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Alpo Aaltokoski Company produced Faux in cooperation with Aalto University’s media factory and the medical rehabilitation company Suomen Ortotiikka & Protetiikka. Making the dance work in a cooperative way made it possible to experiment with costume design and take time to research it. The costume design of Faux moves from everyday realism to surrealism and playfully it looks for new dimensions to being human.
This is the first time that choreographer Alpo Aaltokoski is participating as a dancer in his own group choreography.
Choreography: Alpo Aaltokoski
Dance: Alpo Aaltokoski, Leo Kirjonen, Jouni Majaniemi, Tuovi Rantanen, Esete Sutinen,
Costume and set design: Laura Haapakangas
Assistants to costume designer: Roosa Marttiini, Timo Varamäki
Realization of artificial parts: Markku Salminen, Aki Aalto, Aleksi Aalto, Ville Saari
Sound design and composition: Timo Muurinen
Assistant to sound designer: Aki Päivärinne
Electronics for costumes: Timo Muurinen, Aki Päivärinne
Light design: Ville Mäkelä
Photography: Sanna Käsmä
Music: Angus MacLise, Tony Conrad and John Cale – Trance #2 / Mascani: Intermezzo (unknown) / Gil Gul: The Cracow kletzmer band /
Other music: Timo Muurinen, violin Sanna Salmenkallio
In cooperation with: Aalto University Media Factory, Suomen Ortotiikka & Protetiikka Oy
Premiere: April 11th 2013, Studionäyttämö, Media Centre Lume, Helsinki
Duration: 1 h 10 min, no interval
Established Finnish choreographer Alpo Aaltokoski’s new piece Faux remains subtly open, whether it is about a utopia or dystopia. Nevertheless, it’s about the encountering of human and technology.
Chills raising beginning becomes a nightmare. Shiny-eyed cyborgs scud on the dark scene. As the lights rise, round-headed creatures whose personalities have been dissolved are revealed. Only the over-stylised black outfits have some gender features.
In the middle of the presentation in an episodic duet woman’s and a man’s limb prostheses seemed to have gone wrong. Some laughs arose from the audience but I saw the scene in its horror as cruel and beautiful. Especially thanks to the Cavalleria Rusticana’s scratchy Intermezzo in the background.
Faux is very impressive work thanks to its strong visuality. In addition to the costumes, Ville Mäkelä’s wandering houses bring ruggedness to the overall look. H.R. Giger meets Hieronymus Bosch in the artificial body parts.
Choreographer has created a compromise in the movement of the half-human and half-machine: there is angularity, but also a human softness. No obvious breakin’ electric boogie. Only Aaltokoski himself dancing astonishingly stunning final figure is a man surrendered completely to the machine’s domination.
Faux includes fine points and dense ambiance, such as the slowly progressing group scene in the end. The piece is three separate works. What might be its final message? Perhaps the work does not take a position, but is rather a series of clinical trials?
Vision of the future in Aaltokoski‘s three-piece work Faux at the Media Centre Lume is at once mesmerizing and creepy. Association of machines and humans is in the highly finished black visuality ruggedly beautiful, but at the same time in its mechanically repetitive movements and asexual insensitivity known from the science fiction movies almost unapproachable.
Although the first part’s helmets flashing lights, opening and closing face masks, light beams sweeping the stage, as well as the big black lattice screens dividing the stage space, between which cyborgs weave in different black outfits, are all spectacular to watch, I find myself wondering why all future visions are always dark. Does not sci-fi world have any colours or are they not needed?
The second part’s duet’s colour world continues the same black colour world but it also introduces emotions, softness and sensitivity. If in the first part the dancers could just as well have been completely machines, now Leo Kirjonen and Heidi Suur-Hamari with their oversized body components are clearly people. It can already be seen in their clothing that does not cover everything and human skin is visible.
The straight line, machine-like motion language also softens and rounds. The creatures are clearly looking for a contact with each other, at first groping, then with more determination finally ending up in a collective angular tango as scratchy pigeon recording plays Cavalleria Rusticana’s Intermezzo in the background.
I felt that the third part of the work was a return to the beginning but now without the protecting and covering artificial parts. The movement language partly repeated the first part’s choreography but in an extreme slow motion and softened way. Is this what modern man’s life looks like compared to the machine’s speed and rhythm in the future? Or is the union of man and machine something altogether different, such as Aaltokoski himself suggests in the final image.
Faux as a whole is a very aesthetic work. The clothing and other technology, which is realised in cooperation with the Aalto University’s Media Factory and Orthotics & Prosthetics Finland Oy, has certainly a lot of technical and technological refinements that an ordinary viewer might not even be expected to be aware of or understand. In addition to Laura Haapakangas’s costumes, this aspect comes visible also in Timo Muurinen’s sound world in which extremely low sound waves vibrate the audience floor.
Faux is an illusion of future that awakens thoughts but remains distant in its own universe. It makes one think about many possibilities of technology but does not necessarily inspire to get involved with it.
Premiere: 11 April 2013, Media Centre Lume, Helsinki
11-21 April 2013, Media Centre Lume, Helsinki