English / Finnish

  A dance performance directed by Teemu Mäki & Maija Nurmio


Language: Finnish, with English subtitles
Duration: 80 minutes.

“Sounds like my old refrigerator but helps me to contemplate about life and to sleep.”

(An anonymous comment on internet about Éliane Radigue's music.)

ÉLIANE is a dance piece based on composer Éliane Radigue's (b.1932) music and philosophy. The work is a joint effort of Teemu Mäki and Maija Nurmio. The dancers in it are Nurmio, Jonna Eiskonen and Maija Karhunen. Radigue's composition I’Île Re-sonante (2000) and Teemu Mäki's text All Is Music are heard in the performance.

Radigue is a pioneer of contemporary classical electronic music. She is also a Buddhist and while her music is not literally religious, it can be heard as a meditation on the main themes of certain types of Buddhist thinking: how to deal with suffering? How to accept and enjoy one's place in the cycle of life and death? How to learn to respect all beings and appreciate all modes of being?

The premiere of our dance piece was in Vaba Lava Theater, Tallinn, January 2019, and the Finnish premiere in Mad House Helsinki, right after that.

The first part of the performance is a 'collective monologue' or speaking choir, with video. It's a text written by Mäki, ALL IS MUSIC, performed by Henni Kiri, Teemu Mäki and Olivia Pohjola. The second part is a combination of dance and Radigue's music.

I’Île Re-sonante is a a composition that Radigue created in her studio with ARP 2500 synthesiser and a Serge Modulator. It's her last electronic work. She has then switched into composing only for acoustic instruments.






Text & video:






Kone Foundation
The Finnish Cultural Foundation
Arts Promotion Centre Finland / National Council for Performing Arts
Soome Instituut, TelepART for the Baltic Region


Premiere at Vaba Lava Tallinn 14.1.2020 (19:00)

another performance at Vaba Lava: 15.1.2020 (19:00)

Performances at Mad House Helsinki:
18.1.2020 (16:00)

22.1.2020 (18:00)

23.1.2020 (18:00)

25.1.2020 (14:00)


I enjoy her music and my experience is that it fits especially well with dancerly work
, because her music is so physical and slow. It doesn't turn the dancer into a marionette, but instead intensifies the bodily experience both in dancer and in the audience.

Probably most common first impression of her music is that "there is little going on" and it's static and resembles random noise. However, for a curious and attentive listener it sounds right away also exciting, because it's so multi-layered, i.e. consists of many overlapping sound events.

When the listener has the motivation to go deeper into this music, it will change the listener's experience of existence for the duration of the music and also afterwards. I think Radigue's music encourages us to listen so curiously and patiently that the diversity of the world, with its manifold nuances, really opens to us.

I'm interested in the philosophical and political potential of Radigue's music.
I think her music is politically & philosophically radical because of the following reasons.

Radigue's music can make us more alert, it can help us to sense and pay attention to the diversity and vibrancy of the world. Radigue's compositions are long and slow and may at first sound like mere random noise, but if the listener has patience and concentrates fully, it can be quite easy to find this music exciting and rich with nuance: "Sounds are miraculous, even every bit of noise has musical potential! Why didn't I notice this before?" By listening to Radigue's music the listener can learn to observe one's surroundings and oneself with greater sensitivity and appreciation not only during the listening session, but in life in general. If all goes well, this increase in our sensitivity and boost in "multisensory listening" also makes us more understanding and compassionate towards all beings.

If we through Radigue's music become more alert and sensitive, we will also be better able to resist the temptations of consumer culture. When we learn to better enjoy that which is — to enjoy existence as such — we don't have to run after every new product, entertainment, levels of wealth and power. From this viewpoint Radigue's music is the antithesis of consumer capitalism.

Radigue's music claims that happiness — or meaningful experience of existence — is first and foremost a matter of having the skill to experience the world as fascinating. It's a skill that requires a patient training of sensitivity and observation. This is a radical and — in my opinion — an anti-capitalist message. How so? Because capitalism, especially consumer capitalism, where the growth of production and consumption is an end in itself, offers us totally opposite route to happiness. Consumer capitalism postulates that happiness needs no training, that anybody can enjoy happiness if is able to buy the proper instruments of pleasure and the right kind of entertainment machines. The capitalist pleasure seekers gets bored with their toys quickly and thinks this boredom is a law of nature and a virtue too, because the constantly returning boredom keeps the wheels of economy rolling. Radigue's music encourages us to the opposite direction, to diligently train our sensitivity and ability to observe and enjoy.

The above doesn't mean that Radigue's music would postulate that human kind doesn't need anything else apart from the self-trained ability of how to experience the world as pleasurably diverse and full of nuances. Radigue's music doesn't directly tackle the world's injustices, the ecological catastrophe and other such concrete political problems of the world, but it does embody the kind of outlook to human existence and praises the kind of pleasures, which are in conflict with capitalistic ideologies. Radigue's music doesn't claim that the poor and could achieve good life by just learning to enjoy the wonderful multiplicity of existence. It's politically powerful music, because it embodies a way of being, where the comforts and spectacles of capitalism lose their luster and we don't desire the fruits of exploitation anymore.

Secondly, Radigue's music helps me to remember and accept my own mortality, to find my place in the cycles of nature. This is one of the fundamental purposes of art and Radigue succeeds in it superbly, because her music doesn't sound like the struggle of an individual against other individuals, the world or the society. Instead, while listening to her music I feel I'm sinking or merging into something bigger than me, into the processes of growth, decay, death and regeneration. That invigorates me.

This too is an antithesis to consumer capitalism, because consumer capitalism is fundamentally based on the denial of death: consumer capitalism promises that some day technology will abolish suffering, make us immortal — and before that it can console us with innumerable comforts that help us to forget death.


These are of course only my experience and interpretation of Radigue's music. Her own experience and intentions can of course be wildly different from my reading, but I have been in touch with her by email and she has encouraged me to include my thoughts on her music in our dance piece.

Helsinki, 25.10.2019

artist / writer / director / researcher
(doctor of fine arts)


Maria Säkö: "Teemu Mäen ja Maija Nurmion ohjaus yhdistää tanssia, tekstiä ja ranskalaisen nykysäveltäjän Éliane Radiguen musiikkia", Helsingin Sanomat 19.1.2020. If the link doesn't work anymore, you can find a PDF-version of the critique HERE.

Tove Dupsjöbacka: "Mångkonsnärliga perspektiv på fartygsbullersmusik", Huvudstadsbladet, Helsinki, Finland, 20.1.2020.

Marie Pullerits: "Märgata kosmilist balletti köögivalamus?", Postimees, Tallinn, Estonia, 24.1.2020.





HOME / etusivu

PAINTING (+ drawing, printmaking & installation art)


DANCE & THEATER     FILM & VIDEO     TEXT     CV     news