20191112

Cyberwhores of late capitalism (2019) Tamara MacLeod. I begun to read the article as a book review but it soon turned into an insightful analysis of how corporate control over the internet impacts the possibilities marginalised groups have in organizing and surviving. MacLeod identifies that the power capitalism has over us, is ultimately the power to control how, where and when our tangible and virtual bodies move. Internet offered folk who have been confined into cities (to idle indefinitely, waiting for deployment as a labor force) the “right to roam” and seek out new economic possibilities.

Sex work is a good place to start in any discussion about economic oppression, because it has intersecting demographical qualities. People of all classes, ethnicities, and genders enter sex work as a means to acquire wealth that they are otherwise excluded from.

In countries which criminalise sex work, the internet has been revolutionary for sex workers in two fundamental ways: It has allowed us to establish commerce in a space free of persecution and with easy accessibility (it is easier for a poor person to make money with an internet connection than without one); and it has supported the development of international communities, providing solidarity, safety and access to resources.

Any discussion about labour is a discussion about space: where is it done, and what does the nature of the space mean for the worker? The enclosures under feudalism, the entrapment of women in workhouses and the home; these were deliberate responses to disruptions of class oppression. To liberate the worker from the boundaries of embodiment, time and space – this stood to be the most promising disruption in human history, and therefore meant that cyberspace had to be colonised by the same ideas that make systemic change so difficult in our immediate environments.

20191108

Knowledge-speculation During Climate Crises ­- ”When You Say We Belong To The Light We Belong To The Thunder” at EKKM (2019) Jussi Koitela.

[A]ddressing the climate crisis and crises caused by human agency and western thought, there is a need for exhibition methodology which handles much more complex and intersectional approaches than the current representational and politically reductive modes of presenting artworks, research, or critical discourses. In many cases, these models reduce the meanings of artworks and artistic research (which contain complex processes of experimentation and exploration, references to multidisciplinary theoretical conversations, and multivocal political debates) to discourses which highlight the most straightforward, and populistic aspects of the works.

What becomes evident after experiencing the exhibition is that it’s crucial for contemporary art institutions to support and foster long-term projects of curators, institutions, artistic researchers, and practitioners which manage to create new forms of knowledges regarding complex urgencies such as contemporary colonialism, climate chaos, and nationalism.

He seems very impressed by the exhibition curated by Heidi Ballet and hopes that it will serve as a point-of-departure for future exhibition making processes. I wish I’d share his optimism. I fear the process of “exhibiting” is categorically self-affirming. Exhibition architecture, so very rarely, allows people to discover themselves forming disruptive assemblies. They emphasize professional-flâneuring, which echoes work or more accurately faking working (which is faking knowing whats what). Exhibitions allow people to discard disruptive inputs. With “disruptive” I don’t mean violent.. More like, disruptive as in discovering how to be a parent. Every learning experience is disruptive and I think learning by doing is most effective (workshops are key).

We had our first exhibition building and sound-session with Johannes yesterday. We also visited Oksasenkatu 11 for the MEMExhibition by HYPERREAALIYAH. We discussed how (or if) browsing internet has taught us to desensitized ourselves. Shared an anecdote from Outi Heiskanen, who recalled playing with severed horse testicles in her youth (her father was a vet). The balls bounced like we presently know plastics to behave.

Visited Timo Bredenbergs Without Friction exhibition at Muu gallery. I enjoyed his video, it felt like a an archeological excavation of present day financial capitalism executed from the future. We were presented with broken 3d renderings of New York City landmarks, important for the recent history of global economics. The architectural views were followed with text snippets, which felt like a future archeologist field notes and glimpses of shaky virtual hands, which attempted to interface with the information. The hand gestures echoed signs stock traders used in the past to signify transactions. I think the archeology of hand gestures in itself would be a really interesting exploration.

Digital Frictions: Where Code Meets Concrete (2019) Shannon Mattern. The article uses a still of Bredenbergs video as an illustration and explores the frictionlessness nature of economic-cities. As a reply for the text we could argue that creating patterns and shapes which refuse to align with contemporary spaces (both digital and tangible) is important, because odd designs cause friction, which is need for developing energy.

Every engine needs friction. I guess an analogy for accelerationisms would be “to purposely oil a machine until it looses friction”.

As an exercise for exploring friction: The hands of partisipants could be oiled (with olive oil) and they would be guided to touch each others hands, so that the frictionlessness, would cause the participants to loose awareness of the other persons touch.

