The Imagination of Violence



An investigation of the ambiguous relationship between violence, theatre and the representation of violence




This artistic post doc research aims to investigate the role of imagination in the representation of violence: how much can the actor “embody” the violence and how much the spectators imagine (or “project”) the violence? This simple question raises immediately several problematic issues; such as the dichotomy between violence’s aesthetic pleasure and its ethical implication, the discourse about violence and its theatricality and its performativity, the representation of violence and its echo in the spectator’s mental stage. If we consider theatre as the representative of a community, to which extend a community needs to rely on violence? Or on the opposite: can theatre be a space for countering violence, for countering the imagination of violence of nowadays reality, where political and economical uncertainty leads to fear and dreadful actions and where violent actions are broadcasted relentlessly? These are some of the issues that this research aims to tackle.

This research is a collaboration between three departments of the Theatre Academy of Helsinki: Tutke, the pedagogy department and the Swedish Acting department.

The research is supported by Kone foundation.


below you can read the documentation of the workshops


Blog number 1: how to do research as an actor?

Yuko blog entry 1


blog number 2: Too far or too close: the challenge of distance

Yuko blog entry 2


blog number 3: Channeling Violence

Yuko blog entry 3


blog number 4: how to understand violence as an artist

YUko blog entry 4


blog number 5: navigation through chaos and disorientation

Yuko blog entry 5


blog number 6: violence and fun

Yuko blog entry 6


blog number 7: personal connection to violence

Yuko blog entry 7


blog number 8: learning in the unknown

Yuko blog entry 8



blog number 9: The layers of sacrifice and playing the victim

Sacrifice blog #1



blog number 10: Excess and extreme

Sacrifice blog #2



blog number 11: Asking the right question

Sacrifice blog #3


blog number 12: Lost in the search

Sacrifice blog #4


blog number 13: Deepening the inquiry

sacrifice blog #5


blog number 14: The only one, but not alone

Sacrifice blog #6



blog number 15: Never-ending process and practice

sacrifice blog #7


blog number 16: Embodying Complexity

sacrifice blog #8


Appendix one:

Playing the victim
by Antonia Henn, 2019.


Appendix two:

Playing me
by Tom Salminen, 2019.