Maarja Tõnisson & Alise Putniņa

Tectoning* (study no 2, 4, 7)


“So you jumped on a moving train without a ticket? What’s your destination?”

“I don’t know.”

The desire to escape from the crowd. Suddenly leaping on a moving train whose passengers are all one in their collective lack of identity, becoming one with the crowd. But then the unexpected happens. In a pivotal movement, the mass crumbles as the emergency brake is pulled, bringing the train to a halt and dislodging the human electrons from their set locations. We are left trembling, confused and discombobulated. Do we stick to the floor or try to haul our tired legs and escape across the fields, continuing the journey?

In a long sequence of wonderfully spectacular moments, Alise Putniņa and Maarja Tonisson’s bodies tremble, come together, split apart, and reconnect in an almost dreamlike moving image which they have titled Tectoning. The artists invented this term to refer to both – geology and tectonics as the art of structure – while neither of them carries a direct explanation of the work. Instead, it explores the body’s relationship to both sciences and beyond.

Catching each other, pushing up and down, struggling to retain their bodily integrity against some undisclosed collective pressures, their gestures ripple in space and time, as the camera looks straight ahead, the only witness to their emotive bond. The persistent ring of a nearby cell phone signals the end of the movement, pulling us out of this gravity-defying extended sequence. The artists exit the frame, leaving us unsure of the journey ahead.

* Tectoning is a new term that combines a movement practice and earth’s inner forces and motion known as tectonics.