Which room should you sing a serenade to? After seeing the installation performance „Kapriisid II” by Mihkel Ilus and Henri Hütt in Kanuti Gildi SAAL, I imagined several mayors who would wish to dedicate a work of art to a venue, be it City Hall or a school. At least, it is obvious now who to turn to if one thinks their place is not appreciated enough. Of course, the question remains if Mihkel Ilus and Henri Hütt would wish to create a performance of love consisting of dance and installations to the City Hall, National Library, or Gustav Adolf Gymnasium. Two men examine Kanuti Gildi Saal, perform for it and become it. Why not become Viru Centre? Tallinn University? These spaces are worthy of their own song, a work of art, an expression of love, in their own way.

The truth is, one can play in and with Kanuti Gild, not that it is impossible in other places. But there is something here that makes you play, or should we say someone, Priit Raud, but nevertheless. In the 13th century, no one could have imagined that in this hall Mart Kangro would once dance and ask the audience if he was dancing well enough („Talk to Me” 2012). Shortly, this room has become a synonym of progressive performing arts. At least, that is how they like to call themselves. So, it is logical why Kanuti functions as both a venue and a lead character. What else would Henri Hütt pay homage to than a place of performance?

The performance consists of three parts – the one acted and existing in the room, the one highlighting what is in the room, and the one taking you to other rooms. It all elicits a range of emotions. Be it an acting wall and a moving red curtain – in one case in white shoes, in another in black sneakers – it comes across in a haunting and weird way. When I was a child, I imagined how my school, which had been an inn some hundred years before, would be filled with drunkards, an innkeeper, and horses. Meaning, there would be another place where I mostly spent time learning calligraphy with a fountain pen. Kanuti Gild is also a space, which has had a bit different function than a venue for contemporary progressive dance and performance as it has since 2002. Stories of 13th century craftsmen might flow out of these walls, but it has not happened, as they were not that important in this sense. Just like in my school, the horses and the innkeeper were not important. Times have changed.

But this wall and this red curtain specifically – both reminded me of something that was there before Kanuti Gildi SAAL. Of course, not craftsmen, this just wouldn’t be appropriate for a progressive fort, would give it too much of a folksy taste. Henri Hütt and Mihkel Ilus are not folksy. Rather, they are artists who keep pointing at something, which may have been and maybe still is. An Aura. This is what they sing a serenade to. This is what they put a few disco-balls glittering to. This is made a beautiful place. A lover in fancy clothes.

It is odd that the favourite space of performers (that can be said of Kanuti Gildi SAAL) is carried around – a new meaning is given to it. A miniature model of Kanuti Gildi SAAL is literally taken with while going fishing. That is how the people present experience something metaphysical becoming physical. We all have carried our favourite space with us all over the world. Mihkel Ilus said in an interview that it is strange how he wants his own room, how he does not want to move again. Only time separates Ilus from the most famous yearner for her own room – Virginia Woolf. Nevertheless, the own room with Henri Hütt seems to be this three-window hall, with and in which anything can be done. Spread the glint of disco-balls, groan under a friend’s wrist, draw pictures on a sheet of paper with a video projector. Play.At the same time, everything above can be seen as calling out the performances of Kanuti SAAL. The moving wall, disco-ball, fishing trip, and the original quote where Hütt literally crushes Ilus. This has all been done before, but maybe not so poetically intertwined in this hall.

Photo by Emer Värk.