Road of Poems and Borders (1989-1990)

Road of Poems and Borders consists of four performances produced by Suzanne Lacy for Meeting of the Worlds, an international music festival in Joensuu, Finland, sponsored by Performers and Artists for Nuclear Disarmament. Lacy and Strimling were asked to create a series of events that would generate a local audience and engage residents of this small town bordering Russia. The resulting four works were a collaboration between Finnish and American artists led by Lacy. Guests invited by Lacy to participate in the overall event included Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Robert Sanchez, Judy Baca, Moira Roth, Cindi Harper and Susan Leibovitz Steinman. Participating artists included Pirkko Kurikka, Ihva Aula, Allan Kaprow, Jouko Blomberg, Riku Malin- en, Petr Rehor, Tuire Hindikka, Anne Kartunen and Arthur Strimling. 

Meeting of the Worlds Festival, Performers and Artists for Nuclear Disarmament, curated by Tuu- la Linsiö, in Joensuu, Finland. 

Meeting in the Post

For Meeting in the Post, a postcard printed in six languages designed by Leslie Becker was sent all over the world asking for stories about borders. Over 600 responses were received and subsequently read in their original languages by teams of fifteen people—every hour on the hour—throughout the town during the five days of the festival. The post- cards were then displayed in the local post office. 

Meeting in the Air: A Radio Event

Meeting in the Air was a radio event that took place on Finnish national radio. Lacy organized the live broadcast of an on-air meeting between three elderly women from the kitchens of their homes in Finland, Russia and the United States. The broadcast was heard throughout Finland. A special listening event at the park in the center of Joensuu provided audiences with portable radios. 

Meeting at the Market

On the first Saturday of the festival, Lacy and Allan Kaprow invited local residents to a Meeting at the Market in the town’s open-air farmers’ mar- ket. A parked radio van allowed residents to invite friends to join them over local radio. Whenever a meeting took place, the shadows of the grouped bodies were traced on the ground, documenting the meetings as performed by the participating friends. After the market closed and stalls were removed, a chalk portrait of conviviality and community was revealed, and subsequently swept away by a coordinated team of street sweepers.

Meeting in the Water

Finally, Meeting in the Water took place on an island lagoon in the center of a river. Audiences watched from the riverbanks as 214 teenagers dressed in red t-shirts marched to a sound score along the banks of the lagoon. From afar, they formed a red dotted line on the horizon. In a single precise movement, the performers raised red flags, connecting the “dots” and creating a circle. Then they leapt into the freezing water, reforming as a red mass hovering in the center of the lagoon. After several minutes, they broke from one another and returned to shore for a party.