Read a speech written by Päivi as “a man with a moustache which looks like the moustache of Kyösti Kallio” at the RaivioBumann (Raivio & Daniel Bumann) Hiljainen vieras / Silent Guest event. The performance was a part of Patsastellaan: Parties for Public Sculpture series organized by James Prevett (Taideyliopisto). The role of being just an actor/speaker felt nice.. I wasn’t as nervous as when I perform my own material.
Bought a Bastl Dude mixer for the upcoming Childrens Techno workshop (Teknomuskari) in Turku (NPTurku covers the expenses!). The mixer can also be used in Brussels next month. Made a website for our upcoming show wheredoyouwanttogofromhere.com. The Brussel gig is causing a lot of stress.. The recent attacks in Barcelona and Turku are adding to the mix. Working with horses is stressful, working with people is stressful and working in public spaces is stressful. To top it off, we are drafting strong arguments concerning the changing nature of public space (in relation to recent attacks) and framing climate change as a weaponized method of colonial dominance.
The booklist we’ve selected as our framework requires intensive learning. We are studying classics like Foucault, new material from Butler, new materialism/anthropocene inspired texts, the history of horses in European cities, re-reading Hribal and Eyal Weizman’s theories concerning the Arab Spring (The Roundabout Revolutions, Critical Spatial Practice 6, 2015). Majority of the text deal with infrastructure and how urban structures serve as authors of the modern self-regulating subjectivity. The texts (even the history of the horses) are centered around the concept of public assembly and examining how the concept of “the people” is build and used.
I guess part of the stress is caused by the indoctrination of these texts. Changing is stressful.. And I guess developing as an artist requires constant change.
Float like an artists, sting like an institution. #ॐ
The SOW: Blacksmith ed1 metadata .cvs asks for intensive work but I’ll try to have it ready by tonight. Witness evidences of labor online.
Shot video at the Helsinki mounted police crowd control training session in the morning. Inhaled training mace spray and horse manure. Horses marched through smoke and flags were waved. A gun was shot at random. The sun was low and the officers backlit. The event looked like a buddhistic ritual. I was offered the opportunity to join their training sessions with the defence forces. Unfortunately the session will take place on the same day as our Kontula Electronic gig. Morning with the horses and evening with techno. Art, spring, stress.
Dance lessons were fun and intensive. Learned some Pilates movements but hurt my wrist (The pain comes from poorly executed kettlebell lifts and unergonomic phone handling). Mr. Pilates believed that modern work and lifestyles have weakend our bodies and to fix us into shape he develloped the practice of Contrology (know today as Pilates).
During the process of disemboweling charismatic authorities as political organizers – A mass of physical authorities telling us how to live in our bodies has a emerged.
Wonder if there is some sort of Anarcolates out there which would aspire break our bodies? Movement is always relational (to body parts, others and spaces) which makes autonomy as a body impossible. Anarcolatic exercises would attempt to replace current relations with new codependencies. Such new codependencies should be toxic and work to free us from the temporality (history) of the body. Perhaps technology could be used to mutate us! A dancer providing and controlling the oxygen flow of an other with a pump serves as an simplified illustration.
They want us to use our bodies as keys. Fingerprints and iris scanners open doors.
The Cruel Radiance of What Is course came to an end. My last teaching gig was on Monday but all of the students skipped class! Only 2-4 students attended the course in general so their absence didn’t feel like a protest. People who joined the kettlebell workout were really delighted of the style of teaching I’m currently into. We met with Mikko, Miina & Arttu and two students yesterday for our final joined meeting. We ended up talking chop but the event was fun.
Visited Perfo performance event in Tampere on Thursday. Saw performances by Asko Nivala (a “failed Hannibal Lecter” / meet-is-murder cabaret), Suvi Suvereeni (a very fluid collaboration with Siri the intelligent personal assistant. A low key, personal approach to the technology yielded revelations on how the technology perceives us!), Tuuli Tuikka (an anti-art & anti-capitalism manifest on how nature and creative experiences are commodified. She shredded and packaged a flower into plastic containers) and Joulumaa (a four member noise ensemble doing a faux-ritualistic, holistic noise show. The sounds were too orchestrated for my taste and their stage work came of as flamboyant. I did get to see a 16 channel mixer being used as a percussion instrument, which is a novel sight).
