Dana Michel is the 2019 Winner of ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art

Dana Michel. Photo Pekka Mäkinen.


Dana Michel was announced as the 2019 winner of ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art on Saturday 14th September. Dana Michel was revealed as the 6th winner of the prestigious prize during the ANTI Prize Party in Kuopio, Finland.

The 2019 shortlist comprised of four celebrated artists from across the globe: Cuqui Jerez (ES), Dana Michel (CA), Mammalian Diving Reflex (CA) and Keijaun Thomas (US).

The prize, at €30,000, is one of the richest in the arts, and is awarded annually to an artist or artist collective. ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art is the world’s first prize dedicated to live art. The prize is funded by the Saastamoinen Foundation.

The 2019 prize saw a chance in the winner selection process with the new Shortlist LIVE! concept funded by the Kone Foundation. For the first time ever, ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival presented the shortlisted artists live as a part of the 2019 festival programme in Kuopio. The jury had personal meetings with each of the artists and decided on the winner after seeing each nominee’s presentation.

The 2019 jury’s chair was internationally acclaimed author Saara Turunen (FI) and the other members are reknowned artistic director and cultural leader Daniel Brine (UK) and celebrated professor, academic and artist Thomas F. DeFrantz (US).

The Jury states of the winner:

Constant Surprises – intimacies and small gestures. Strength and physical ability, resisting presumptions and testing suppositions.  Dana Michel makes work in order to see better and know better.  She explores an archive enlivened through performance.  Lifetimes of experience animated.  Interiorities.  Intuitive making with objects that become … Free!  A remarkable poetics of movement and imagery, bound up in an ethically-engaged approach to making and sharing. Modest and accurate, measured and structured.  A faltering stagger reminds us to keep moving.  A dreamlike character  –  charismatic and absurdist.  We commend this clarity of performance, engaged in identity … dreamlike and touching in its way. A powerful presence of a female body.

We commend your vision and your creative path towards remarkable, unexpected images.  Striking, clear images that arrive and disperse unexpectedly.  Multitudes of memories wrapped into live art.  Everything here matters, everything sounds, everything vibrates into our shared experience.

Dana Michel won a 15 000€ cash prize and in addition a production support of the same amount to bring a new piece to ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival 2020.

Dana Michel

An amalgam of intuitive improvisation, choreography, and performance art, Dana Michel’s artistic practice is rooted in exploring the multiplicity of identity. Michel works with notions of performative alchemy and lucid dreaming – using personal history, current preoccupations, and future desires to create an empathetic centrifuge of live moments between herself and witnesses.Today, her work can be described by some of its influences and inhabitations: sculpture, cinematography, comedy, hip-hop, psychology, dub, and social commentary.

In research, Michel alternates between the work that takes place in and out of the studio. After pouring over a subject via writing, reading, video, and discussion she relaxes her focus and let the body take over. “I feed myself with sound, silence, and dissonance – at times over-stuffing my body and psyche with stimulation to encounter its response. Then, minute details pop into my kinetic vision. They manifest movements, resonations, colours, textures, and certain experiences of light. These details clarify the trajectory of the work.”

“Using difficulty as a navigational methodology comes naturally and coerces my performances into places of emergency and vulnerability. This is where I am able to listen at closest range, and to share with the least hesitation. Thinking about beings as mathematical proofs or portals, made up of billions of possibilities, deepens this listening.“

Four essays on four Live Art Artists

Shortlist LIVE! publication provides comprehensive texts on the careers and practices of this year’s ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art.

Cuqui Jerez, Dana Michel, Keijaun Thomas and Mammalian Diving Reflex were asked to suggest authors to write about their careers and practices. Each writer responded “yes” to the writing invitation. As a result, we are now able to read four very different essays on four very different artists:

Experimental poet and curator Quim Pujol writes an accurate portrayal of Cuqui Jerez, who he sees as a reality hacker, space-time mistress and perceptual sorceress. Researcher and essayist James Oscar plays with the potential of an essay format and offers the reader a text that feels like if it was a sprawling conversation with various references, his own experiences and encounters and by doing this, Oscar provides a powerful insight into the unique nature of Dana Michel’s art. Broderick Chow’s text on the Mammalian Diving Reflex and its artistic director Darren O’Donnell is also a personal text – the seemingly light structure of the essay makes it accessible also to a reader without the knowledge of art theories, even though Chow is an academic. The essay follows the path of Mammalian Diving Reflex’s art: easy and fun but wise and for all. Another example on arts and activism is Keijuan Thomas, who the writer and art theorist Joshua Chambers-Letson captures powerfully in his essay.

