Edits on the SOW: Blacksmith sample pack are progressing steadily and I’ll have all of the samples chopped by the end of the week. After this I’ll continue with mastering. EQ fixes are almost done but the dynamics of some loud machines and hammers pose a challenge. After the fixes I’ll export the samples and continue organizing them into folders and adding​ metadata. If everything goes as planned we can publish the pack by the end of the month. I plan to make a intro video for the collection at Jesses smithy.

Did some benchmarking and found a few companies and private artists offering blacksmith sounds and other industrial noises for sound designers and musicians. Some of these links have been collected by Paul Virostek who runs the Creative Field Recordings blog.

  • Freesound offers 134 sound tagged “blacksmith” for Free!
  • Bluezone Corporation offers the “Metal Impact Sound Effects” pack for 14,95€
  • Eiravein works offers the “Ilmarinen” Blacksmith sample pack for 16€
  • Echocollectivefx’s offers the “Lockdown” sample pack for 40€
  • Hart FX offers a massive “Hart of Steel” collection for 99€

Minttu also recommend a Finnish ​musician who is working with junkyard sounds called Pentti Dassum. He works under the title Umpio and he’s currently engaged in a sounds of craft and labor project related to textiles.

I regret we didn’t use more professional mics for our recordings. The tonality of our samples is suitable for projects that are flirting with lo-fi field recording aesthetics. If we’d invested in more advanced mics we could could have reached out to the professional foley artist community too. Our efforts will provide a great addition to the Freesound community.

Assisted Ilkka Wahala (a graduate from the Kankaanpää Art School) with his real/simulation shooting documentation. He had organized a shooting range, an instructor and guns from Osuva a range located in the center of Helsinki. He shot with a Scorpion Assault Rifle and a pistol. I got to shoot too but only with a training gun. It was fun and the staff was very welcoming. Relatively cheap too.

Meeting Kristian at the gym in preparation of the Kontula Electronic gig.


Thanks to aesthetic relativism it’s considered pointless to make formal evaluations of artworks. This is great! As a result artists are considered more important than artworks (unfortunately art institutions prefer their artists dead).

Contemporary artworks are cynical puns, which an artist is employed to present for audiences. Audiences are invited to enjoy the style the pun is presented. This condition serves craftspeople who maintain myths about the integrity of artistic work (and performance artists).

People who are serious about arts compare contemporary presentation to presentations the artist made in the past. This is why it’s important to make a lot of artworks.

When there is an exciting body of work it is easy to imagine how new pieces fit to the collection. It’s more convenient to discuss (and appreciate) artworks made by artists with long careers. Careers and collections are less risky to manage then living artists.

Interestingly many of my artist peers are working out extensively. Fitness is the new black (See article on Vogue for hints). Is fitness.art an effort to bypass cynicism which aesthetic relativism enforces upon artistic practice?

Bodybuilding and fitness appear as efforts to assume control of the cultural dynamics aesthetic relativism has shoved us into. Fit bodies are absolute and their presentation serves as evidence of labor: Fit bodies can stand to oppose capital by becoming capital in themselves! Hints for this thought are found in an article by Jon Stratton (mentioned earlier).

I’m recovering from a teaching gig at the Kankaanpää Art School, where I conducted intensive Kettlebell exercises for the students. I think the primary reason for fitness as a part of the art education was to build bodies which can resist. See “Media & Performance” study journal for details.

I believe this is also why working class communities emphasised sports back in the day. As the automation of labor and ideologies of optimization and efficiency rejects our human bodies – The value of a body is the style it is presented in.


About to Dance: Swing of Politics (2008) Pia Lindy.

Alas there is hope. I’m planning to join the Miesten kurssi contemporary dance course at Zodiak.

Useful stuff for the “Performance and Media” course at Kankaanpää Art School and upcoming Kettlebell techno art: Building a Better Body: Male Bodybuilding, Spectacle and Consumption (1999) Jon Stratton.

The worker may spend her or his workweek laboring in a factory […] but when she or he goes to the shop to buy something the commodity being bought does not remind the workers of her or his labor and does not seem to have an origin outside the shop. The consequence is that social relations in capitalist society are mediated by commodities rather then thought of as a consequence of the organization of labor in capitalism. In short, the commodity is naturalized.

