An extract of my kettlebell choreography contribution for Pilvi Porkola’s “Until We Come Together” (2016) at New Performance Turku is available online!
Wrote a short memo on the Trans-Horse presentations for Vårscenefest [Fi].
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 TeaK Bunch performances today by invitation of Matilda Aaltonen. I’ve been watching more dance this autumn then ever before. It inspires me. There is more potential for change in dance than in performance art!
There is something unceasing in witnessing dancers illustrate internal drives with their public bodies (they become everybodies and make the audience nobodies). Dance is magnificent acts and on stage, which the artist present in an unhesitant/pro-hesistant, inhumane manner. They have no stutter – Stutter is their art. This makes them too perfect to approach. They are shielded from penetrating gazes on all fronts. There were three breaks during the two hour post-humanism inspired dance potpourri. During the breaks the movements the performers echoed in the audiences posture. Everyone ended up putting on a show, walking more steadily and concentrated then before arriving. Everyone was afraid to show their imbalances, everyone was afraid to show “they didn’t get it”. This is how institutions terrorise us and this is how we can use empathy to change the world.
I’ve started to develop dance for my kettlebell. “Workout in four parts”:
My text for Esitys mag. is out: Uusmaterialistista yhdyntää (2016). The online version of the mag also features an insightful text from Pilvi: Jumalattaria vai sarjamurhaajia?, which looks at how masturbation has been represented on stages.
Masha Gessen details how to survive autocracy in the USA. The same logic applies to today’s politics in Finland under the “True Finns” thumb.
“… when Marx wondered about what would happen if commodities could speak, he might as well have asked slaves, or the Haitian revolutionaries.” writes María Iñigo Clavo in Modernity vs. Epistemodiversity on e-flux (as recommended by Jussi). The arrival of the text is well timed as we just finished a grant proposal together with Eleonora Lundell. We are seeking funds for a talk-shop, where people who have settled to Helsinki would talk about objects they hold dear.
An incredibly cynical video detailing the future of urban life and warfare made by the American military complex: Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity.
A nifty text on cultural imperialism by Pilvi Porkola What is ‘esitys’ on the University of Arts “How to do things with performance?” project blog. She is critical about Richard Schechner’s “Performance Studies. Introduction” which I’ve been studying in preparation of our upcoming Art School Maa course.
I should make a kettlebell out of Snellman’s head.
Visited SIC 2 gallery spaces opening exhibition The movement that didn’t have a dog and a stick… The exhibition was curated by Mikko Kuorinki and Diego Bruno who have been working together on a project they call Ruler. My favorite work was “Joycean Society” (2013) by Dora García. In discussion with Topi Äikäs I came into the conclusion that the exhibition was fuelled with sincere trust for the arts. Topi and I had difficulty in participating in the feeling because we know that the production of such exhibitions is always messy. Messiness is the opposite of Accountability. I have trouble trusting mess (even if I know that art is at it’s best as mess).
We chatted about the 9/11 events in USA. Topi gave an honest account on how he felt after hearing about the attacks. His honesty cleansed the air and I suddenly remembered feeling suppressed delight. At the time we had been both excited about seeing the imperialists twin towers collapse and celebrated the attacks against the high standing symbols of global capitalism.
Learning about choreographer Jérôme Bel after Pilvi’s recommendation (The Kettlebell Choreography I guided for her at NPTurku entitled me to call myself a choreographer, so I have to learn the ropes). “Step-by-step guide to dance: JB” on the Guardian gives an overview of his practice and in a lecture “About ‘The Last Performance’ (1998) 1-4” the artist discusses the development of his “The Last Performance” piece from 1998 in detail. The themes of sampling and recycling as a basis of artistic production (or un-production) are appealing and I comply with his thinking. In an other short video were he talks about his practice “Rehearsal Matters interview with JB” he comes off as a rigid and flamboyant artist persona. I don’t agree with his definition of improvisation being “an attempt to free oneself”. I’ve always seen improvisation as a tool to illustrate the confinements we forced to comply with: Improvisation is about articulating confinements and vocalising the ideological positions sites/situations encapsulate us into. Trough improvisation we can see the boundaries of the working body. His rigid view on improvisation is in alignment with conservative and craft orientated mindsets of orthodox-artist, who search for a canonised and mystical order trough styles and beats (I’ve come to understand that Hip-Hop is a conservative cultural movement. Sampling is a form of prayer).
