Maija Hirvanen: Magic and Despair

A performance that examines the less obivous aspects of empathy.

  • 10.5.–17.5.2019

Choreographer and artist Maija Hirvanen examines the less obivous aspects of empathy in her latest premiere Magic and Despair.

Fri 10 May at 19:00
Sat 11 May at 15:00
Wed 15 May at 19:00
Thu 16 May at 17:00
Fri 17 May at 19:00

Tickets 16/13e (+1e service fee at the webstore) Museum card offer: ticket à 13e for museum card holders.

Language English
Duration approx. 1h
If you’re coming to see the performance with a weelchair, please contact Kiasma’s info in advance: +358 29 450 0501

Magic and Despair investigates performative and complex sides of empathy. Moving in between subjective projection and the attempt to see the world through the eyes of another, Magic and Despair performs paradoxes, frictions and meetings of different kind in the shady, yet crucial area of human empathy. The work paves a way for a collective imagination and capacity to create more empathic futures.

The performers shift attention inside the work with their gaze, breath, movement and speech, creating an extremely delicate yet dynamic space of performance. Vibrating out unspoken thoughts and physical materiality of the body, the performers travel though differences in between each other and the audience. They perform empathy which is directed towards inorganic and non-human subjects, building a composition of interrelations and interventions. Not all of the endeavours made for connections are successful – failure is an inherent part of Magic and Despair.

The close proximity of the audience, seated on four sides around the stage, as well as the amplification and modification of the physical material with the technologies of light and sound are also central aspects of the work. Magic and Despair sets perception on motion in several levels, working through gaps in the human mind and body.

The performance is created in residencies in Belgium: BUDA in Kortrijk and Vooruit in Ghent.


Choreography, direction Maija Hirvanen
Performed by: Lindon Satoru Shimizu, Maija Hirvanen
Lighting design: Heikki Paasonen
Sound design: Joonas Pehrsson
Co-production: Kiasma Theatre
, The Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux/GoCommission
Collaborators / supported by: Kunstencentrum BUDA, Kortrijk, Belgium; Kunstencentrum Vooruit, Ghent, Belgium; Art Protion Centre Finland

Maija Hirvanen

is a choreographer and performance maker based in Helsinki. Since the early 2000’s she has created performances that have been presented at festivals and venues in Finland and internationally, for instance at Zodiak, Kiasma, Baltic Circle Festival, Helsinki Festival and Moving in November Festival in Helsinki, Tanz im August/Berlin, ImpulsTanz/Vienna, Sadler’s Wells/Lilian Baylis Studio/London, SPRING Festival/Utrecht, Seoul Performing Arts Festival, Rencontres chorégraphiques internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis and Dansens Hus/Stockholm. She was the in-house choreographer at Zodiak – Center for New Dance from 2013–15. The Arts Promotion Centre Finland has admitted Hirvanen a 5-year artist grant for 2019-2023.

Maija’s interests range from the relationship between art and different belief systems, collaborative processes within cultural practices and performance as collective memory to mechanisms of re-learning. She has shown her work in theatres, public spaces and galleries.
Hirvanen has participated in many international artist laboratories and collaborated with other artists.

Hirvanen has a BA in interdisciplinary performing arts (Turku Art Academy & Dartington College of Arts/Performance Writing) and MA in Visual Culture (Aalto University). Her earlier studies in dance vary from the Kuopio high school for Music and Dance and Turku Conservatory’s dancers education to taking part in various workshops.

Here You Are theme year

The theme of the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma’s 2019 programme is goodness, with exhibitions and performances throughout the year exploring the ideas of giving, sharing, hospitality and encounters.

We will invite viewers to make art themselves and to experience first-hand its power to bring joy and inspiration. Goodness comes from action, and it thrives on sharing.