These four essays are not only an overview of the nominees of one art prizes in 2019 but also a broader description of artists and the meaning of art. Through their work, four different candidates remind us that art is not always nice, beautiful, or easy to comprehend. At the same time, the essays demonstrate the life-changing power of art and individual artists, both in relation to the individual and to the communities. Shortlisted artists are portrayed as remarkable, with remarkable being defined many times as a word throughout the pages of this publication.

Shortlist LIVE! is also a statement for art essayism. Despite its layout or viewing point, the essay is a great way to approach art; it is a text type that is present; it gently reminds us of the subjectivity of viewing art, the mobility of art making, and the active power of art in society.

In addition to these four essays, Shortlist LIVE! publication includes an interview with last year’s ANTI International Prize for Live Art artist Sonya Lindfors and a column by Riikka Stewen, secretary of the jury in 2014-2018.

This is the first issue of an annual series of publications that are part of the Shortlist LIVE! – the new entity of events around the ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art. The magazine is published in co-operation by ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival and Live Art Development Agency (LADA). This issue has been edited by Heidi Backström and designed by Tomi Leppänen.

The publication is sold during the 2019 ANTI Festival in the Festival Centre on the Kuopio Market Square and in Shortlist LIVE! venues during presentations.

One Week to ANTI Festival 2019

Lara Thoms: The Director. Photo: Bryony Jackson.

Starting in one week on Tuesday 10th September 2019, ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival traces various iterations of death in an attempt to open-up thinking around our relationship to it and to the many sets of phenomena that surround it.

The presentations and events of ANTI Festival are free for the audience, but some events require a seat reservation. Familiarize yourself with the 2019 programme and reserve your seats on ANTI Festival’s website.

In addition to the artistic programme, welcome to The End – Future DiverCities Artist Lab 2019 opening already today and join the ANTI Prize Party and find out the winner of The ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art 2019.

Loren Kronemyer: After Erika Eiffel. Photo: Julian Frichot.

Get to know the programme of the opening day of ANTI Festival 2019 below:

J. A. Juvani (FI): Tanatologia

Tuesday 10.9.  7.00-18.00

The lobby of University of Eastern Finland, Snellmania building | Yliopistonranta 1, Kuopio

No reservation required. More information

Lucy Willow (UK): The Mourner – Lamentation in Dust

Tuesday 10.9.  10-12, 16-18

VR Konepaja | Pohjolankatu 1, Kuopio

No reservation required. More information


Loren Kronemyer (AU): After Erika Eiffel

Tuesday 10.9.  14.00-17.00

Puijo archery field | Suurmäentie 85, Kuopio

Seat reservation required. More information and seat reservations

Lara Thoms (AU): The Director

Tuesday 10.9.  18.00

Alavan palvelukeskus | Siikaniemenkatu 4, Kuopio

Seat reservation required. More information and seat reservations


Moth (UK): In the Face of Death

Kuopio city centre, various locations

No reservation required. More information


The festival week culminates at the ANTI Prize Party club where we experience F, who has appeared convincingly in the Finnish music scene. F is a part of D.R.E.A.M.G.I.R.L.S. rap spectacle that many have named one of the most influential occurrences in Finnish music in a long time. The winner of ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art, selected by the jury after the nominee presentations, is announced during the event. The ANTI Prize Party bar is brought to you in collaboration with Ravintolamestarit and RPS Brewing.

Saturday 14.9. 21.00-01.00

Konepaja| Pohjolankatu 1, Kuopio

Age limit 18

21.00 Bar open
22.00 ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art winner 2019 winner announcement
23.00 Live music: F (FI)

DJ Stedi (Funkkaa Taikka Kuole)

Future DiverCities Lab 2019

Lauri Hei and Veera Launonen. Photo: Suvi Koivisto.

