220 artworkers are trying to convince the Finnish National Gallery to choose fairtrade bananas over the alternatives. The organisation refuses to believe that fairtrade bananas exist.
I’ve been making side dish electronic maintenance projects to keep myself working on texts. Finally committed a modification to my Befaco Rampage, which outputs A/B froze (or got stuck rather) when they sent voltages to passive LPGs and Epochmodular Twinpeak. The freezing issue was present in other modules too over the years.
I changed R125 and R123 to 20K (default 1k). In the new configuration the outputs produce 9.4v out. I got in contact with Befaco and was recommended to do “a latest version mod” by removing R90, R89, C23 and C24, and to make bridge in the place of the 2 capacitors. The PCB is version 1.3.2. This arrangement produces 9.44v output and works with Epochmodular Twinpeak but not with a passive LPG. I’m trying to figure out which modification is better over all. There is also an option to change R52 to 43k which makes the envelopes of 8v. The LPG behaviour is mentioned in a forum discussion. Also swapped a 3.2uF in place of a 1uF in my Kassutronic ASR.
Finally got my Leploop v3 midi out figured. In retrospect the solution would have been possible to reach just by following the manual. But with all the other beautiful kinks of the device it was difficult to trust my judgement and intellect. I reached out to the designer Tonylight and got a simplified guide.
Build a midi 5 pin DIN to 3.5mm mini-jack adapter with the specifications: Midi 4 to jack tip, 5 to jack sleeve. Attach the adapter and set Leploop CLOCK to EXT. Tap the tempo using Sh1 button and external devices will follow Leploop. In this configuration external midi can also be used to control Leploop and the clock sends out sync acting as a midi trough. RATE CV IN controls the LFO rate with external CV (but not the tempo).
My gray literature curiosity with synth manuals and tutorials is being challenged by esoteric documentations such as the Leploop zine and Whimsical Raps techno poetics. I think Leploops underground aesthetics, which desperately reach for clarity but suffer from bad spelling and stuff lost in translations are more credible then Whimsical Raps aestheticizations. The latter present learning as personal growing and sensitization. But I prefer learning which hurts, which conveys a desperate desire to connect yet fails to. The Leploops manual is cringey but I like it because it make me appear smart.
tworoundrobins addresses the same mystery element of sound-devices in a recent should we demystify gear? monologue.
Developed a most rhythmic city soundscape assignment for a group of curators/artists visiting Helsinki as a part of Kunsthal Nord field excursion organised by Tina Madsen. Assigned them to send me field recordings with the promise I’d use their clips for making DnB. I’m chopping up the sounds they send and used them as samples in schollz amenbreak script for Norns. And replied back with 40sek-1min DnB riffs bundled with suggestions for dodgy bars around the Kallio district. Took them to Sompasauna to work&bathe and introduced them to Miina Hujala (by chance to Otto too) & Alkovi.
Visited Oodi Maija-sali for the SOLA Post-Festival Club. Came late, left early but enjoyed a cinematic performance by Minerva Juolahti. They stood in front of the audience in a dark room with their back leaning against a huge black stage curtain and held a mirror which redirected a projector light beam towards the audience. An odd drone was heard and the mirror trembled a bit as they held it. The reflection which they reprojected onto the floor in front of them shivered like a tongue trying to keep still. The projector showed a slow film of intersecting squares, which corresponded with the shape and size of the mirror. One of these beams remained in place, constantly directed at the mirror. The black curtain folds bent the moving white rectangles, allowing gradients to form on the curtain velvet, which made them appear as floating metal sheets.
This scene lasted for quite a while. The floating metal sheets passed the screen and only the beam directed at the mirror was left. Juolahti then turned the mirror and directed its beam to a disco ball which re-reprojected the projection so that the entire room and everyone in the space was touched by miniscule square rays of light. The projection square then began moving upwards disappearing outside of the screen. As it rose Juolahti followed its movement with the mirror they held and as it went over their reach, they lowered the mirror and suddenly a hairly drone whipped across the room. The sound was revealed emanating from the mirror sheet. The shivers of the reprojections had been produced by a solid transducer attached to its back, which revealed the drone and the reflection being of the same.
I would have loved to listen to the gig with a audio to sound device. Ilpo Numminen played the Oodi-modular and presented it as an “instrument” which was a delight. The gig explored feedback loops and krell-like patches.
