US by Ruby Ibarra feat.Rocky Rivera, Klassy & Faith Santilla showing respect for heritage and fighting for the rights of island women (an other song is calling for a revolution). Towards the end the US song they sing about genetics as a foundation of an uprising – Which makes me nervous. Her CIRCA91 record feels rough, my favorite is Brown Out. Stylistically an interesting comparison to Karen Hip Hop by Roe Hero and crew (from Kemi).
Finally completed a lengthy article about my experience of working as Environmental- / Land Art Conservator for the Strata project in Pinsiö 2013. A big part of that text is about the controversy caused by the Spiral Jetty conservation efforts. The text is currently being reviewed by Mustekala.org and if it passes I might translate parts of it into English too.
I contacted Dia foundation in New York and offered to prepare a presentation about the the work we did for the environmental artworks commissioned by Strata. In 2013 I worked in a team tasked to restore Up and Under (1998) by Nancy Holt and The Tree Mountain by Agnes Denes (1996). They haven’t replied yet… I guess they get a lot of contact requests from Environmental- / Land Art Conservator’s around the world.
Finnish Cultural Institute in New York is trying to arrange a meeting with the NYPD mounted police unit for me. We drafted a long letter together and I hope it’ll open a dialogue with them. I’ll start the visa application process tomorrow.
On route to Vyborg by invitation of Miina Hujala & Arttu Merimaa. Learning about Ruinenwert (it’s in an interesting relationship to Deep time Marxism). Reading The Value of Ruins: Allegories of Destruction in Benjamin and Speer (2003) Naomi Stead. The article made me think that the slogan Personal is political has a problematic relationship to fascism: Personal is political -mindset endorses the aestheticization of the political reality. The text made me also think that framing household chores as a form of labor was a bad move.. Where can we live if everything is work?
[…] that the ruin is not simply the remnant left over when monumentality has withered away, and that ruination does not necessarily entail a loss, but rather a shift in the meaning and monumentality of architecture.
A new aesthetic, or more pointedly a subversion of aesthetics, is
unveiled by the arbitrary processes of decay. In the dialectical image is also revealed the new ways of seeing produced by new technologies and materials. For Benjamin, it is through such violence that the present can be revealed to itself. Speer’s concern, however, is not for a specific and fleeting ‘now’, but for atemporality. The sudden presence of the present, glimpsed in the rusting reinforcing rods, is for him an unwelcome excision and framing of a moment from within a temporal continuum. Speer thus unwittingly reveals a truth crucial also to Benjamin – the temporality of a ruin is produced not only by the means of its destruction, but its original construction as well.
‘Allegories are, in the realm of thoughts, what ruins are in the realm of things’, he writes. Benjamin describes allegory as a form that has been progressively marginalised by the hegemony of beauty within aesthetics, an ascendancy exemplified in the aesthetic symbol.
Benjamin sees the allegorical sensibility as a means to defeat the totalising aims of symbolism; with its emphasis on transience, specificity, and the contingent world of lived experience, allegory provides a means to represent the frailty and finitude of human life.
[S]ince [Speers] ruins are designed to ‘inspire’ subjects a thousand years in the future with the same aesthetic affect he admires in the present, they are predicated on the belief that the citizens of the future will be no different from those of his own time. Tradition, for him, is based on conservation, on the perpetuation of an unchanging ideal. Benjamin’s understanding of historical subjectivity departs radically from Speer’s positivist, teleological view of history as continuous progress: the ‘allegorical mode’ allows him to express ‘the experience of a world in fragments in which the passing of time means not progress but disintegration.’
Given Benjamin’s ambivalent attitude towards destruction, there is some room for interpretation as to whether he regards the ‘destructive character’ as the positive instrument of divine violence, or some darker force. Is Speer the destructive character, or is the allegorist – read Benjamin – himself? The answer lies in the fact that for Benjamin destruction is never an end in itself, it is only ever a process required to free history from accretions of tradition and mythology.
Benjamin’s understanding of allegory as a critical strategy, a means of undermining or corrupting established traditions from within, lends it a crucial significance both to his philosophy of history and his critique of the aestheticisation of politics.
[…] Speer’s use of the ruin is ‘symbolic’ in that it aspires to the idealised, atemporal totality characteristic of Nazi Neo-Classical architecture. Allegory, for Benjamin, is not only counteraesthetic, but a counter to aesthetics and therein lies its particular strength in opposition to the ‘aestheticisation of politics’ he identified as a key characteristic of fascism.
For Benjamin, it is through the suddenness and shock of destruction that the subject emerges from the ‘dream’ of tradition and into modern life in the present. The stripping away of the ‘traces’ of tradition, the removal of ‘aura’, the sudden shock of awakening, all aspire, in Benjamin’s conception, to the emancipated state of the ‘new poverty’, where illusions are abandoned and the subject is presented to itself in the present. Ruin, both as verb and noun, process and object, thus exemplifies a mode of working and a field of possibilities for historical materialism.The process of ruination can be applied equally to the conceptual and to the objective world. This is the true meaning of Benjamin’s statement that ‘[a]llegories are, in the realm of thoughts, what ruins are in the realm of things’: criticism in the name of allegory is a process of conceptually ‘ruining’ the structures of affirmative argument and then of working through the [Are white tea-cups with putin prints criticism?]