Copying what others have done can be the most effective way to make something new. #ॐ
Stuck in Turku. Waiting for a technician to let me in the Tehdas-theater space so that I can fetch my kettlebells and synths. Went for lunch at a nearby restaurant. Asked the bartender for the menu. He begged me not to order food as the oven takes so long to warm up. He suggested that I buy a microwave meal from the nearby shop, so he could warm it for me in the micro. A novel way to eat out.
New Performance Turku events went well. The tone of the performances I saw was “uniform serious performance art”. Alejandra Herrera Silva presented “The Water” at Titanik Gallery. She stripped, broke vine glasses, bled and got drunk. John Court pushed enormous wooden cylinders around a school courtyard making a monument for dyslexia. Alexander del Re’s piece was about indirect gazes and indirect ways of approaching others (using mirrors) but I only saw the end of the piece. He had invited Salla Valle to collaborate in it (I remember her performing at an uplifting Là-bas event). Mark Harvey presented a humorous piece at the Turku Castle. He acted as the king and motivated the audience to rebuild the Kalmar Union.
The evening with Pilvi Porkola went reasonably well. I was nervous about my contribution and failed to follow the piece in full detail. She baked, dyed her hair, told short stories about her life and prepared the space. I was invited on stage midway the act and introduced myself as a choreographer. We made a series of kettlebell warm up exercises and after this she continued baking and chatting casually with the audience. When she went off stage to wash the dye of her hair Mark was invited to entertain people and I served as a sports commentator for his dance act (Ray Langenbach complement the blunt taunting commentary). As she returned, Antti Manninen was invited to talk with the audience and gradually the piece converted into a faux house party.
The artwork casted a critical view on the structures and conventions of performance art. Pilvi made the efforts of durational and endurance demanding performances vein by illustrating how difficult it is to perform everyday tasks like putting your socks on while standing on one feet or chatting casually while cooking. A highlight of the piece was when she made microwave popcorn. Jesse Sipola made a surprise appearance during the party phase as a DJ and we ended the night drink Ferned Branka at the Monk. I didn’t get the opportunity to chat with other performers at the festival. I missed some pieces I wanted to see.
Saw the “Legend of the Small Bone 2” (Legenda pienestä luusta) at the Turku Cathedral yesterday, which was co-directed by Susanna Airaksinen. The play by Kolmas tila company used the church space fluidly and the play’s structure and dialogue succeeded in building a feel for how early cartographers and scientific thinkers saw the world. The play was focused on the story of Muhammad al-Idrisi. The act of acting was frustrating to witness and the piece didn’t discuss issues concerning non-human as it was marketed. The actors wore 80ties style hairpieces and glamrock style makeups but were extremely serious about their postures. The church setting stripped the play of it’s potential for critique and dialogue. As a result the mid show dance acts came off as faux-rituals.
After the play I attended a Chile themed performance night of the New Performance Turku festival. Saw Cristóbal Yáñez Lanzarini: “Back to the Tre” a sort of depiction of his (possibly struggling) love life and the universality of love. After that there was performance by Señoritaugarte: “El grito decolonial”, a cry for the inhumane treatment of refugees and asylum seeker by Finland (A short search turned up an interesting New Maternalisms project she’s been involved with). The evening ended with Alexander del Re: “Phobia # 131/367” which was a slowly building self harming piece about his fear of crying (illustrated by melting ice). Currently preparing for my Pilvi Porkola kettlebell choreography intervention.
Finished my article “New Material Intercource” regarding contemporary sex-toys and their impact on the environment and our sexual expression. It’s currently being edited by Tuomas Laitinen and it’ll likely come out before Christmas in the Esitys-magazines Masturbation-edition. I draw nifty pictures to accompany the text. The illustrations are available on Openclipart: New Material Intercourse – Clipart collection and they are licensed for unlimited commercial use! The text echoes the “handicraft-ethical / future archeological” thinking we’ve developed over the years through various Ore.e Refineries activities. One slogan we’ve deployed with Jesse was: “The future is decided with hands” and the “New Material Intercource” text takes this statement literally.
Watched and appreciated “November” (2004) by Hito Steyerl. The movie convinced me that narratives are a thing of the past. At time artist were trained to produce counter-narratives in an effort to voice out opinions of the oppressed. I’ve now come to understand that the problem is with narrativity itself. Every narrative ground events in to mythological continuum.
Every story, tells the story that there is a founding myth. #ॐ
Met with Päivi Raivio and I agreed to join her “Rescue Museum” events in November. I’ll possibly be working to salvage personal digital heritages of unknown Facebook users.
Met with Pilvi Porkola and went through my participation in her upcoming show for New Performance Turku. I’ll be using a kettlebell and making techno on stage with her.
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.