At the Chicago’s World Columbian Exposition [1893] two events took place that, retrospectively, may be understood as important moments […] of the spectacularization of the female and male bodies […] One was the first performance of belly dancing […] [which] marked an important step in the development of the striptease […]

It is at this historical moment that we find a new interest in the display of the male body. [Florenz] Ziegfeld promoted [Eugen] Sandow not as the world’s strongest, but as the world’s best-developed man’ […] Sandows’ act now hardly involved any feats of strength. Rather, it consisted of a series of poses. (More on Sandow)

The key to the spectacle of Sandow […], lies in the promotional description of Sandow as the world’s best-developed man. […] the male body was associated with productive labor, men being thought of ideologically as workers. The spectacle of the bodybuilding male body condensed and narrativized a story that involves labor, the natural, the manufactured and the commodity and that may be understood through Marx’s theory of commodity fetishism […] In modern Western thought, development has utopian ring to it. It connects with the ideas of progress, of modernization brought about by building or rebuilding and , ultimately with the idea of ‘developed countries’.

The commodified world is thought of as fundamentally unnatural […] satisfaction brought by these commodities is a consequence of their connection to a regime of fantasy […]. For the satisfaction to be realized, the desire must be naturalized, which means that the fantasy must, itself, take on a natural quality. […] In this context we can understand the bodybuilding body as mythically [Q: Mythically in regards to what? Walter Benjamin’s ‘mythical violence’?] attempting to combine the natural and the unnatural. […] the developed body, the bodybuilt body, is manufactured worked on by labor.

[…] the bodybuilt body seeks to resolve the unnatural, in the sense of the manufactured, into the natural. […] it asserts its production, offering itself, like a commodity, as a spectacle to be desired; not necessarily to be ‘acquired,’ by way of emulation […] but to be consumed as a spectacular creation of labor. Here, then, we have a narrative about labor. […] the body is transformed by its own labor into a manufacture body, which is at the same time, both natural and unnatural, simply a body but also a spectacle and a commodity.

[…] the myth of the bodybuilt body is premised on the idea that bodies can be (re)made. […]

Underlying the development of bodybuilding as a spectacle is the conceptual history of the body as a machine. […] During the nineteenth century the machinic understanding of the body was modified to that of a productive engine […] which produced, conserved and used up energy.

Toward the end of the nineteenth century the body began to be thought of as a machinic product rather than a machine of production. […] Anthony Synnott, noting that the first Model T Fords were produced in 1907, argues that ‘the automobile transformed thinking about the body’. However, this gets the relation the wrong way around. The car provided the ideal metaphor for the body, thought of as machine, but now being thought of also as a product/commodity.

[…] ‘the term ‘body maintenance’ indicates the popularity of the machine metaphor of the body. Like cars and other consumer goods, bodies, require servicing, regular care and attention to preserve maximum efficacy.

Cars are a means of transport, likewise bodies transport the person –that is, the mind, the privileged portion in the Cartesian dyad– through their lives.

[…] Arnold Schwarzenegger describes his attitude towards building his body: ‘You work your body the way a sculptor would work on a piece of clay or wood or steel. You rough it out –the more carefully and thoroughly, the better– then you start to cut and define. You work it down gradually until it’s  ready to be rubbed and polished’. Here Schwarzenegger thinks of his body as an artistic product rather than a commercial product […].

[…] the connection with art was not new. When Sandow appeared in ‘Adonis’ [musical], the New York newspapers described him as ‘having the beauty of a work of art’ […] The claim that the bodybuilt body is a work of art legitimates its development for the purpose of display. Unlike art, commodities are expected to be functional, to have a purpose beyond that of spectacular display.

[…] in 1898, Sandow started a magazine titled Physical Culture. In his first editorial Sandow described the ultimate aim of physical culture as ‘to raise the average standard of the race as a whole’.

Here [at the Gym] assembly-line practices are used to rebuild the body bit by bit. If the mirrored walls of the gym allow self-inspection, film enables others to inspect. Here it is the labor process itself that is inspected […].

The new understanding of the body –in particular the male body– as a product, rather than simply a producer of products, was fundamental to the development of bodybuilding. […] the male bodybuilt body started to be generalized, something exemplified in the popularity of films starring male bodybuilders from the mid-1970s.