After the festival I chatted with Janne Rahkila about rejoining the Perfo crew for next year. I’d continue working with the streaming system.. I’m hesitant about the gig. I don’t believe in live-video streams anymore. Perhaps I should make interviews of the artists as text and brief synopses of their performances instead. Also met with Timo Bredenberg and we had the last meeting of our “In the Flow” (Groys 2016) reading circle (some ideas in the book are useful but the authors style is too tandy).
I’m now preparing for a grant award event at the Taidehalli. I got a “The Young Artist Grant” from the Finnish Art Society. Also got a techo gig (with a workout theme) for next years Kontula Electronic. I’ll likely be joined by Kristian Ekholm (and Pietari if he finds the time. I haven’t talked about this with him yet). Also got news from Antoine that our Trans-Horse proposal for Signal festival is being processed by the production crew.
Uplifting news all around.
Filmed the morning shift at the mounted police force stables in Ruskeasuo. Cleaned a few boxes and got to help with police horse feeding.
Questioning the nature of reality with cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman podcast by YANSS is very provocative. It starts slowly but the talk packs a punch. Highlights are available also as text.
Followed the mounted police force of Helsinki trough the independence day rallies. Eight hours in minus five celsius weather and I only got one decent shot of the horses. A pair of geldings grooming each other, yellow back light and police lights reflecting from their facial armor plexiglass. The nationalist “612 freedom rally” was an eye opener.. Bigotry is winning.
Joined the “Paikan tuntu – Kohtaamisia unohdetuissa tiloissa” book lauch at the Orion movie theatre. Antti Möller who edited the near 200 page book hosted the event. He invited artists and people who had partisipated in various events of the three year long “Paikan tuntu” project on stage. The project and the event are organized by the Union for Rural Culture and Education and the book published be their sister organization Maanhenki. Möller interviewed myself and Hanna Johansson newly appointed Professor of Contemporary Art Research of the from the University of the Arts about how the role of artists has changed. Johansson has written a short text on the matter for the book. Her text is a cry for more serious strategies for cultural organisations and more challenging artworks (But it’s disguised as a celebration of the “Paikan tuntu” project).
Möller invited Marjo Priha on stage in behalf of the Helsinki Zoo organisation and asked her how had the artworks (made at the zoo over the course of the three year project by some 150 artists) had effected the site. She replied that she had come to understand that: “The skill of looking at things you don’t understand is skill which is best trough artworks” #ॐ. After the talks we watched video documentations of the project on the theatres big screen. My short about Päivi Allonen looked good and the audio worked too. It was zoomed to 4:3 size but served well. This was the first time I got to see my Panasonic GH3 footage I had shot on a big screen! With proper color grading it would serve even better.
Bought 100% cotton jeans and I have to learn how to stretch them.
Interesting text about the political-body-building in dance “Expressed in Fits” by Rachel Elizabeth Jones: “[…] the everyday traumas of racism, classism, and sexism live, at least in part, in the body; and the physical release of that trauma through dance is redemptive”.
Visited Susanna at the Etelä-Espoon ratsastuskoulu and she took me for a ride around the pond. Worked with the horse Emma and got my muscles sore. We did some stable work and discussed the technicalities of introducing horses on stage. Had a nice moment with the Awaited Son too. For the evening I went to the Helsinki International Horse Show with Hanna. It was a boring sports event merged with a cheap horse gear and accessory sales event. Food was bad and beer was expensive. Shot video of the event and I’ll make a post about the event for the Trans-Horse blog.
Videos of Antti Salminen investigating how art is going to change as we run out of oil, Eeva Anttila presenting dance as the ultimate post-fossil artform (she’s arguing in a modern fashion) and Jesse Sipola living the dream.
Learning “The Theory of Affordances” by James J. Gibson (The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception, 1979) in an effort to understand how animals change the way we perceive our surroundings. As we learn to work with the animal we are granted new “affordances” to the environment and collaboration between horses and humans build habits which benefit both species. Jussi Parikka cites J.J Gibson in his “Mutating Media Ecologies” (2015) article. The controversial concept of Niche Construction also offers interesting routes for investigation!