20191104

Returning from a teaching gig at Villa Arttu youth art school in Hyvinkää. I had the opportunity to spend a weekend with 28, 12-17 year olds, teaching “Performance Architecture” (as defined by Schweder) by using various movement, body awareness and voice based exercises. Participants came from Rovaniemi, Hämeenlinna and Hyvinkää. The group was divided in two batches which alternated each day between my workshop and a sound/media sessions taught by Simi Ruotsalainen.

The “Performance Architecture” workshops started with fake-laugh yoga and an exploration on how voices resonate inside bodies. Voice-making was framed as an internal-organ sculpturing exercise. Participants massaged the insides of their mouths using their tongues and attempted to identify where different tones resonate from. The idea of sound-making as an internal-organ sculpture practice was inspired by әṾӨȻΔ𐐉 -exhibition by Jenna Sutela & Lars TCF Holdhus at Sinne (2015). After the warm up we begun massaging your imaginations in a “What if…” session, in which participants only communicate by asking “What if…”. This exercise is something I picked up from a seminar called “Performative Utopias” organized by Reality Research Center in 2013 (for Baltic Circle).

Then we continued doing echo-izings: Each group member was expected to utter a word or tone, which others repeated. The word or tone had to relate to the space we were in. The exercise continued until everyone had shared their voice. The idea that everyone has to speak out for an exercise to end, was motivated by Peggy Pierrots community talk-shop guidelines from 2017. We practiced deep breathing, standing and walking in a confined space. These exercises were based on basic contact improvisation teaching techniques: The group begun by moving in a rigid grid pattern (90° turns, slow and fast walking). After a while they were allowed to stop their movements when they felt like it. The act of stopping was framed as a personal political strike, which offered an opportunity to reflect the situation. Striking as an action comes from an idea by Jussi Koitela: Activism becomes political, when people stop being “active” and reflect their situation.

After the trust within the group was founded, they begun to use the space more freely and we combined echo-izings to the movement. When people spotted motivating objects, shapes or things in the space, they were advised to stop, to point at the thing and voice their observation. Group members then followed the action: Stopped, pointed at the same thing and repeated what was said about it. This method of reading a space collectively was inspired by Patterns of Life by Julien Prévieux (2015). Participant were then advised to use the same technique for reflecting the joined movements and actions, that were emerging from within the group. Then the group spend a long silent session moving and exploring each others clothes, garments and jewelries. This lead into a very nice session, were people touched each others softly and recognized each others. Each phase of the exercise was discussed collectively before progressing.

Then we performed a repetitive mini choreography, which I saw executed as a part of the “Monstera” performance by Essi Kausalainen. I consulted Kausalainen about using her pattern in teaching and got some insight on it. The movement was framed as something intrinsic to living things and when setting it up for the participants I compared the dance to the movement of plants when they are seeking light. People associated the movement with something they do while “idling”, when waiting for a buss etc. We then performed very long sessions following the choreography and discussed what it felt like. People experienced the movement as soothing and enjoyed performing it collectively. We executed it in a large circle and the size of circle alternated during each session. It felt like we were breathing. I recorded the rhythm of our feet and we listened to the recordings, discussing how movement can be documented and how we can hear movement articulated. People seemed to really like listening and spend up to 10 minutes in silence, returning to the rhythmic noise they had produced earlier.

The group was then divided into 3-4 sub-groups, which were tasked to invent their own movement patterns. I presented the authoring of these patterns as a process were we write shapes inside our brains and recall them using muscle memory. We contemplated the ethics of writing inside an other persons brain and tried to visualize how our brains were altered by this experience. Reading was presented as a method of writing into oneself. The sub-groups then developed their own patterns in semi-privacy. After a while we returned to the collective circle, groups taught their pattern to others and performed them for as long as it took for everyone to incorporate them. After this we performed all of the different dances, so that they followed each other with out any forced direction. These sessions were recorded and we listened to them reflecting the experience. Here is a clip from the first session (12 students moving).

The event ended in a soft-lecture, trough which I attempted to explain what “performativity” and “post-structuralism” are. These sessions were more like chats as participants could ask questions and share their ideas during the presentation. The lecture was loosely based on Richard Schechners Performance Studies book from 2013 and the group was tasked to contemplate how repetition inscribes attitudes to our bodies. The workshop was a continuation of the “Post-Structuralism for Kids” sessions I taught in the same school in 2017. There is a short text about it in Finnish: Kehittäkää itsellenne lukihäiriö ja istukaa lattialla [Develop Dyslexia and Sit on the Floor] (2019).