The bodybuilt body is alienated from the self, a product that can be worked on and examined in a mirror […]. As [Alan] Klein sums it up: ‘Alienation is, in [bodybuilding], brought to new heights. The self is distinguished from the body, the body beaten into submission. Richard Dyer puts it like this: ‘The point is that muscles are biological, hence ‘natural’ and we persist in habits of thought, especially in the area of sexuality and gender, whereby what can be show to be natural must be accepted as given and inevitable… However developed muscularity –muscles that show– is not in truth natural at all, but is rather archived’.

The naturalization of the male bodybuilt body in the twentieth-century West operates in the context of the naturalization of consumerism and of the commodities that are consumed. In this process the labor power that manufactures the product is mustified. The traditional gendering of the bodybuilt body as male is, among other things, a function of the ideological claim that the commercial labor is a male domain. […] Like the consumer who hopes that the purchase of a commodity will improve her or his life, the bodybuilder hopes that his labor will improve his body as he develops it. Here, the distinction between production and consumption is elided as the bodybuilder acquires his rebuild body.


Autochthonic Fantasy (2016) Arttu Merimaa.

Kirjastoessee (2016) Pilvi Porkola.

Preparing for “Performance and Media” course which I’ll host next month in Kankaanpää Art School. Feeling stressed.. It’s taking a lot of time to sort out practicalities and the time would be better spend making fun art stuff (like preparing the SOW: Blacksmith ed.1).

I’ve planned that we’ll… Make six intensive workouts at the Kankaanpää gym (working with kettlebells), make 3d renderings of meditation stools (later construct them) and work with sketchup to design imaginary objects (later meditating on them). It’s a fun program to conjure but stressful to organize. At the same time I’m mentoring a group of five graduating students with their thesis related artworks. So far I’ve written 12 pages of emails and spend 63 hours on mentoring tasks and travels to Kpää (I’m using a nifty work scheduling application to measure the exact working time). I don’t think they are reading my emails and on my visit there last week I learned that half of the group hasn’t started working yet.

It takes six hours to travel to Kankaanpää by bus. It would be more practical to organize my course for an academy in Berlin etc. The travel time would be more reasonable. Still.. I enjoy the idea that somewhere there is a polytechnic university which offers free art education for people who live in the middle of nowhere. Globally it doesn’t make any sense to have an art university in Helsinki either. I should make a travel video about Kpää and show it friends visiting Helsinki. The site puts contemporary art into perspective. On a map the city is at the same level as Greenland.. It’s among the most northern universities of applied sciences offering education on performance art. I guess Tromsø is the most northern – But Norway doesn’t count because they have oil money, which makes space and time are manageable.


Visited palvelus – ritual event last night at TeaK by invitation of Matilda Aaltonen. The event was three hours long and required intensive physical engagement. The group had designed a contemporary faux-ritual which was rooted in existing ceremonies exercised by various religious and other spiritual orders. The group had attended some ceremonies during the rehearsal phase and their show was framed as an open-source/mishmash ritual, built from elements copied from exiting ceremonies. This approach, the costumes we were invited to wear and pompostrous choreographies we were thrown into, felt kitschy. The kitchiness helped me to immerse in the experience! During the event we danced to techno in a space hut and exercised meditation/yoga breathing techniques. The event ended with a communally prepared supper.

The artwork was a protest against recent political efforts which seek to turn art into a social service or a tool for social wellbeing. In such plans the primary intent of art is to ease work related stress and build motivation. “Palvelus-ritual” worked very well as a protest! It claimed that if art is politically forced to serve the wellness in the public, a natural result of this process is that it becomes a faux-spiritual holistic ritual. In this future KELA (the social insurance institution offices) would have shamans as consultants and guests would have to perform spiritual dances to receive welfare benefits.

I’m preparing a 20 min speech for Hollo-institutes spring seminar on utopian-art-education by invitation of Maaretta Riionheimo (Whom I met through KOM-theater Vuosaari project). I’m working on a manifest on speculative new-material pedagogy and pushing animals to the mix too: Adjunct Professor The Awaited Son is in the game! I’ll be on stage in Gloria before professor Eeva Anttila (TeaK) and emeritus professor Kari Uusikylä. A tough mix to crack with mere artistic merits. I’ll work the crowd with pictures of horses, it never fails.