ANTI Festival hosts the fourth Future DiverCities Lab in Kuopio in 2-15 September 2019. The Lab will be based in an urban room – a pop-up store in the centre of town titled The End, which will act as a space for people to meet, make and discuss. It can be used and visited by other local artists, festival artists and the public.

In the Lab, artists from different artistic backgrounds and around the globe work together in the frame work of the Future DiverCities project, in relation to each other, the local environment and community, sharing practices and engaging members of the community in artistic interventions.

The 2019 Lab artists are Kattrin Deufert (DE), Kim Modig (FI), Lara Thoms (AU) and Martin Finnland (AT).

The Lab is hosted by ANTI in partnership with creative facilitators of The Map Consortium (UK) and local Kuopio-based artists Veera Launonen and Lauri Hei.

The Lab space The End is open to public 3.-14.9. 13.00-17.30.

Address: Haapaniemenkatu 20, Kuopio.


Herr Finnland. Photo: Lexy Thompson.

Herr Finnland (AT)

Herr Finnland was born in 1982 into a half Austrian half Finnish family and was raised in Salzburg / Austria. After studying in Salzburg he worked as a production manager for Europe’s biggest HIV & AIDS Charity Event the Viennese Life Ball, where he was involved in the opening show. In 2011 he found with a very playful approach the Viennese Immersive Theatre formation Nesterval. Today Herr Finnland’s Nesterval ensemble consists of more than 40 members including performances, (trained and not-trained) actors, dancers and musicians, who embody the story of the Nesterval dynasty in various formations and roles. As director and producer he makes sure that Nesterval also turns the viewer into an integral part of the performance, inviting all of us to ask heavy questions with a disarming lightness and seek for answers in the unlikeliest of places. Beyond the traditional and institutionalised theatre business Herr Finnland works with performers coming mainly from the queer community, and finds new possibilities and expressions in which gender roles and conventions are shifted and broken.

deufert&plischke. Photo: deufert&plischke.

Kattrin Deufert (DE)

Kattrin Deufert is one half of the artistic duo deufert&plischke. The works of deufert&plischke focus on time, memory, myth, and how we should live together. As an artistic duo for more than 17 years, they have adhered to the radical notion that choreography can build society, not merely illustrate it. Thus, collaboration and participation are central themes in deufert&plischke’s methodology, process and performance: in their multi-faceted work, be it a choreographic concert, lecture, or exhibition, theatre takes place only insofar as it can be knit together by everyone – artists and spectators – in the moment of performance. Choreography thus becomes a social activity, not determined by aesthetic principles, but by existential and philosophical concepts such as war and peace, freedom and truth. Theater as a social situation – from the common rehearsal to the performance – is the driving force of deufert&plischke’s choreographic form and artistic expression.

Kim Modig. Photo: Kim Modig.

Kim Modig (FI)

Kim Modig is an artist living in Helsinki. He graduated with a Master’s degree in Theatre Studies from the Theatre Academy in 2009. Modig is part of the Biitsi duo and the Orker communications agency.

Lara Thoms. Photo: Bryony Jackson.

Lara Thoms (AU)

Lara Thoms is a queer artist interested in socially engaged, site-specific and participatory possibilities in contemporary art and performance. Her collaborative feminist work Before the Siren with Hannah Gadsby, Snapcat and 500 women from recreational clubs was commissioned for Perth International Arts Festival. Lara worked with child activists and asylum seeker children trapped on Nauru to create We all Know What’s Happening’ with Samara Hersch which has gone on to tour to Theatrespektakle and Nooderzen festivals 2019. Lara was an artistic associate with Aphids since 2012 before taking up the co-directorship. She has also been part of artist collective Field Theory for a decade, creating the site-specific, durational work. Recently she was commissioned to make a course for high school students on socially engaged art for the Museum of Contemporary Art. She is currently based in NYC, USA.

Lauri Hei. Photo: Mirva Liimatta.

Lauri Hei (FI)

Lauri Hei is a poet, visual artist and software developer living in Kuopio. Hei’s works are often based on minimalism, conceptual art, constraints and randomness. He often utilizes visual errors and glitch aesthetics of corrupted video and image files. As a poet he is interested in contemporary experimental and digital poetry.

Veera Launonen. Photo: Veera Launonen.

