Show Your Sisu
A Talent Show Parody
Baltic Circle International Theatre Festival
by Aura Seikkula and DASHnDEM

Show Your Sisu looks into the development of the notion of sisu from its initial delineation of an eternal struggle between fate and character, and of bravery and perseverance to more elaborate, individual understandings of stamina and fortitude as well as their relation to the Finnish national characteristics and even neo-nationalistic efforts. Show Your Sisu considers the circumstances behind sisu and how the notion is still considered as a focal, unifying impetus behind Finnish nation building endeavors. Show Your Sisu distinguishes metanarratives and individual narratives in order to look into their interrelations and so considers the importance of any narrative structure as an establishing effort.

Show Your Sisu offers and enables various participatory experiences in the attempts to consider the ever-evolving media structures and the commercialization of democratic values.

Curatorial Statement

To consider any national characteristics during a time when all meaning is individual is a challenge that led me to invite Dash Macdonald and Demitrios Kargotis to Finland for a research residency in 2010. We shared a concern to address the ongoing global crisis, precipitated by the reign of neoliberal reforms, which in our western societies include the growing commercialization of everyday life, the dismantling of the welfare state, the restricting of public space, and the increasing privatization of the public sphere.

Intrigued by the construction of history we considered few of the central convictions in the Finnish nation building efforts, including what then became the subject of our collaboration: Sisu and what it designates and represents in contemporary Finnish culture. The project will employ various media platforms. With the invitation Show Your Sisu we focus on the participatory media structures to reach a variety of audiences. In order to respond to the privatization and commercialization of all initiatives, whose authority is obtained from public interest, the project offers people a possibility to share their ideas and attention to such national definitions. Thus, the process is scripted but what remains to be explored with the audiences and participants is the actual definition of contemporary Sisu.