Concerning teaching.. I’ve been working actively with a group of five graduating students from the Kankaanpää Art School. I’ve been in periodic contact with them from early autumn onwards. Meetings have been organised on skype and in Helsinki. The group is very hard to reach via email and I don’t know how their plans are working out. Art students don’t know how to use email (also offered them the opportunity to look me up on snapchat, whatsapp and skype etc. but they remain distant).

Currently preparing to meet Otto Karvonen concerning a Vuosaari related art effort.


Visited Hybrid Matter symposium at TeaK last Thursday. Jennifer Gabrys gave a talk concerning animals as sensors. She referenced projects that had embedded animals with sensory technologies to collect data on weather conditions, migration routes etc. The approach is of interest for our Trans-Horse project. We’ve investigated the possibility to set the horse’s views and environmental requirements as a premise of urban planning in hopes of crafting more environmentally engaged and versatile environments. Gabrys approach was critical and she argued the majority of animal aided data is used to confirm human perceptions. She is currently working in a project called citizensense.net. Her talk gave me the idea to use the horse care-journals of the Mounted police of Helsinki as data to study city development!

Steen Rasmussen gave an interesting talk about BINC economics (bio-, info-, nano- and cogno.). His talk was a useful reminder of the historical importance of the middle class: The empowered, wealthy and democratic middle class of the last century was a unique historical glitch and automation of labor is it’s biggest threat. He was optimistic about 3d printing and other “new” manufacturing technologies and urged the audience to engage with new technologies open mindedly. Unfortunately many new technologies categorically renunciate agency of the makers. This renunciation is embedded in modern worldviews – Factories and 3d printers are equally bad! There are no new technologies.. New tools fuel the same old colonization. After the symposiums I came across the concept of Critical Making which I’ll have to study more. Critical Making seems to fit many Ore.e Refineries projects neatly.

On Friday I joined a dinner organized by the Union for Rural Culture and Education. The dinner completed my involvement with the Grey Cube Gallery project. I was seated next to Päivi and sound artist Petri Kuljuntausta. Kuljuntausta was kind enough to share field recording techniques and motivated me to continue with sonic experimentations. We talked about the Ihme audio-guide project I completed last spring and he had some ideas on whom to contact concerning the future of the project. I had to leave the dinner early as I rushed to Turku. On the buss I read some of Kuljuntaustas texts on sound art. He has used a KaossPad in his live setup.

In Turku I met with Jesse and we made 232 separate machine/tool sounds and two binaural recording at his smithy (The binaural equipment is on loan from Circus Maximus). The recording went as planned and we worked on site for eight hours. The majority of the sounds are high pitched and we’ll possibly make additional recordings next year. Jesse had the idea of fitting the smithys floor with piezo microphones, so that we could hear the bottom end sounds. We’ll likely call this sample-pack “Sound of Work: Blacksmith vol.1”. I’ll demo the sounds for Jesse next weekend.

I’m meeting students from the Kankaanpää Art School online this week to discuss their upcoming graduate exhibition and art projects. Also met with Antoine Pickels concerning possible Trans-Horse engagements next year.


Visited Kankaanpää Art School were I’ll work as a mentor for a group of five graduating fine art students. Some are drawn to live-arts and others are interested in the performativity of objects and spaces (artworks). They’ll exhibit their graduation pieces at the Seinäjoki Art Hall. This is the first time I’ll be working as a graduate menton and I’m exited about the opportunity. 

The downside is that I’ve been sitting in busses and cars for 15 hours to mentor students for four hours! This is what it takes to build culture and develop performing arts in Finland. The buss ride from Helsinki to Kpää took seven hours. After the student sessions I got a ride to Tampere from Jarno Vesala, who is working as a mentor for an other student group (the mentor team also includes Petri Alamaunus and Hanna Oinonen). On the ride we exchanged notes on how to build media awareness in our children and the sincerity of vblogging. From there I continued by buss towards Helsinki. On route I met Outi Yli-Viikari and Jaakko Pimperi. We chatted all the way. The trip was fun.

Catching up on OG Maco