20200128

I’m working on a Trans-Siberian Rails and Stations 2019 sound pack for Freesound.org. Currently adding descriptions and meta-data (locations & tags) to the files. I have some three hours of raw material to work trough (excluding a 40 min interview with our train steward, which I wont release yet). Majority of the clips are 5 min long and they focus on complete work cycles (eg. break check at a station, bathing in a toilet) and ambiences from different locations (eg. restaurant wagon, cabin by night). Majority of the sounds were captured during our 180 hour return trip Vladivostok-Helsinki.

There are a some Trans-Siberian train related clips and a lot of train sounds on Freesound. Martin Sadoux has released a nice collection Russia Trans-Siberian Train in 2018. He has a good recording from the open third class wagons (which I don’t have). The collection I’m prepping will compliment previous releases well. I’m particularly proud of my recording of a break check at a station and I also collected a lot of interesting announcements. I also have some special sounds like the rattling of a samovar (using contact mics).

Miina made an interesting remark about my collection. Finnish explores of the early 20tieth century collected geological samples in hopes of finding untapped resources and items made by other cultures or groups to develop ethnic narratives. Bringing stuff back home and displaying it for the public was an important gesture in the process of producing cultural capital for the developing Finnish state. Displaying stuff others had made here, illustrated our distance. The act of displaying stuff and material, validated the work of the explorers. Many ethnographic museums got started this way and the contemporary souvenir business echoes this.

My delight over a break-check sound, is a delight over a conquest of a rare resource! Field recordings can be identified as a geological-like resource. Controlled distribution of this resource makes it possible for me to harvests cultural capital. Could this resource be put to good use? I don’t see hope in returning to esrek-like lisencing models. How could I share the material in a non-exploitative manner?

Spotted interesting eurorack projects on the Freesound blog. CTAG Strämpler is a module which connects to the Freesound API and allow users to download sounds directly from the service. BeagleBoom works in the same. Really interesting and specific devices.  I’m tempted to make an eurorack module which would only play sounds of particular event. A module dedicated to playing news reels and interview covering a specific public protests or animal? YLE should make something similar for their archive.

20200122

Private arts supporting foundations and the Arts Promotion Center of Finland offer grant writing workshops for individual artists and working groups. I’ve been to a few info-events and they are useful, particularly if you are new to the scene. I’ve learned that when you write for one organization you can easily reformat your texts to fit in the procedures of another. Many of them use the same web platform for application submissions, which means that mismatches are easily resolved. Only a paragraph here and there might need work. One organization might look for proposals which support local cultural practices (nationally defined) and an other seek to advance a particular artistic medium or field (design/performance). Adding emphasis is a cosmetic manoeuvre. My desire can be to work in public spaces and I can sincerely frame this as a “localized cultural practice” or an attempt to “make performance art more accessible”. This does not affect what I’m doing (making space public) or how I view my own work.

I understand why funding organizations call for proposals with specific goals. They serve their mission and align with policies that are set by the state or the city. The same cosmetic manoeuvres are at play on both sides. Understanding budgeting, project management and how to frame artistic aims within an organizations mission is good to learn. Writing an application is learning how institutions think. There is always a chaotic element involved. Even when you follow guidelines and your peers review a proposal, it can (and most likely will) get rejected. Organizations don’t offer feedback for individual artist (feedback is sometimes provided for associations which employ people). The best feedback I’ve received has been from peers who have worked in the proposal evaluation boards. Most of them say that short and easy to read texts work best. Most of them have also revealed that luck is very much involved in the process.

I enjoy developing proposals. The writing process sets a trajectory for my work and keeping my CV updated is good for maintaining an archive on where I’ve been and with whom I’ve traveled with. But recently I’ve begun to wonder who is teaching the foundations and the arts promotion centers to read applications? I fear that people who have money get to decide what will happen next. I only have the power to make proposals. This is a good power but only sends weak signals.

20200115

Polttava taide [Burning Art] (2020) Jenni Nurmenniemi. The text is passionate and echoes a strong commitment to the development of ecologically sustainable curatorial work. Nurmenniemi wants to engage in situated and localized practices. I like the part where she underlines that environmental matters should not be addressed as a “theme” because ecologies are about relations and connections. My presentation on Land-Art Conservation at SOLU is referred, which feels nice. Towards the end of the text she brings up a Haraway-ian idea that art could serve as a compost: It returns ideas into circulation. I believe art can help in creating containers for obsolete concepts (nation state, capitalism etc.) and help in disintegrating them into less toxic models (eu, socialism etc.).

