About Hanna

Hanna Pajala-Assefa on nykytanssin, tanssielokuvan ja medioidun kehon parissa työskentelevä tanssitaiteilija. Viimeisimpiä näyttämöteoksia ovat R e s o n a n c e 2019 (Nofod conference), Britten for Body and Cello 2018 (Circo) ja  Poimintoja 2015 (Vuotalo) Helsingissä. Näyttämöteos Erään rakkauden historia nähtiin  Zodiak – Uuden tanssin keskuksen ohjelmistossa vuonna 2013 ja  kiertueella 2014. Hän on työskennellyt tanssielokuvan kehittäjänä ja edistäjänä Suomessa perustaen Loikka tanssielokuva festivaalin vuonna 2008 ja toimien festivaalin taiteellisena johtajana vuoteen 2012. Vuonna 2013 hänet palkittiin Tanssin Maineteko -palkinnolla uraauurtavasta työstä suomalaisen tanssielokuvan edistäjänä. Hän työskentelee parhaillaan Soiva liike –metodin sekä keholähtöisen virtuaalisen taidekokemuksen Skeleton Conductor XR Art parissa.

Hanna Pajala-Assefa is a contemporary dance artist, who works in various disciplines as a choreographer, dancer, researcher and pedagog. In 2013 was awarded with the ”Finnish Dance Achievement”-Award, for her ground breaking work in founding and developing Loikka – dance film festival. Her latest stage works are R e s o n a n c e 2019,  Britten for Body and Cello 2018 and Poimintoja 2015. Her  piece ”History of a Love”, was seen at Zodiak –  Center for New Dance 2013 and toured 2014. She has been developing and researching an interdisciplinary movement sonification method called Sounding Motion for several years. Through her work with the mediated body practice she took part in the international Moving Digits project 2018-2020 creating dance&technology work in performance context. Her current work involves creation of a movement based virtual art work Skeleton Conductor XR Art and an interactive installation Enacted Space. Besides her artwork she also conducts research around mediated body and the cultivation of kinaesthetic thinking within a virtual realm.

Some selected works and performances

Skeleton Conductor XR Art (current)

Skeleton Conductor XR (SC) on virtuaalisen taiteen hanke, jossa monialainen työryhmä kehittää reaaliaikaiseen liikeinteraktioon perustuvia sekoitetun todellisuuden taidekokemuksia. Hankkeessa kehitetään uutta teknologiaa hyödyntäen interaktiivinen digitaalinen käyttöliittymä, jossa kokija uppoutuu audiovisuaaliseen kokemukseen säilyttäen vahvan tuntuman omaan kehoonsa, luoden ja vaikuttaen oman toimijuutensa kautta koettuun audiovisuaaliseen sisältöön. SC -hankkeen ensimmäisessä vaiheessa kehitetään iteratiivisesti yhden kokijan moniosainen virtuaalinen taidekokemus Skeleton Conductor XR Art, jossa käyttäjä on sen keskeinen luova toimija ja kokija. Hankkeen seuraavissa vaiheissa kehitetään yksilökokemuksen seuraavaa osaa, moniesiintyjäistä ja osallistavaa taideinstallaatiota sekä toteutetaan taiteellis-tieteellistä tutkimustyötä.

Skeleton Conductor XR Art is a user centred, single user XR art experience where the user is in a key position in the creative exploration it provides. The 6DoF VR enables a particular embodied situation where the real-time mapped gestures and movements of the user are the key ignitors and conductors of the audiovisual art. The progression of the interactivity score offers complex sonic properties and visual sculpting to induce attentive physical engagement and the dramaturgical journey lets one reflect on their aesthetic sensibilities. Skeleton Conductor emphasises the users felt experience and multi sensorial awareness and the sense of presence – it stimulates self-reflectivity through an open ended, improvisatory creative act.
The project as whole consists of further development of the single user art work, a multiuser installation performance and research on mediated experience.

SC image with title, small

Skeleton Conductor XR Art Trailer

Research and development of Sounding Motion –method (ongoing)

The mode of the research is practice based art-pedagogical research aiming for developing the Sounding Movement –method (later SoMo –method) and drawing artistic and theoretic conclusions from this work.

SoMo –method was developed during a year long artistic research period that led to a creation of performance Excerpts (prem. 4.9. 2015). The method uses specifically created sensor technology from movement that enables a dancer to compose a musical score out of physical movements. In the method technological means (data harvested from movement sensors translated into sound) enables simultaneous improvised movement composition and music composing which constitutes a sonic dancer, where the moving body is not only an instrument of dance and but also source of sound creation. The SoMo –method focuses on highlighting body awareness and self-reflection in improvisation practice and performance. It gives the dancer full power to define how one moves, sounds and communicates. In addition to the visual spectacle the method offers the audience an auditive channel to hear the movement, experience kinetic empathy and through this, interpret contemporary dance.

The research aims to further develop the SoMo -method, through several somatic and improvisation practices and by developing the technological means and applications which define the musical elements and structures.

Sounding Motion research in Vimeo: 

Poimintoja/Excerpts – premiere 4.9.2015 Vuotalo

Excerpts is a contemporary dance and sound-art performance where an instrument is created out of the bodies of two dancers and the space they are moving in.

This performance was created by a group of artists working interdisciplinary researching new technology, music and contemporary dance. Through this investigation and development of sensor technology for artistic use they created a Sounding Motion method and practice. In Excerpts the entire soundscape and music is created out of the movement of the dancers through different sound production devices. The performance gives the viewer an audible stream to immerse into the flow of improvised movement and kinetically read the fascinating art of dance.

Excerpts Trailer: https://vimeo.com/139120336

History of a Love – premiere 24.9.2013 Zodiak – Center for New Dance

A duet between a dancer and a musician revealing their shared emotional history. An encounter between the two artists, their wills, emotions and pulses, giving birth to a polyphonic music – a rhythmic microcosmos which functions under laws defined by listening, surrendering and establishing mutual trust.

History of a Love trailer  https://vimeo.com/77931773

The Showing  – touring 2007 – 2016

Site-specific performance Showing was originally made for a private house.

The artist constructs the piece assuming that house is for sale. The audience is invited inside by the artist who takes on a character of a real estate agent keen to sell the house to the audience. However, the agent’s presentation quickly transforms from official to personal revealing more details about the agent than the home she is trying to sell. Partly-improvised, full of humour and warmth, “Showing” is a solo-performance dealing with ideas of femininity, fragility and aging body.

Showing has been performed and adapted into numerous different locations and countries. The venues vary from full scale restaurant-theater into tiny studio apartment. This intimate and strong piece has touched audiences in Europe, USA and Central America and stayed in the repertoire for over 9 years.

Vimeo link: http://vimeo.com/31348021

Loikka Kontakti and Loikka dance film festival 


Hanna Pajala-Assefa founded Loikka – dance film festival in 2008 and was the artistic director of the festival 2008-2012 curating the program, producing the festival and developing the dance film scene in Finland. After handing over the artistic leadership she continued in curatorial and productional activities and worked in the Board in Loikka Kontakti advocating the development and status of dance film. In 2018 she curated a VR program for the 10th anniversary Loikka festival and organised an international conference around dance film and immersive medias. She has also organised and taught several workshops and lectures around dance film and new digital technology.



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