When investigating affordances I found a funny fitness project by Anne-Marie Skriver Hansen “Bringing Performance Art into Everyday Life Situations“.
Grey Cube Gallery documentations are completed! Fixed the Italian-to-Finnish translations with Viivi yesterday and send my final invoice to the Union for Rural Culture and Education. My favorite artist presentations was by Päivi Allonen and I also enjoyed taking with the Helsinki Zoo staff. During the summer Honkasalo-Niemi-Virtanen collectives residency documentations were cancelled but I’m overall satisfied with the project.
A lot of interesting ideas concerning the relations of animals and public institutions came up during the Zoo staff interviews but these complex talks didn’t make the final cut. I’ve written some down under the tag “Animals in the City“. The idea that the sites primarily goal is to build awareness of animals as individuals was build up through director Sanna Hellström interview. The Bear Castles that hosted the art exhibitions and events are now left unused and if someone is interested in presenting stuff there they should contact Katri Houtbeckers from the Zoo.
Helsinki Zoo staff and festival documentations:
I’ll meet up with the Union for Rural Culture and Education on the 26th for the “Paikan tuntu” book launch at the movie theater Orion. I was interviewed for the book by Antti Möller.
Visited “Suburbia – Lähiöperformansseja” exhibition by Antti Ahonen and Katri Kainulainen over the weekend. Came too late for Siiri Nevalaises after party piece but got to hear KOELSE drone noises. Many of the exhibition pieces were faux performance documentations and there was a tad too much repetition (Some photos from the exhibition available online). The photos mimicked street fashion looks and presented a hardcore-nostalgic view to the suburbs. Katri and her friend posed semi-nude in rough concrete surroundings. Unfortunately the contemporary fashion industry produces heaps of similar (and even more disturbing) imagery and styles present in the exhibition came off as rip-off’s of Vice magazine covers.
The fashion industry has appropriated the visual cues of performance art! The disturbing documentations such as Carolee Schneemann’s “Interior Scroll” (1975) has been normalized trough Vice magazines commercial interests in the niche and the perv’s. The best way to rebel against these processes is to produce documentations which look boring!
Had an interesting chat concerning photography workflow with Antti. His archive on flickr is packed with performance art, street art etc. event documentations and artworks. The huge cultural heritage collection he has build has been made intuitively. He does not “waste time” with color correction (he’s colorblind) and he trusts the camera’s/computers automatic sensory. This approach alleviates stress and enables him to take on performance documentation gigs rapidly.
Sometimes the winning move is to renouce the fight. #ॐ
Visited “The Museum of Nonhumanity” by Terike Haapoja & Laura Gustafsson and crew. The exhibition was translated in Finnish as “Epäinhimillisuuden museo”. The naming of their work was confusing as the piece was not concerned about non-human agencies. The stylish (meta-ironic) installation displayed technologies and cultural practices which are used divide, categorized and control human populations, sites and other organisms. “The Museum of Nonhumanity” showed a carefully selected series of historical events during which people have dehumanized and treated as animals in order to justify their control and slaughter. Texts and documents which were presented in the installation focused on statements and quotes made by warmongers and capitalist which presented the groups of people they wanted to control (or kill) as animals. These snippets of information were presented as evidence that our relations to animals are aligned with our relations to Others.
A gruesome part of the museum revealed that wild wolves and female soldiers of the Red Guards were discussed as pests. Apparently a lot of female soldiers of the Red Guards were killed during our Civil War in 1918. Their systematic slaughter was organized by the White Guard officials and they justified these monstrosities trough eugenics and saw it as a form of pest control!
Guests were handed catalogues which featured a nifty text by Giovanna Esposito Yussif which bashed museums as sites which use collections to justify the status quo of the regimes that fund them (The text didn’t discuss the fact that the same dynamics are evident in the majority of art that is made. Also museums are no longer dependent on their collections. They have converted in “event sites” which serve the public in a very similar fashion as the “The Museum of Nonhumanity”). The second text in the catalogue was by Salla Tuomivaara. She pleaded for empathy in human-human and animal-human relations. Unfortunately the artwork and the texts didn’t discuss the agencies of the animals or the human victims. There was no trace of their resistance and constant efforts to re-negotiate their treatment. Unfortunate animals and humans were presented as mere resources for colonial ambitions. The intent of the show was not to build awareness about the agency of animals – It presented a collection of methods and tools humans have used to instrumentalize their fellow beings.
