Small Spectacle about Encountering

Astala Lauri

In Small Spectacle about Encountering the viewer and the viewer's space become active elements of the work. A semi-transparent mirror hangs between a chair and a video projection. Whilst sitting in the chair, the viewer notices that the reflection of the chair and the space in the mirror exactly match the same elements within the video. The effect is simultaneously two and three-dimensional, confusing the perception of space. A man appears in the video and sits down in the ”opposite” chair, his image merging with the viewer's reflection in the mirror. The features of this new hybrid creature are bewildering – the viewer recognises both a self and a stranger. The man in the video begins to speak. The 9-minute monologue is a description of an absent person, an encounter with whom – or the impossibility of such an encounter – the narrator reflects upon. The internal and the external become entwined in the story. The identities of the narrator and the person in the story, but also that of the viewer, become fluid: who is this other person? Who am I really? Only one viewer at a time can view the work sitting in the chair. The text in the piece is composed of quotes from Maurice Blanchot’s Le Dernier Homme (The Last Man).

Production Year
Original Title
Pieni spektaakkeli kohtaamisesta
Finnish Title
Pieni spektaakkeli kohtaamisesta
English Title
Small Spectacle about Encountering
Production Countries
Aspect Ratio
Lauri Astala (Author), Lauri Astala (Actor)
Press Photos
Lauri Astala lives in Helsinki, Finland and Avalon, France. He graduated from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 1989 and Chicago Art Institute in 2001. Astala is one of of the most distinguished media artists in Finland. He makes sculptures, videos and installations, that concentrate on our concepts and experiences of space and the ways in which cultural structures shapes them. His works have been presented at numerous solo and group exhibitions since 1989, including Eyebeam in New York (2013), Helsinki Art Museum (2010) KUMU art museum in Tallinn (2008) and Institut finlandais in Paris (2008). In 2007, Astala was awarded with the Finnish State Prize for Visual Arts.