20191101

Added some old texts online. I really like “Fade in, Fade out”! I have no idea how it was received by the public back in the day but I hope someone will enjoy it now:

Continued with my Simple EQ* build and added it on modulargrid (the Tilt EQ channel is still giving me trouble). Also build a 12v to 9v transducer which has the same dimensions as a 9v battery and a 10pin ribbon cable connector so that I can power it from my eurorack. The first unit is a proof of concept and I’ll build a new one with a big heat sink. I’ll use it to mount 9v circuits to my rack.

A nice short documentary The Delian Mode (2009) by Kara Blake. It gives a good overview of Delia Derbyshires work at the BBC and her influence on electronic music. She remembers the sound of hoofs on cobbles, she heard as a child as an influence on her appetite for polyrhythmics and recalls that the noise of air raid sirens sparked her curiosity in electronic sounds. There is an archive of her work online, with entries like: The Delian Mode (1963).

20191030

Re-reading Performance Architecture (2011) Alex Schweder: “Which came first, the buildings or the actions they house, is perhaps not the most productive way of asking the question” he begins and continues “[w]e build buildings so that we have a place to perform habituated actions, and conversely the buildings that preceded our arrival in part determine our behavior.”

His description of a performance called Flatland (2007) brings to mind our recent Trans-Siberian cabin arrangements: The compactness of the cabin space authored our social interactions. Interestingly he also questions how to document embodied experiences: “[…] the most accurate documentations of Flatland are the divergent and immaterial oral histories, rumors, grudges and friendships. Through Flatland, I came to understand architecture as a series of social relations intimately constituted by and tied to an object.” […] “we have found immaterial performative factors such as duration, emotional predispositions, and interpersonal chemistries are what most impacts our experiences of a space. ”

I agree! Spatial and social relations are indistinguishable. Social relations are performances of our spatial distance from other bodies. If we take for granted that concepts such as “freedom of speech” are not about legislation or cultural norms, but about relations between people. Then how public spaces are build, determine if “freedom of speech” can be performed. I.e. If there is an affordance for self- and co-determined relations or assemblies (as Butler calls them) to form autonomously. Similarly the perceived comfort / discomfort of a space manifests the performative affordances the design offers occupants. Interestingly distances can only be measured between separate bodies of mass, which implies that entities which maneuver spatially perform a sense of self-awareness (Movement is awareness #ॐ).

As budgets are slashed, attention spans shorten and professional activities become eventalized; the cultural object – no longer preeminent – veers into product, turns into activity, de-materializes into performance. Cultural production as process. […] Notions of building performance, performance as construction, the rendering of the socio-political experience of the individual in space, or the architectural program as an urban script reaching beyond the specification of typologies to prescribe behavioral patterns are all converging to formulate new paradigms of spatial practice.

Architecture, like performance, has always contained the energies of live bodies. Both fields structure the behavior of their participants, but until this time architecture had always named the bodily actions and relations it contains and constructs ‘program’. For example, the program architects call ‘house’ uses its built form to instruct occupants where to enter, eat, sleep, fornicate, wash, socialize, et cetera. The partitions in our buildings are built to script the actions of those who inhabit them. Architectural cues let people know what to do where, when, and for how long – much like the script for a performance.

The way a performance is documented impacts the way it will be historicized. For those who do not experience the performance live, visual documents coupled with the oral history of the original performance take on a life of their own. Photographic documentation of architectural performances can play a large role in the way that we use architecture to construct our subjectivity.

There are also an interesting passage on “building-time” which Schweder argues as being slower then human-time. I think he’s right. Buildings perform across generations. They are also lived, meaning they are modified, remade and demolished simultaneously by their habitats. Materials can which make the building can also be repurposed. I’d like to extend this concept to cover “tool-time”: Tools also perform across generations and convey the technical thinking of the episteme they were conceived in. The grip of a tool educates a used on how it is yielded. They are also lived (modified and remade) and adapt to changes in technical thinking (or demand). Sometimes tools conceal their functions, to pass trough times when their intrinsic use-value is not in demand (I have a set of surgical knives and pliers I use for hobby-crafts, when the time is right they can be recommissioned as surgical instruments). Art as a technic is packed with concealed functions: Performance art is the tai-ji of social change.