Veera Launonen (FI)

Veera Launonen is a Kuopio based visual artist who works with moving image, sound and photography. Through her works, she explores the changes and the transience of her own living environment. She uses old photographs and videos as well as recycled or found objects as material. Launonen has been working with her partner Ilkka Martti Kivelä since 2014. Their collaborations have been exhibited in several solo and group exhibitions, as well as festivals in Finland and abroad. This year, their works will be seen for example in Lappeenranta Art Museum and Gallery Rajatila in Tampere.

Live Art Prize Nominees Compete for 30 000€

ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival 2019 builds up to a thrilling weekend as the nominees for The ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art present their work in Kuopio Finland as part of the new Shortlist LIVE! programme. The new Shortlist LIVE! concept change the way the winner selection process is handled, but also provides all four nominees a stage to show their work during ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival as a paid performance. All the performances are open to public without an entrance fee.

The nominees for the 2019 ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art and their presentations are: Cuqui Jerez (ES): The Phenomenon of Fictitious Forces, Dana Michel (CA): Mercurial George, Keijaun Thomas (US): My Last American Dollar and Mammalian Diving Reflex (CA): Sex, Drugs and Criminality. The nominee performances are presented at ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival during Friday 13th September and Saturday 14th September. The winner will be nominated on Saturday 14th September 2019.

The winner of the prize is selected by an international jury. The three-person jury’s chair is internationally acclaimed author Saara Turunen (FI) and the other members are experienced artistic director and cultural leader Daniel Brine (UK) and celebrated professor, academic and artist Thomas F. DeFrantz (US).

Cuqui Jerez: The Phenomenon of Fictitious Forces. Photo: Cuqui Jerez.

Friday 13.9. 21.30

Konepaja | Pohjolankatu 1, Kuopio

He was explaining his obsession with gravity to me and then he opened the book and read something like this: The secret of flying is the following: you have to do it immediately, before your body realizes it is defying the laws. He closed the book, threw it out of the window and carried on talking. It fell so fast that I didn’t have time to see what book it was. At that point a phrase from Rayuela came to mind: I’m not sleepy. I keep on seeing things in the air while you talk.

In this piece more than 10.000 objects fly entering the stage. That’s it!

Dana Michel: Mercurial George. Photo Ian Douglas

Saturday 14.9.  14.00

Sotku teatteri | Suokatu 42, Kuopio

In the wake of the acclaimed Yellow Towel, Mercurial George traces and transforms the banal, provoking a certain malaise. Sifting through the heaps of dusty clues leftover in the wake of initializing a cultural excavation, Dana Michel offers a destabilizing solo. The body vacillates as it struggles for balance and a toehold. Stretching out time with minimalist and deconstructed movement, Michel becomes the archeologist of her own persona.

“I only just got a bit of dirt under the nails with the last thing. Now wading through the hairy rubble of a preliminary anthropological dig. So much debris! I couldn’t have predicted how much debris there would be and how much work I had created for myself in waking this beast. But they needed waking. I have seen the eyes and I’m circling, skipping, daintily lifting limbs and sniffing its scent. What is the smell of a plethora of someones that you have been avoiding your whole life? What do you do with the body? This is another science experiment. This is another ground on which to test skins that belong to me, outfits and ideas that may or may not have been imposed.” –Dana Michel

Keijaun Thomas: My Last American Dollar. Photo: Andrea Abbatangelo.

Saturday 14.9. 17.00

Konepaja | Pohjolankatu 1, Kuopio

In Keijaun Thomas’ immersive solo work, My Last American Dollar:

Round 1. Tricking and Flipping Coins: Making Dollars Hit,

Round 2. Black Angels in the Infield: Dripping Faggot Sweat,

Round 3. Whatchu Gonna Do: Marvelous like Marva.

Thomas investigates and embodies resistance, asking: “How do we resist temptation, how do we slow down, how do we play, how do we survive?” Thomas traverses a multimedia installation, combining structural fragments of environments associated with labor, ritual, and hospitality such as locker rooms, strip clubs, waiting rooms, church pews, and field days. Investigating forms through which black and brown people hold space for each other, Thomas ask, how to carry the multiplicities of being young, gifted, and black. Powerfully engaging with the entangled histories of labor, subjugation, and resistance.