Islamic feminism: A contradiction in terms? (2018) Djelloul Ghaliya. A interesting and troubling article. Some parts feel very critical towards islamic feminism but the text in general attempts to develop a new alliance with the movement.
Drawing on post-colonial criticism, Islamic feminism reveals how the trope of ‘saving Muslim women’ is produced by the colonial nature of power. However, any attempt to de-colonialize thought also requires transcending the notion of ‘post’ and looking at history ‘backwards’, as Achille Mbembe asks us to do. This process of transcending requires us, from the outset, to recognize ways in which the past is present and then to ‘unlearn how to learn’, so as to free ourselves from colonial bonds and enable the emergence of new perspectives in political imagination ‘in common’.
Islamic feminists may be a manifestation of a metamorphosis combining movements of secularization and Islamization. By waging their struggle against the patriarchy manifest in Islam and against the Islamophobia manifest in feminism, they are connecting the political and the religious in a way that de-sacralizes relations between genders and de-traditionalizes Islam.
French-speaking Belgian Muslim feminists make use of the religious repertoire both in order to reconstruct the ethnic bond (Islam as a driver of community solidarity) and to remove the bonds imposed by the ethnic and religious group (Islam as a generational link, accompanied by sexist practices). In all these examples, feminists find the source of their commitment in their ‘citizenship’, that is in their normative membership of a democratic system and in the principle of the equality of its members.
[…] the work needed to open up any prospect of de-colonial feminism that would include everyone, whether or not they are of Muslim culture, religion or tradition, would involve ‘unlearning how to learn’ and not relearning the same thing in some other way.
Islamic feminism seems, first and foremost, a place for intellectual deconstruction of patriarchal authority and racism, a place where these researchers and activists have striven to remove the category of ‘Muslim women’ from a subordinate position in order to be heard and recognized, above all by other feminists and anti-racists. But, as Soumeya Mestiri points out, they lack an audience.
Syntherjack.net schematics, pcb transfers and general tips. Seems like a very useful resource for eurorack diy!
How Modern Art Serves the Rich (2018) Rachel Wetzler.
It’s no coincidence that the world’s most prominent art collectors include Walmart heiress Alice Walton; the Sackler family; Poju Zabludowicz, whose family fortune has its origins in arms dealing; and hedge fund founder Daniel Och, whose firm paid millions of dollars in bribes to government officials in several African countries in exchange for mining rights. No doubt they’d rather be remembered for their patronage of the arts than for profiteering off human misery.
Successfully traded my Novation Circuit to a Arturia Drumbrute. Working towards new sonic realms. Particularly interested to experiment with polyrhythms and randomness. The sounds are nice too and I hope I can get them to work with my other gear.
Documentation of the Techno music school for NPTurku is online.
Eurorack Workshop seems like a solid resource for “learning electronics to build modular synthesizer modules”.
A ‘Grueling and Grotesque’ Biohacking Experiment (2018) Emily Buder.
Call for Action: Key Moments in Estonian Performance seminar at Kiasma by Anu Allas (Kumu) and Maria Arusoo (Center for Cont. Art Estonia) was a tad unbalanced. The presentation felt like a marketing event and suffered from technical difficulties.
Allas opened the event by explaining that Estonia was “The West of the Soviet Union” and that artists generally enjoyed the protection of the state and their experimentations (influenced by John Cage and the Fluxus-movement) were condoned and encouraged. She presented Pirita beach as an important venue and explained how the artists of the 70ies were influenced by Western art: “They just heard what artists in the West had done and tried to do something similar”.
The humorous nature of early performance art was underlined but unfortunately the political nature of this humourness was not identified as a method for organizing soviet underground art (Crusaders’ School of Pure Humour Without Joke in Prague is one example, Natalia Lach-Lachowicz from Poland an other). Allas claimed that there was no underground arts in Estonia. She mentioned artists Jüri Okas (Water Man, 1971), Siim-Tanel Annus and Raoul Kurvitz. The last two were presented as key figures of the post-soviet performance scene: “The Western art world expected that after the collapse of the soviet union these kinds of physical artist, manifesting raw creativity would emerge. They thought that this kind of expression had been suppressed by the soviet regime and wanted to witness it being liberated”.
Jaan Toomik (my guru from 2007) was mentioned as a god-father figure of Estonian contemporary art. He was framed as an “export artist”, a male hero of his time. We saw extracts from “Dancing Home” (1995) and “Dancing with Dad” (2003). I like both works (A lot of Estonian classic performance art can be found online). His work was presented as “responsive”, in comparison to feminist artist of today whos practice was presented as “reflective”. Valie Export Society was referred to but unfortunately the presentation didn’t cover their work in detail.
