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My Body The Lion

Concept and realization:

Maria Rutanen

Performance and Co-creation:

Joséphine Auffray, Mikkel Mallow, Maria Rutanen


Supported by Ada Studio/Gabi Beier,

A.PART Festival, Tanja Liedtke Foundation

Thanks to Diethild Meier, Julek Kreutzer, Gabi Beier

May 2020

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My Body, The Lion investigates sensitivity, pleasure, subtlety, and tragedy of bodies through somatic experience and imagination. By looking at the empathetic experiences evoked by fictional films and nature documentaries, the work aims to embody non-human beings through imagination and empathy, leading to questions about the human relationship with the surrounding world. What role does empathy play in dealing with global crises, and how can empathy be enabled through corporeality and imagination? The work is based on a human’s ability to move back and forth between the realms of “what is” and “what could be”. 


My Body, The Lion was realized as an online research project in the form of a blog during the Covid-19. It takes place in three different countries and is part of an A.PART -festival in the Ada Studio.


“Filmic portraits of human lions from different corners of the world, as well as numerous touching texts, sometimes more poetic, sometimes more analytical”. 

(Ada studio writer Johanna Ackva, May 2020) 

I can hear the sound of mangoes falling from trees, like rocks shattering against concrete. Geckoes, frogs, crickets and birds chirp, whistle and whine 360 degree through the walls from the peripheries, where I can’t reach with my eyes. Dogs are barking the night sky. It is time for a night curfew, l try to write in my room. The house is filled with thoughts. The fan moves in an endless pendulum that rotates the whirring sound night and day, blowing a little wind on my bare skin. All these papers piled around me, full of my handwriting. In my imagination, I can see the content of them manifesting as moving bodies. I am facing a new challenge to communicate the work out, doing it online, being part of a virtual experience. And then questions, which I am interested in the creation process, occur to me. What about the direct intersubjective experience between the performer and the viewer? How can we trigger kinesthetic experiences, emotions, sensations and imagination reciprocally into the space, where they overlap, what we call connection? How am I dealing with the “in and out” -relationship in this specific moment? How does it impact our physicality, if we don’t break from the cocoon? The whole process of creation in these circumstances makes me think of our evolution and where we are going. A metamorphosis is taking a new direction. The wings are made from electromagnetic radiation and boredom is filled with online saturated images, each experience takes approximately a minute and Google teaches us about empathy. I contemplate on the ability to transform the form. I move at a very slow pace, attentively, in the presence, idling with dignity, aware of every step, softly and fierceless, gracefully, like a lion I could imagine moving. 

April 2020

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