Currently editing the Grey Cube festival documentations and zoo staff interviews. The process is dull and I’ve kept myself in high spirits by playing music. Song about the Przewalski’s horse (Human is always to blame). Melody is based on the Finnish original (on soundcloud) where the singing worked better but I’m reasonably happy with the new version too.
When I get stuck with editing, I continue with singing, when the falsettos fail I turn to blogging and from there back to editing. Swapping projects on the fly is more efficient than trying to fight through obstacles. Small successes in side-dish-project keep me moving and motivated to work. Side-dish-project enable me to take distance from problems and eventually work myself around them. As a result of multitasking aspects of my profession feel more like serious hobbies then labor. This is useful as I can engage with work tasks playfully and experimentally. I guess this is key for maintaining artistic productivity: To maintain creative productivity, you have to increase creative productivity (or some “less-is-more” shit like that).
“Today’s theory demands transformation” (or something like that) cries Groys in “In the Flow”. Last week featured many transformative experiences as we hosted the “Horse and Performance” course for students of the Theater Academy Helsinki together with Pietari. The week long contemporary-horse-culture course ended in a full day of horse-animal-human-exercises, which the eight participants had planned and conducted for our group. The day was long and I lost my bearing on which inputs and ideas were provided by the horses and which were of human origin. During one set of exercises I lost track of who was an animal. Reports and photos of the course are being processed and will be publicised on the Trans-Horse blog during the following weeks. The “Theatre and Dance” magazine will also publish a small text about the course.
Paula published the “The Bat Simulator” video last week (I’m the bat). The video got me dreaming of a new leather jacket. The one on the video was found on the street and has since been broken. Timo has published “Last Worker Standing” which casts an eerie look at the concept of “New Work”. He call it an “Dyst-ironical speculative fiction machinima”. I’m inspired to make a song to accompany the video (A Deep Time Marxistic Étude). Timo’s work would go together with Paula’s recent “Harmaja +10 länsiluode 35m/s” piece presented at Hippolyte gallery.
Playing around with “Deep time Marxism”. I explained the concept to Paula, as being 40% chitchat with Pietari and 60% of the “Dust and Exhaustion” article by Jussi Parikka, with some references to the concept of “Anthrobscene”. I made two educational videos about it. One for grooves and smoothes and the other for seduction and the weeps.
- The Deep Time Marxists of the Future
- Indoctrination to the Arts
We are preparing the “Horse and Performance” course for the Theater Academy Helsinki with Pietari. This time the course will be conducted inside a week which will push as to work even harder than last time (Here are the un-proofread notes of the course).
It’s impossible to justify zoo’s as a sites of animal conservation when the animals “natural” habitats are being destroyed. “In situ” conservation is the only option. Also, the zoo clings on to a claim that contemporary people have broken their relation with nature and that zoo’s are needed to build environmental awareness and empathy towards nature. This is a noble idea but based on cliches and it does even justify the captivity of exotic animals.
Zoo animals should be curated using regionally specific animals. The Helsinki Zoo should only keep horses! This would make for a world class attraction and benefit human-animal interactions.
Editing the Grey Cube Gallery documentations. The zoo’s director Sanna Hellströms talks very convincingly about her work. The way she defines the institutions function and value is very similar to what I hear art museum staff talk about their organizations. Zoos build environmental awareness, art museums build cultural awareness. Both are talked of using obscure yet convincing terms. During her talk the institutions vague role and relation to other public institutions appears like a majestic lighthouses that offer citizens the opportunity to navigate their relation to nature. I should get Maija Tanninen-Mattila (Director of the Helsinki Art Museum) and Hellströms into a panel and have them talk about their institutions for so long that the audiences perception on which is which gets mixed. Institutions are forged with obscurities.
Made a song about how institutions fold upon themselves.
Was invited by Pilvi Porkola to feature in her upcoming New Performance Turku party-performance.