It occurred to me that “location sensitive art” made in post-soviet / peripheral-west countries is a perverse form of nationalism. Artist utilize western proven styles to exhibit their personal freedoms (which is often framed as creative violence against status quo). In this process their audiences can identify how these styles differ from the local culture and values and feel different (from the west) but the same (as the westerners). Post-soviet artists are celebrate for their creative independence but their value is judged based on how they received by western audiences.
Note: “Location sensitive art” came about as a concept in a discussion with Kristian. He told me about his trip to Ahmedabad and explained that locals navigate the city (and their lives) following a contextual map. Their caste, profession and religious prophecies determine what is possible for them, where, how and at what time of the day they can move. Kristian explained that westerners are “not location sensitive”, they believe that they have the responsibility to test the world.
The rest of the presentation was off balanced. Arusoo referred to Ene-Liis Semper, Flo Kasearu, Kris Lamsalu and Maria Metsalu but their work were presented in a form of a sales pitch: “She has refused to perform this work many times […] you at Kiasma are very lucky to have her here…” etc.
The history of Estonian performance art came off as a narrative on how a fringe ex-soviet society became an incubator for generic western aesthetics and styles: “Now we are equal to every other european country, many artists who work locally feel left out.. This is why there is now interest to developing collaborations with other ex-soviet countries”. Non Grata was not mentioned (as a member of the Estonian performance art family) and for some reason events between 1970-1990 were not discussed.
On Progress and Historical Change (2017) Ada Palmer.
Successfully build a Boss FS-6 Clone.
Started working on Workers Stretching -series in preparation of Neighborizome activities.
Johannes Ekholm is the sound of my generation, a living reminder that the yuppie-agenda spans over generations. #unemployed
We are working to get a modular synthesiser system for public use at the new Center Library Ode. The idea that the library should have a modular came about in an easygoing chat with Mikko. After the talk I wrote an email to the Ode staff and for the past four months I’ve worked with musicians and serious hobbyist in an effort to design a modular system which would suit needs of library audiences (the sound requirements of professionals, artists and hobbyist). The library was excited about our first draft and asked for a more developed proposal. Last night our working group made plans for a complex system and we will present this idea for the library next month. If everything goes as planned there will be synths to borrow too!
Successfully build a Kastle 1.5 and a dip switch controllable splitter/mixer of my own design.
– We saw a Morris Mini at our after school club parking yard. It had a bumper sticker which read: “When I grow up I’m going to be a BMW”. I thought it was funny because BMW manufactures minis.
– Did you explain him that? That he need not worry. That he’s already the car of his dreams.
– No dad. I didn’t have time. The sticker also read that the name of the car was: “Bob”.
– Next time you see it you can tell him that “Bob” is the name his slave master gave him and that his true name is know only to himself.
Dark Kitchen: Making friends with microbes (2018) Mark Watson interviews Eva Bakkeslett about fermented foods (Usefull for Neighborizome development).
Fixed my Dremel following a tutorial, grinded Fjällraven logos away from my jacket buttons and polished them.
Jesse was selling his art at the Senaatintori open-air market during the summer. A tourist from USA asked if he could pay for an item with dollars. “People laugh at Americans who believe that they can pay for stuff using dollars in Europe. But Americans are right. I accepted his dollars with out hesitation!” He told me (Bitterness and revenge = Class awarenesses and success). He gave me the dollars so that I can use them in New York but I’m thinking about framing them.
At first I thought that museums in Finland were interested in graffiti because it provides a simplified approach to postructuralism and the performativity of the public space: Everything is text. Top-down design of public spaces enforce normative behaviour. Artists are no longer geniuses, everybody must be granted the right to author public space etc.
But unfortunately it seems that museums are interested in graffiti-artist for very different reasons. They fit the role museums have reserved for artists of the past. Museums present them as avantgarde underdogs fighting for our right to express ourselves. Justice warriors without economical interests, emitting pure creativity. The first approach was oversimplified but the latter is offensive.
How Facebook Is Killing Comedy (2018) Sarah Aswell.
The other solution, which seems crazy, is for there to be a meta organizing campaign, where media companies band together and refuse to post on Facebook, essentially going on strike and withholding their labor until they are compensated. These media companies need leverage against this massive entity that is eating their lunch. That’s the labor problem.
There’s a reason that Mad magazine looks different from Vanity Fair. They need to convey a different aesthetic and a different tone for their content to really pop. Facebook is the great de-contextualizer.
My biggest concern about the normalization of sex-robots is that capitalist will use them to provide the labor-force with ad-hoc emotional and sexual companionship, at the same time they’re advancing working conditions which make long-term human-to-human relationships difficult to arrange and maintain. A dystopia where AI’s serve capitalist interests is portrayed in the Blade Runner 2049 film. The protagonist K condones humiliating working conditions thanks to the loving support of his AI hologram girlfriend Joi. K is motivated to work so that he can afford to upgrade her with a piece of tech that will allow her to move outside their house. Joi’s character can be read as criticism of processes which seek to commodify feminist movements. The device she uses to move outside (or project herself outside) looks like a futuristic ipod nano.
It’s not freedom if you need to buy something to achieve it #ॐ