Baltic Circle: All-inclusive

19 minutes per room. 3 rooms per hour. 6 hours per day. 1 soap. 1 all over shampoo. 1 conditioner. 1 body lotion. Even distances between the bottles. The placement of the bottles corresponds to the order of their use. 2 bathroom glasses in the corner. 2 toilet paper rolls. 2 big towels on the shelf above the shower. “Water…water…water…everywhere”-sign hangs on it. Even folds on the shower curtain. 2 hand towels folded in a perfect square. Perfect triangle out of a tissue box. 1 foot towel rolled up on the toilet sink and put in straight diagonal. No folds on the sheets on the bed’s visible side. The edges of the coffee table correspond to the pink stripes on the sofa. 5 plain hangers and 5 hangers with the clips in the wardrobe. “Feed Your Soul” –sign on the pillow in the middle. “Please Do not Disturb” – sign on the hooker by the entrance door.

I start writing my review on Heine Avdal’s and Yukiko Shinozaki’s Field of Works – Hotel one day before I actually see the performance itself. During 3 years of studying dance I was working in the housekeeping department of one hotel in Helsinki. I do not work there anymore but I see any hotel room through housekeeping lens. After staying in any hotel room I leave the things the way that it would be easier for housekeeper to clean. I got interested in Field of Works – Hotel performance to see hotel’s life through others’ lens, more than that, others’ artistic lens.

It was scary! It was very scary! Horror movie in 3D though there was no horror meant. Becoming a hostage of own imagination affected through all the sense organs. Overlapping realities. Trying hard to keep pictures happening in the mind distant from real environment.

I’m seeing the performance…I’m seeing the performance after all…I had a ticket for it.

The real environment was room 315 on the second floor of Arthur Hotel, Helsinki. At the entrance you get a room key with a crack on its trinket and all by yourself go to the room. You open the door and see nobody there, not in the bathroom either.

This is not the room from the picture in the performance program.

Room does not look used but not neat either.

There are no perfect squares or triangles, not even folds or straight diagonals.

The plasma TV greets you: “Dear, Maria, welcome…”

You are asked to say your name once you show the ticket at the entrance.

It all goes in a well-worked way that we love so much about service sector: calm nice music coming from the screen with pictures of Helsinki sights and abstract words, such as we are engaged, whenever, however, communicating to you that you are appreciated by this hotel. Why not to take shoes off and get on the bed? The warm greeting changes into the video with a customer arriving into this real room 315. Straight away there comes a feeling of being watched.

Heine Avdal & Yukiko Shinozaki: Field Works Hotel, photo: Brynjar Bandlien

This is the man from the picture in the performance program wearing a grey suit and having a suitcase.

He examines the minibar and gets a drink. He hangs his jacket to the wardrobe. He gets something out of his suitcase and puts it under the bedspread. He looks behind the window curtain. Small temptation comes to copy all his actions. Reluctance to be predictable resists.

I am watched.

He sits on the armchair by the coffee table and starts turning over some cards. Camera angle of view changes and catches the words on the cards at a close distance – words obviously from TV-greeting we are engaged, whenever, however…He goes to the bathroom. There is a gurgle sound coming from the bathroom wall by my side. He comes back to the room in his underwear and a towel on the shoulders. He makes himself comfortable in the armchair and starts watching TV.

I can’t see man’s face. I wouldn’t recognize this man anywhere else outside this room.

He is dressed in his trousers and white shirt again. He switches on the lamp and the same lamp goes on in my real room 315. Different sounds fulfill the room around. It’s me on the screen on the bed sitting in the same position. It’s me on the bed lying in the same position. I turn my head and find a hole in the picture above the bed.

I knew I was watched.

There comes a slide show on the screen. He appears here and there: by the curtain, on the bed, on the floor, again on the bed together with me. He crawls under the bed. He crawls out of it

Is he under this bed? Is he in that wardrobe? He can’t be in the bathroom; I checked it when I came.

The sounds intensify. I put my shoes on and get to the sofa. This looks the safest place in the room. I don’t watch the video anymore. I feel like leaving this room before it all comes to the end. The sounds are all around.

I’m seeing the performance…I’m seeing the performance after all…I had a ticket for it.

I change my focus on the wine glasses on the coffee table. There are tiny figurines of a wedding couple under the glasses. I make myself busy with looking at them. I make myself busy with real things.

He is going to show up out of the wardrobe.

All the sounds come down. The lamp goes off. I dare to have a look on the screen. The man waves me. He takes his jacket out of the wardrobe and the suitcase and leaves. The screen thanks me for staying here. I take the key and get out of the room. Fast and without any hesitation. The man in a grey suit with a suitcase is walking in the other end of the corridor. I see his back only.

This is a big relieve. The man was not under the bed, he wasn’t in the wardrobe either. I feel like coming up with him and tell him about my fears in that room. That we could laugh together. I feel like telling him about my housekeeping-lens, my field of work in the hotel.

The man turns towards the elevators and disappears. I hear the click.

I was seeing the performance, I was experiencing the performance, I was part of the performance. I had all-inclusive ticket for it… Was I performing there after all?  

Maria Prokhorova
Dancer, who tries out different ways of viewing and reviewing dance


Heine Avdal & Yukiko ShinozakiField Works Hotel
Concept and Direction: Heine Avdal, Yukiko Shinozaki
Performed and Created by: Heine Avdal,  Fabrice Moinet
Sound design and electronics: Fabrice Moinet

Read also what Sarah Ibrahim and Viola Karungi write about their experiences of Field Works – Hotel.