What if we have learned to perceive animals as “individuals” only through zoos? All other relations with animals are collaborations, where we have personalized knowledge about a particular animals history and see it as a member of its group or resource orientated relations, where we approach animals as tools or food. The primary motive of the zoo is to present animals as individuals, lonely and out of context creatures (as we are). The isolation of animals is a performance we come to witness at the zoos. Through their loneliness and isolation we can find ease in our struggles.
The zoo is a vitally important public institution for building human-animal relations… Particularly for people who moved into cities in the beginning of the 20th century. When we were living in the forest, every animal we didn’t see posed a threat. The woods we filled with traces and smells of invisible enemies. The zoo presents the most threatening animals we can imagine in a human controlled habitat. The zoo makes animals visible. Only after we see the wolf in a controlled environment, we can begin to see it as something else then a hostile adversary fighting for the same resources we are. The individuals that suffer in the zoos protect their species.
Zoos provide us an opportunity to approach animals rationally. They are remnants of the enlightenment era, public sites which offer access to animal-relation-contemplation for all citizens. The zoo is not showing animals, this would be impossible because animals become something else when they are moved out of their habitat (context). The zoo is a non-site, which refers to actual habitats and portrays individual animals as representatives of their species. The zoo produces non-animals and it presents a collections of possible human-animal relations (This idea was addressed by Katrin Caspar during our Grey Cube Gallery interviews)! The generations of animals which have been born to the zoos consider it to be their natural habitat. They are more accustomed to representations of “habitats associated to their species” than wild nature.
Ate mealworms and house crickets cooked by Topi Kairenius at the edible garden insect event. The house crickets had been harvested from an Entocube. I was invited to present the Zoovision with cockroaches together with Marjo Priha from Helsinki Zoo. She gave the audience an introduction on how insects are involved in the zoo food production chain.
To make sense of what one sees around or to see what makes sense.
The craftspersons profession manifests as mastery <Every other trade fits in here> The artist profession represents failuri.
Human efforts of describing the past of the planet (and life on it) using geological evidence is hostile towards the autonomius (and possibly mysterious) processes of creation, decay and entropy buried in our planet’s crust. As a byproduct of geological research, materials are removed from the context where they auto-express themselves. These fragmented materials are then re-represented as evidence of geological and astronomical developments. As these snapshots of non-human processes are extracted from the soil and exhibited inside pure-human institutions they legitimize our species rein of the globe. Martin Howse‘s earthcomputer and psychogeophysics offer more sensible routes for interactions with the planet.
(This topic came into discussion with Päivi Allonen during interview for the Grey Cube Gallery exhibition at the Helsinki Zoo).
Editing the first interview of Honkasalo-Niemi-Virtanen for Grey Cube Gallery / Helsinki Zoo residency project. Hard work. Majority of artists I’ve interviewed over the years have refused to provide clear answers. I remember working on “The Second Forest Team” interviews back in 2010. The 5 min video required nearly 2 hours of footage and a week’s worth of editing. Artists seem to fear that they’ll lose something when they provide simplified answers about their work. Perhaps they see interviews as magical rituals which set a course for their processes.
Ironically the more obscure answers artists give the more power is passed t0 the editor, who is left to craft senseful statements from partially answered questions. When artists work obscurely they empower art institutions. The more complex an artist presents him/herself is the more staff is needed to build sense (Similarly, the less organized and offbeat an artist is the more legitimate professional art institutions appear). When an artist and a group become self organized, the economic balance shifts and they possibly begin to compete for the same funding.
Getting funds for making both art and sense about the art should be set as a goal for counter culture projects. Often organizations work with either art or sense but both remain victims.
A pleasing and nearly comprehensible video: “P vs. NP and the Computational Complexity Zoo“. Draws a solid connection between art, philosophy, computers and math.
Send a grant application to the City of Helsinki Cultural Offices to fund a short documentary about the Mounted police of Helsinki. The text was largely the same which I used for application for the Arts Promotion Center of Finland. I feel optimistic about getting this smaller (3500€) grant. I’ve been in contact with the Mounted police in Helsinki and they have agreed to interviews, so if I get funded this make for a really interesting summer job.
Wedding ring is a thing in tutorial videos! Currently learning about Novation Circuit and control surface supports on Premiere Pro. While browsing at the videos I noticed that across the tutorials the hands of the hosts feature wedding rings.