Looking forwards to visiting SOLA on Friday too for gigs by Tomutonttu and Tina Mariane Krogh Madsen. (The gigs where last May)
Nearly finished with Assembling a Black Counter Culture (2022) DeForrest Brown. The book reads as a cross between a blog, a music review magazine and a Marxist analysis of Black American culture. It meets all the criteria of a proper winter holiday read: Nerdy details on synths, snippets of interviews and gossip of notable techno musicians bundled with leftist rants. Brown wants to make it clear that techno is Black which I’m fine with but their mission is so defined that some argumentations cut corners. For example they put a lot of effort in proving that originally acid (in music) had nothing to do with drugs and blame the emerging techno-scene in the UK for building the associative link between drugs and techno. They conveniently leave out that funk, which is framed as a partial foundation of Detroit techno, was a psychedelic movement. Their effort to sever the techno-is-for-drugs link is just in the sense that the US War on Drugs targeted the Black communities disproportionately. There is also a strong judgemental tone to the manner they present the goa-trance-scene, which pains my heart as I came to techno largely trough Texas Faggott and a like. Not for the drugs but for the fun (perhaps trance deployed humour as a substitute for soul? Silverio for the win!).
Brown uses Detroit as a lense for portraying the US from the perspective of Black cultural development. Post jim crow era folk moving from the South to work in Detroit assembly lines, emerging as consumerist middle classes and helping to make Motown to what it was and then being disregarded by industrial capital. The ruins of these developments were later reclaimed for techno, which is presented as soulful emancipation, a process of de-hierarchicalizing the record label industry and distributing production. This story was first passed to me by Jori Hulkkonen during a 2011 Kotimaan teknokatsaus vol. 3 interview (starting from 16:41). The exact bit was cut out from the final interview but Hulkkonen also built a globalist connection between post-industrial youth learning to program to employ themselves (and later to surpass the burden of their [working]class) in Kemi and the Detroit landscape where the Belleville Three developed their sound. The repurposing of abandoned factories as stages for raves was also discussed, which links to East-Berlin too.
Brown mentions Basic Channel (and Hard Wax) but does not explore for example Maurizio or Mark Ernestus’ involvement with Ngadda, which I’d love to have had their take on. Browns Marxist analysis of Black workers and Black cultural expressions is excellent and techno serves as a perfect route for exploring workers transformation from labourers to information-workers. I particularly enjoyed their critique of Kraftwerk’s robotique aesthetics, which celebrate the absence of soul in creative expression and how they contrast this to the Black experience, where artistic expressions cling to soul to combat the robotique reality of everyday and the past of slavery. My peer-group of the white christian punk, electronica, trance and self-educating diy mayham, where youth seeks to destroy patriarchal society by destroying themselves as workers doing drugs, general antagonism and/or criminal records is not celebrated by Brown.
Art is the infrastructure of the imagination #ॐ. It’s not categorically good but something to build thinking on.
This text was published in the recently launched “Performance Art in Practice – Pedagogical Approaches” (2022, Worthwise) Aapo Korkeaoja (edit.). The book offers 9 approaches for teaching performance art by different authors. My text is built on experiences teaching at the Kankaanpää Art School. The publication offers insights to performance-teaching by Tuomas Laitinen, Aapo Korkeaoja, Annette Arlander, Pilvi Porkola, Pia Lindy, Jussi Matilainen, Leena Kela & Tero Nauha. I’m flattered to be included in this bunch and I particularly enjoy Pilvi’s writing! The book is illustrated by Katriina Sjöblom. I like that it includes both practical exercises and the philosophy behind the teaching. My submission was originally written in 2019 but it some acuteness to it. The intuitive teaching manner I present as a dream in the text is now fully employed as a praxis.
I have always had issues with authority. This family tradition was passed on to me by my mother. I get offended when people tell me what to do and for this reason studying has been and still is challenging. Luckily Finland is a welfare state, and in the nineties primary school teachers were idealistic. They believed that everyone is good at something and their trust convinced me that my dissident attitudes would find acceptance in the field of art.
I try to pass on similar hopefulness when I get the opportunity to teach. In the past I’ve attempted to assert control over creative processes and I’m learning to get more comfortable with uncertainty. I fear that open processes end up strengthening existing ideas and do not enforce change, which I think is mandatory for combating the hostility of present societies.
To identify subtle changes which manifest in creative sessions, I have called for the meticulous documentation of events and ideas which emerge during a course. I now fear that the detailed study journals we write with students, take on an authoritarian role and steer the course on their own. To counteract this, I have begun to rely on intuition. Can intuition serve as a benign, anti-authoritarian force?
Continue reading “Performance Art as a Craft of Dissidence (2022)”