Monday, September 26, 2011


First off, I'd like to thank Suvi, since through her piece, I got to lock lips with two very handsome strangers. I hope I didn't give them my cold. Beginning her performance by kissing a member of the audience, Suvi requests that this kiss be passed around the room from person to person as she performs. Later this kiss circles back to me as a kiss on the hand. The whole piece dances around kissing and desire, its manifestation and construction in capital culture, in fairy tales, family, crime, psychology, and history, to name a few.

Projected large, oscillating pink lips glow seductively to a sexy downtempo beat. Presented before us are a set of four cots and a table with some apples and booze. Suvi begins to list a wide variety of kisses: the kiss of Saddam Hussein, the kiss of Liz Taylor, Charles Bronson, a tree, a mother, a schizophrenic. "You may kiss the bride now." In the meantime, pop images both holy and monstrous, as well as images of cash, mix with the pulsating video lips.

Suvi approaches the cots, where tucked underneath are three very different dolls: a CPR dummy, a blow-up doll, and a life-like children's doll. She begins to read out what sounds like crime reports, advertising jingles, historical accounts, news items: an encyclopedic barrage of fact and trivia. A doll was left in a high school washroom; a doll internalizes our conception of normality in sexuality, in ethnicity; the face of a doll taken from the image of a dead girl, drowned with no evidence of violence. With each doll, she reads out a prepared speech and then asks "Question. How does a little girl kiss her doll to say goodnight? How does a man kiss another man to save his life? Question. How is sex doll kissed?" Then, she proceeds to make out with the children's doll, perform CPR on the blow up doll, mix things up entirely.

Suvi tells us that in Finland, you are not allowed to bring alcohol into festivals. She shows us a way that people sneak it in. Removing a syringe that is strapped to her leg, she fills it up with hard liquor, and injects this into the apple. Taking a bite from the fruit, she gags, feigning the most painful of deaths. Casting about, she finally tumbles to the floor, awaiting a sweet prince to save her life and bring her out of slumber with a kiss.

- stacey ho

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