.For one, Pimiö doesn’t in its core focus on any contemporary social problem or trigger point. It isn’t even imposing itself in any way or attempting to deliberately seduce the spectator, but yet it captures our attention. Despite of it having a very peaceful pace. At times it’s on the verge of boring, but just then something happens on stage.
THE THEME OF PIMIÖ is traditional analogue photography and black and white photograph’s magical birth. The whole stage and audience area are actually one large and rather dark redtoned darkroom, in which we concretely see the developing of several large format photographs. And because the development and fixing of the image on the paper takes its own time in the different baths of liquids, the overall tempo of the performance is tied to that process.
It can even be said, that the main role in the performance is played by a large size camera obscura, which the photographer André Baumecker and the lighting designer Jere Mönkkönen manipulate. They also take care of developing and presenting the images in front of the audience. Both of them work in a very peaceful manner and they emit a sense of respect and valuing for traditional technique. Of course they are aware of being on stage, but it doesn’t disturb their activities.
The father of the performance’s concept, Luis Sartori do Vale of Portmanteau is in some sense tasked with being an assistant and an object. A small room setting has been created on one side of the stage, where tiny frozen moments of Sartori do Vale’s acting are the objects of photography. The content of the scenes repeats similarly, but little by little the room empties and the scenes get shorter, as the objects of shooting “disappear”.
Portmanteau and WHS both are by origin contemporary circus companies. In Pimiö they don’t exactly use circus techniques, unless we choose to name the disappearance of the photographed objects as such. On the other hand, the whole performance has a particular kind of circassian magic, through which the spectator gets to dive into the overa hundred years old photographic techniques and to see how the photographic oeuvre is created right in front of their eyes in collaboration of the paper, the chemicals and time.
Usually only the experiences of the audience and performers are left after a performance. After Pimiö we have also a bunch of large, exquisite photographic pieces, in which the performance’s warm, but simultaneously slightly mysterious atmosphere and its uniqueness are distilled.
Original article : Demokraatti