Mammalian Diving Reflex: Sex, Drugs and Criminality. Photo: Martin Steffen.
Mammalian Diving Reflex: Sex, Drugs and Criminality. Photo: Martin Steffen.

Friday 13.9.  19.00

Kultttuuriareena 44 | Kauppakatu 44, Kuopio

Sex, Drugs and Criminality collides teenagers with the most famous and courageous artists in the world. The teens are invited to ask the artists any questions they want; the artists are invited to refuse any questions they want. The two groups reach across the yawning and gaping intergenerational chasm, to see if they can connect even just the tips of their fingers and, together, have a very very very frank discussion about three of the most confusing topics in the universe: sex, drugs and criminality.


ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art Jury 2019

ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival, the Finnish Theatre of the Year, is proud to present the the jury for the ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art 2019. ANTI Festival’s artistic directors Johanna Tuukkanen and Gregg Whelan expect a thrilling week as “for the first time the Shortlist LIVE! programme will bring these remarkable artists to ANTI to present their work to the prize jury and festival audience alike”.

The jury work for the prize will change along with the new Shortlist LIVE! concept as the jury experience the nominee presentations live in Kuopio during ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival before nominating the winner.

Saara Turunen. Photo: Carl Bergman.

Saara Turunen (FI)

The chair of the 2019 jury, Saara Turunen is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning author, playwright and director. Much of her work examines the themes of art, identity and social norms.

Turunen is known for her two highly acclaimed novels, Love/Monster (2015) and The Bystander (2018), but also for her work in theatre. Her plays have garnered brilliant reviews, and have been translated into numerous languages and performed all around the world. Turunen was awarded the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize in 2015, and the Finland Prize in 2016, both high-profile awards given in Finland.

Daniel Brine. Photo: Hugo Glendinning.

Daniel Brine (UK)

Daniel Brine is Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Norfolk & Norwich Festival Trust. The multi-artform, contemporary, international and audience-centred Festival takes place in Norwich and around Norfolk for 17 days each May. Year-round NNF delivers initiatives and projects including Festival Bridge building partnerships between schools and arts organisations across East England and Norfolk Open Studios celebrating the creative talents of the visual arts and crafts community in Norfolk.

Between 2012 and 2017 Daniel was Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Cambridge Junction, the contemporary arts centre where art meets life.  Previously Daniel has been Artistic Director and CEO of Performance Space (2009-2011), Australia’s leading organisation for the development and presentation of interdisciplinary arts and Associate Director of the Live Art Development Agency (2001-2008) supporting the development of live art practices and critical discourses in the UK and internationally.

Thomas F. DeFrantz. Photo: Brian Mullins.

Thomas F. DeFrantz (US)

Thomas F. DeFrantz is Professor of Dance at Duke University and specializes in African diaspora aesthetics, dance historiography, and the intersections of dance and technology. DeFrantz runs the research group SLIPPAGE at Duke University, a group that works to create innovative interfaces for the telling of alternative histories. DeFrantz believes in our shared capacity to do better, and to engage our creative spirit for a collective good that is anti-racist, anti-homophobic, proto-feminist, and queer affirming.

DeFrantz is edited many publications, of which Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance  received the CHOICE award for Outstanding Academic Publication and the 2003 Errol Hill Award presenting by the American Society for Theater Research.  He has published extensively, with his monograph Dancing Revelations: Alvin Ailey’s Embodiment of African American Culture receiving the 2004 de la Torre Bueno Prize for outstanding publication in Dance. DeFrantz received the 2017 Outstanding Research in Dance award from the Dance Studies Association. DeFrantz has acted as a consultant for the Smithsonian Museum of African American Life and Culture. His ceative Projects include Queer Theory! An Academic Travesty, fastDANCEpast and reVERSE-gesture-reVIEW.


New Trailer for Anna-Liisa Nesterval!

Nesterval (AT): Anna-Liisa Nesterval Trailer 2 from ANTI Festival on Vimeo.

ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival is rapidly approaching! The 2019 festival is in 10-15 September. Get a taste of the 2019 programme through the new Anna-Liisa Nesterval trailer. Nesterval, who have gained massive popularity in Wien, will present their immersive theatre piece three times during ANTI Festival inside The Old Kuopio Museum.

