Continuity for the International Cooperation: Slow Travel Performance from Tampere to Chemnitz

Media and performance artist Nastja Säde Rönkkö was awarded the title of Young Artist of the Year in Finland in 2019. In her works, Rönkkö has studied emotions evoked by the climate change and the ongoing environmental destruction. Now she is cooperating with a Tamperean young artist, Elsi Sloan, to produce a slow travel performance to Pochen Symposium. The destination of this journey is Chemnitz, which is a twin city of Tampere and the next German European Capital of Culture in 2025.

“Traveling is something that is much under consideration in the art world, not only in relation to the pandemic, but also in ecological terms. Slow travel is an upward trend that does not only take into consideration the environmental issues, but it also changes our attitudes towards traveling”, Rönkkö outlines her starting point.

A few years ago, Rönkkö realized her project 6 Months Without. The name of the performance refers to the project during which she spent half a year without internet or a cell phone. During this time, she reflected her relationship to technology and pondered on how technology today attaches us to society and to other people.

“The Pochen Symposium also looks at the digital transformation of society. I wanted to create to Chemnitz a performance based on the principles of slow travel, done without an internet connection or a cell phone. That means a holistic change in the attitude towards traveling in general”, Rönkkö describes.


Explorer of this Millenium hits the Road

However, Rönkkö did not make this journey herself, but she chose a young singer-songwriter Elsi Sloan from Tampere for this trip. According to Rönkkö, it is interesting that Sloan was born in the beginning of this Millenium and has always lived a life with a mobile phone and the internet connection that goes with it.

“How does a young adult, born in the beginning of this millennium, experiences this kind of journey? What impressions and feelings does the trip evoke as the process is also guided by the letters I wrote to them alongside with the travel instructions?”

Elsi Sloan, singer-songwriter studying the Degree Programme in Theatre Arts (NÄTY) in the University of Tampere, was asked to be ready to travel on Monday, 17th October. That is when Rönkkö delivered a bundle of envelopes to them in Tampere, containing handwritten letters, instructions and travel tickets that aim to deliver Sloan by Thursday to realize the public part of the performance in the Opening of Pochen Symposium.

Elsi Sloan can document their trip with a camera and a recorder. In the actual performance, Sloan talks about the whole travel experience and opens the last letter, which they read aloud to the audience.

“I am social and almost always surrounded by people. I have never traveled abroad alone, to be honest. Therefore, this is an important and quite exciting journey personally, part of the process of growing independent”, Sloan described her views before hitting the road.

We will report Elsi’s travel story on the FB page of the Tampere26 project in the end of the month.

Pochen Symposium 2021
Nastja Rönkkö / 6 Months Without
Elsi Sloan

Text and photo by Satu Keltanen

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The European Capital of Culture activities have always involved the principle of cooperation between the former, current, forthcoming and the bidding cities. Discussions were opened across Europe during the Tampere26 bid as well. This is a project that was initiated during the Tampere26 bid, now realizing the plan B under the name Operation Pirkanmaa. A delegation from the City of Chemnitz and its ECoC Team will arrive to Tampere in Mid-November to continue planning of further cooperation for the coming years.

Chemnitz 2025