Visited an event organized by Jaana Laakkonen at Asematila space during the weekend. She read texts inside a tent structure which was constructed out of paintings. Works were also exhibited on the floor and some were stored in plastic bags (“for ease of transport”, I was told). She offered them for display on demand and flipped through canvases like a persian rug-dealer in a bazaar. Some pieces had been painted outdoors and were affected by mold. It felt like the mold was a sort of commentary on post-representationalism: The paintings study post-humanistic models of art making, while providing a habitat for non-human critters. The canvas serves as an image, a map, a diary and a Petrie Dish.
I was offered a brightly colored publication. It features close-up photos of painting materials (textures), glimpse of sites she’s worked at and partial outdoor scenes. The publication does not have any text in it and it feels like a sneak peak into an artists practice – Like peeping into a painters studio through a partially open door (intentionally opened by the artist). I also received three printed texts (folded inside the booklet). I’ve only read one: “Does Art Escape When Posthuman Performativity Enters (On [Not] Delivering it)” which is an intimate story about the artists relationship with a dog, bundled with a work journal of sorts.
The event and the texts emphasize entanglement (Referring to Karen Barad & Donna Haraway). This emphasis was present in the way that the artists mixed together intimate stories, technical depictions of the painting equipment and posthuman theory. I had difficulties in engaging with the event because of the artists the personal presence. It was as if she had constructed a zoo around herself. The intensity and intimate nature of the texts, the mold and the artists body predetermined my relation to the site. If the texts would have been read by an actor I could have roamed the stage more freely.
It was an inspirational event – It is as if she was painting with texts. Post-truth-realms have made the representational value of art weak, which is why contemporary art emphasizes on text and performance. Text, performance and bodybuilding exercises (working bodies against material weights) are essential tools to keep us grounded, to keep us in the same world or even to develop new common ground. Working with texts, weights and witnessing events require effort which is why knowledge they produce can be trusted.