The figures and plot elements of Anna-Liisa Nesterval are based on the works Anna-Liisa (1895) by the Finnish author and feminist Minna Canth (1844-1897), and Krambambuli (1885) by the Austrian humanist novelist Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830-1916). These literary references from the 19th century are brought together in a Heimatfilm setting (Call of the Forest, the film version of Krambambuli from 1965 by Franz Antel). In their new adventure, Nesterval blend gender roles and role models, opening the concept of home for a pluralistic society.

Anna-Liisa, a farmer’s daughter, is preparing for her wedding with Johannes, a farm servant, when her past suddenly catches up with her. Two uninvited guests make their appearance in the village, bringing with them their knowledge of a heinous crime. The perfect idyll is becoming disintegrated, violence and hatred sweep over the villagers after the silence of generations has been broken. And what had actually been meant to end in a wedding starts with a funeral reception. But how did it come to this turn in the story?

The participants become actively involved in the plot, trying to find their own truth as a group. Do you want to become part of the community or will you rather find yourself among the group of outcasts and serfs? In the little village in the middle of nowhere, xenophobia and self-loathing are closely associated sentiments.

Anna-Liisa Nesterval is co-produced in Kuopio with Minna Canthin talo ry, Dance Theatre Minimi and The Old Kuopio Museum.

Show Schedule

Thursday 12.9. 18.00

Friday 13.9. 18.00

Saturday 14.9. 18.00


Nesterval: Anna-Liisa Nesterval. Kuva: Alexandra Thompson Photography.


The 2019 festival has multiple shows with a limited amount of seats. Ensure your entrance to the shows by reserving the free seats well in advance. The reservation is done online through the programme on our website.


One Month to Festival

Lara Thoms: The Director. Photo: Bryony Jackson.

ANTI Festival Starts in a Month – Celebrated Live Artists in Kuopio, Finland

ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival 2019 is getting closer as the festival opens on 10th September 2019 in Kuopio, Finland. We have invited internationally celebrated, award-winning artists from around the world to present their projects.

The theme and focus for the 18th edition of ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival is death. The programme traces various iterations of death in an attempt to open-up thinking around our relationship to it and to the many sets of phenomena that surround it. Ideas die, eras end, materials become obsolete, things break, technology supersedes itself, places are abandoned, the natural world is destroyed, social and political ideals are overthrown, and plant, animal and human life is finite.

On Saturday 14th September, we will award ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art, one of world’s most exciting cultural prize. For the first time ever in the history of the prize, the nominees will present their pieces in Kuopio during the festival.

We are also hosting the fourth Future DiverCities Lab in Kuopio 3.-15.9.

Updated festival programme and schedule on our website!
Join our 2018 Facebook event to follow the festival news!

Maria Lucia Cruz Correia: Voice of Nature: The Trial. Photo: Mark Pozlep.

Reserve your seats!

The 2019 festival has multiple shows with a limited amount of seats. Ensure your entrance to the shows by reserving the free seats well in advance. The reservation is done online through the programme on our website.

The ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art Shortlisted Artists 2019

For the first time ever, ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival is proud to present the shortlisted artists of The ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art during the 2019 Festival in Kuopio where each shortlisted artist/collective performs their work. Shortlist LIVE! is a completely new and unique entity of events around the prize in which the shortlisted artists are performed live during ANTI Festival, and the winner of the prize is decided by the jury after the performances.

The ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art was awarded for the first time in Kuopio during ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival 2014, on 24th September. The world’s only International Prize for Live Art is 30,000 euros, making it one of the richest cultural prizes in the arts. The winning artist receives a cash prize of 15,000 euros and the same amount in the form of a production grant for bringing a new work to the ANTI Festival in the following year. The Prize is supported by the Saastamoinen Foundation. Shortlist LIVE! program is supported by the Kone Foundation.

Four amazing contemporary artists/collectives from across the globe are once again set to compete for the prize. The 2019 shorlisted artists are Cuqui Jerez (Spain), Dana Michel (Canada), Keijaun Thomas (USA) and Mammalian Diving Reflex (Canada).

