Yes, it is only 20 years ago that Oblivia started out in the Tram Museum in Helsinki, looking for alternative ways of making experimental art together. The world was a very different place then. The fear of the millennium bug looks like childs play compared to the massive manipulations by Cambridge Analytica and the likes in general elections across the world.
Today the world is on fire, climate change is a fact, disaster capitalism is unleashed and unscrupulous ultra right-wing leaders that are enjoying immense financial support are in power in all too many countries. All this is apt to paralyse and depress. Yet, at the same time, much is changing for the better, #me too empowered and unravelled everyday power-structures, new ways of thinking and being together is happening all the time. And artists across the world go on with their work, despite often asking ourselves whether it makes any sense to create art, to be the expert sensitive listeners of life that we are today. The answer is always: Yes it makes sense, because art is hope, art is togetherness and art grapple with and make sense of the world.
In order to celebrate Oblivia 20 years, we decided to create a platform for sharing thoughts on working together in Oblivia. It started with the idea of creating an Oblivia manual on collectivity in Oblivia and ended up becoming a blog. The themes of the blog are based on the chart (see picture under) where we distilled the main topics that are important for the work. The themes from the chart are processed in different formats: writings by Oblivians and guests, podcasts with guests, videos, and photos from the history of Oblivia in the Flashbacks section.
The process of the manual, aka the blog, started three years ago when we wanted to reflect on, articulate and open up what we actually do in Oblivia. We scheduled research on collectivity in Oblivia alongside the regular performance work in something that we called the Together project, where we talked, studied, read, wrote, filmed and planned.
Our sincere hope is that the monthly blog will open up the world of Oblivia of course, but also instigate discussions on how to be together in the world today, how to work together and about artistic strategies and choices.
As an inherent feature in projects like this: they keep changing shape, and they grow in unforseen directions, we look very much forward to the shape this monthly blog will take and welcome you on the journey. May the blog begin!