UXO is an abbreviation of unexploded ordnance. It refers to unexploded bombs, grenades and land mines, which remain in the ground, ready to explode even decades after their use.

Like unexploded ordnance, modern reality is full of unexplained threats with no single clear cause. We live in an economic system based on continual growth on a warming planet, where the future is shown in the alternating light of technological utopias and impending disasters. The heating political atmosphere connects conflicts in unpredictable ways, and social tensions never fully discharge. A hyper-normalised media reality means that what was only recently exceptional is already the new normal. What does this constant excitement without a visual image flood sound like?

UXO is a sound ritual, which combines contemporary music and performing arts, experienced in total darkness. The electroacoustic work was premiered by the Awake Percussion quartet and chorus with live electronics as part of Helsinki Festival 2019 in Kattilahalli, Suvilahti.

Composition and sound design: Walter Sallinen
Libretto and dramaturgy: Klaus Maunuksela
Sound design and technology: Kaj Mäki-Ullakko
Set design and space planning: Jyri Sucksdorff
Production: Susanna Kuoppala
Conductor: Taavi Oramo
Awake Percussion: Petteri Kippo, Lauri Pekkarinen, Jerry Piipponen, Walter Witick
Choir: Sanni Kriikku, Sara-Maria Heinonen, Sonja Silvander, Juha Ekola, Antti Autio, Hannes Mikkelsson, Helena Puukka, Juha Pulli, Juho Keränen, Laura Sorvari, Noora Kauppila, Nooa Kekoni

Essay: On Darkness and Acceleration

by Klaus Maunuksela