ANTI Festival’s Artistic Directors Johanna Tuukkanen and Gregg Whelan are excited about the shortlist and the new Shortlist LIVE! programme:

“The 2019 ANTI Prize for Live Art shortlist features four artists who collectively, from four quite different ways of working and from four strikingly different contexts, offer a powerful and hugely compelling reminder of the social and political agency of Live Art. Their work also reminds us how engaging, entertaining and enthralling great art can be. It’s a thrilling list and for the first time the Shortlist LIVE! programme will bring these remarkable artists to ANTI to present their work to the prize jury and festival audience alike. It’s going to be an incredibly exciting week; see you there!”

ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival takes place between 10th and 15th September 2019. The new Shortlist LIVE! program takes place on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th and the winner of The ANTI Festival International Price for Live Art will be announced at the prize party on Saturday night 14th September.

Cuqui Jerez. Photo: Dani Canto.

Cuqui Jerez (ES)

Cuqui Jerez is a Spanish choreographer and performer who lives and works in Madrid and Berlin. After working as a dancer and performer with various choreographers in Europe in the nineties, she began to develop her choreographic work in 2001. Since then, she has created pieces of different natures that have been presented at numerous festivals in Europe, USA and Latin America.

Cuqui Jerez describes her work as a tool to understanding the performative act. While her work entails many techniques from performance to text and even fireworks, she considers all of her practices as choreographies. She is obsessed with creating new realities and new languages through space, time, objects and bodies. According to Jerez she is focused on constructing in space, but she cannot separate space from time.

Her main activity is the creation, but she also participates in various research, curatorial, publishing and teaching projects.


Dana Michel. Photo: Richmond Lam.

Dana Michel (CA)

Dana Michel is a choreographer and live artist whose works interact with the expanded fields of improvisation, sculpture, hip-hop, comedy, cinematography, dub, and social commentary to create centrifuge of experience.

In 2014, Michel was awarded the newly created ImPulsTanz Award in recognition for outstanding artistic accomplishments, and was highlighted among notable female choreographers of the year by the New York Times. In 2017, she was awarded the Silver Lion for Innovation in Dance at the Venice Biennale.  In 2018, she became the first ever dance artist in residence at the National Arts Centre, Canada. Based in Montreal, she is an associate artist with Par.B.L.eux.

Michel is currently touring two solo performance works, Yellow Towel and Mercurial George. She will premier her new solo performance work, Cutlass Spring, in 2019.


Keijaun Thomas. Photo: Walter Wlodarczyk.

Keijaun Thomas (US)

Keijaun Thomas’s work in performance, multimedia installation, and poetry explores the labor of black femmes in situations ranging from housework and hairdressing to athletic training and exotic dancing.

Her performances combine rhapsodic layers of live and recorded voice, and her poems slip between various modes of address, exploring the pleasures and pressures of dependency, care, and support. Thomas underscores the endurance and intimacy care work demands of those expected to perform it – predominantly black women, black femmes and people of color. Thomas is currently based in New York, NY.

Keijaun Thomas aims to build bridges of understanding, community and care through her pieces. Her work centers and focuses on self/communal care in real time and building safer spaces for black and people of color to rethink, rework and reflect on the collective ancestral memory, differences as well as make space for our similarities.


Mammalian Diving Reflex. Photo: Martin Steffan.

Mammalian Diving Reflex (CA)

Founded by Artistic Director, Darren O’Donnell in 1993, Mammalian is a research-art atelier dedicated to investigating the social sphere, always on the lookout for contradictions to whip into aesthetically scintillating experiences.

They are a culture production workshop that creates site and social-specific performances, theatre-based productions, gallery installations, videos, art objects and theoretical texts. Mammalian’s body of work is interconnected, varied and vibrant, reflecting the company’s unique and growing body of knowledge and expertise on the use and function of culture. In all its forms, the company’s work dismantles barriers between individuals of all ages, cultural, economic and social backgrounds and, using performance as their excuse, finds new ways of being together.

Mammalian Diving Reflex does not tour with finished projects, but creates each project anew in each location, in collaboration with local producers, artists, performers and participants.


SAVE THE DATES: 10.-15.9.2019

ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival will take place between 10-15 September. and the The new Shortlist LIVE! program takes place on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th and the winner of The ANTI Festival International Price for Live Art will be announced at the prize party on Saturday night. We hope you will join us in this exciting adventure!

Professionals planning a visit to the festival: For more info and help planning the visit dates, please contact jyri@antifestival.com.