But I think the process is challenging because, actual artworks have a weird relationship to the future. Many artistic gestures are imagined as eternal – Which is why they don’t make for good compost. I’m not talking about materials (Bronze or Wood). I’m talking about concepts, which I believe can be more harmful because they refuse to degrade. Concepts are zombies. I guess this idea is derived from a weird reading of Serres: He argues that objects are made to prevent social change. I don’t know if Serres views concepts as objects but I think bad habits, like eating meat, should be understood as such. The resources needed to maintain the habit rely on and bind to particular infrastructure (fossil fuels).

A performance artwork is defiantly an object. It is used as such and can even be commissioned as a classical monument. Gestures, like walking on the moon make for great monuments, they align perfectly with neoliberal fantasies of future service economies (More specifically to the postwork without communism -utopia). More work should be done in developing ways to digest and compost concepts and the habits they are bind to. This might be a useful expansion to the popular process of decommissioning modern authorship. Paradoxically: The best way to compost a concept might be to make it into a object, so that it can be destroyed. I’ve tried to write about this before.. Exploring how documentation of live art, situates it and makes it conceptually malleable (less modern).

Interestingly, if concepts can be objects then humans (with their skills) can be infrastructure! #ॐ Makes complete sense to me.

20200113

Had the pleasure to meet Kaisa Luukkonen by chance and got a rundown on the Göteborg performance art and independent gallery scene. One of the biggest differences is that in Göteborg artist run gallery boards are formed trough invitations, which makes it difficult for the newly arrived to enter the scene. The arrangement is said to forster commitment but by Kaisas account the board member activity level is the same as in Finland. The more secluded system produces exhibition-venues-as-scenes and their curatorial programs feel repetitive. Joined Kaisa for the Gathering of Fables exhibition opening by Marja Patrikainen at Oksasenkatu 11. After learning about Göteborg I appreciate Oksasenkatu even more. Kaisa had made a interesting observation, many of her dyslexic friends are fascinated by open reel-to-reel tape recorders. This makes sense for some reason.

Learning everything I can, as fast as I can about the Raspberry Pi. Got a nice script running Raspberry Pi – Auto WiFi Hotspot Switch Internet (2017-) which scans if there is a home-wlan available and if it fails to find one, starts the device as a wireless access point. Works well and makes me confident to imagine using the device in field conditions (leaning about sensors in hopes of building a wild water analysis kit). Also tested RaspAP but couldn’t get it to work.

Build an audio amplifier using a pre-assembled pam8403 unit. On start up it draws so much power from the Raspi that I get a throttled=0x500005 error message. I’ll attempt to use a regulator circuit to limit the temporary voltage drop. Used a 3Ω resistors as a “inrush current limiter” on the +5v rail which supplies power to the amp. I tested various values starting from 10Ω but 3Ω seemed to work well enough.

Got Conky working using these tips (made my own config for it) and build a PWM Regulated Fan Based on CPU Temperature to keep the device healthy while on for long. Also revived a 2012 tablet battery using these tips (and flashed a new rom to use it for VNC). Patchbox OS by Blokas.io should support Raspi 4 soon and I’m hoping to install it in a dualboot arrangement (using PINN). For now I’m satisfied with fiddling in Pure Data Sunvox (which feels responsive and fun to use).

Managed to grind Finlandia Hall marble or Chalk stone from Porvoo to a fine powder, to corrode it into tap water it my high pressure carbonator. Tastes chalky. Salvaged the stones from an environmental artwork on the Malminkartano hill called The Winds and The Points of the compass (1998) Hanna Vainio. I was under the impression that all of the white stones on the hill were marble leftovers from the previous Finlandia Hall outer shell conservation effort. But apparently the marbles have been mixed with chalk stone pebbles. I think the darker samples are marble as they should be more sensitive to the elements. I should get some confirmed Finlandia hall marble to run some experiments.

Experimenting with DIY orthopedics. Made arch support shoe insoils using 100% silicone and cornstarch (for fast curing). Not perfect yet, I’ll have to make new casts to confirm my findings. I’m trying to combat anti-bodybuilding effects of precarisation (mentioned earlier) by emerging as a plastic-bodyborg.