Théo Mercier / Steven Michel: Affordable Solution for Better Living

The performance is part of Moving in November -contemporary dance festival.

  • 2.11.–3.11.2019

An ironic and relentless performance by a visual artist and a dancer stages the home-assembled furniture of IKEA.

Sat 2 Nov at 18:00
Sun 3 Nov at 15:00
Kiasma theatre

Tickets 25/15e (+1e service fee at the webstore)

Duration 70min
Language English

In Affordable Solution for Better Living, visual artist Théo Mercier and choreographer Steven Michel break the taboos of a society saddled with healthy living, placing a Kallax – a most peculiar totem – in the middle of a spotless space. The flagship shelf unit by the giant company Ikea – less famous than the Billy but more sizable and refined – epitomizes “beauty for all”.

By transposing a commercial system to a choreographic piece, Affordable Solution for Better Living aims to interrogate the commodified body, the prescribed lifestyle and the illusion of freedom touted by the major industrial powers. How does the corporate world stage the consumer’s body? Is the household the only insubmissive space or in fact an umpteenth incarnation staged by a major brand?

In three acts, Affordable Solution for Better Living debunks the model and unfurls the convictions and doubts of a nearly perfect and polished human being. A centaur, half man and half furniture, absurdly builds his own customized interior, unique and yet like all others.

In crescendo mode, man and space merge beautifully, the smooth, harmonious and chilling world cracks and bends, exposing its dark side as well as its humanity. Aren’t people likely to self-destruct from within as they strive excessively to tend their interior?

The performance is part of an annual Helsinki-based contemporary dance festival Moving in November. The festival days this years are 2 – 10 November.

The artists are having an open lecture organized by the Uniarts on 4 November at 18:00.

Théo Mercier & Steven Michel

The work of artist and stage director Théo Mercier forms a critical inquiry at the intersection of anthropology, ethnography, geopolitics and tourism. Most of Mercier’s pieces turn on the anthropomorphisation of objects – whether they are found, assembled, in collage or grafted together. He tends to work in series, forming communities of pieces – roughly grouped as young or old, male or female.

By producing and collecting such hybridity – polymorphic, polyvocal, ambiguous, of uncertain origin and use – Théo Mercier gives shape to a very distinct exoticism: transcultural, transgeographic and transtemporal. Between real and imagined anthropology, the artist’s approach is like that of an explorer bringing back objects from real or fictional worlds, as evidence of journeys that may or may not have happened.

Steven Michel studied mime and circus from an early age, and dance and percussion as a teenager, before settling in Brussels in 2006 for his training at P.A.R.T.S. He has worked as an interpreter with choreographers, directors and filmmakers such as David Zambrano, Anouk Van Dijk and Falk Richter, Lukas Dhont, Daniel Linehan and Maud Le Pladec, as well as visual artists Théo Mercier and Sarah&Charles. Since 2012 he has been collaborating with the Belgian choreographer Jan Martens and in 2016, he produced a solo They Might Be Giants.

Steven Michel’s goal is to experience different roles and approaches, to explore diverse objects and to blur the boundaries between modes of expression, such as: fiction and science; harmony and chaos; the eye and the ear; the analogue and the digital.

Steven Michel and Théo Mercier received a Silver Lion at La Biennale di Venezia 2019 for Affordable Solution for Better Living.


Conception and choreography: Théo Mercier and Steven Michel
With: Steven Michel
Text: Jonathan Drillet
Voice-over: Jonathan Drillet, Fanny Santer
English translation for subtitles: Armelle Chrétien
Scenography: Théo Mercier and Steven Michel
Lighting Designer: Éric Soyer
Sound Composer: Pierre Desprats
Costume design: Théo Mercier and Steven Michel
Costume making: Dorota Kleszcz
Stage management: François Boulet
Production & Booking: Nanterre-Amandiers, Centre Dramatique National
Booking in collaboration with Art Happens – Sarah de Ganck
Executive production: Nanterre-Amandiers, Centre Dramatique National, apap – Performing Europe 2020 – with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union
Coproduction: Bonlieu Scène nationale Annecy
In collaboration with: workspacebrussels / Life Long Burning, with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union
Thanks to: Actoral – Festival international des arts et des écritures contemporaines & Montévidéo, Créations Contemporaines – Atelier de Fabrique Artistique, La ménagerie de verre, Campo-Gand (Belgium) and Jean-Paul Lespagnard

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.