The text documents my preparation to the New Performance Festival in Turku. It was written on an online etherpad and audiences could follow it being written letter by letter. For easy reading everybreathitakeisajobinterview.pdf Corresponding material available in portfolio.
Every performance I do is a job interview.
I remember talking to Maija Raumanni and telling her how much I liked her performance. People danced a lot. We carried a projection screen trough the city in the night, ate at Hesburger, made a after party at Kristiinas room with Leena (Kristiina had ciders).
Everything went better then expected but people laughed in the wrong spots of the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6E71Q3lpMs . No more spoilers. It’s done.
And then they came.. First two kids and then two more. Bright chaos all around. Screw bits flying around. Now I’ve returned to the hotel and gathering strengt for tonight. I have a hour to prepare for the piece. One video to do but mostly mental preparation.. Used Helmi to fetch me a phonebook. She could only find one. Hope it’s enough.
If I had cash I’d make Helmi fetch me a pizza.
How could I lure children to this workshop? When talking to Kristiina yesterday we talked about making a performance festival/event where parents could come with their kids.. The kids could keep each other entertained while the grownups would present art to each others. We’ve both come to this festival without our kids. One reason we are travelling alone is that we can “concentrate” on our work. Being with kids challenges concentration and focus.
Sampo came for the workshop. His dad left him with me and we made a stool in two hours. It had two chiselled wooden joints and two screws. A pretty convincing piece to complete in just two hours. Sampo was also in the Kuvataidekeskus group and was one of the fortunate who managed to manufacture a stick-horse too. It’s really nice that he came for this open workshop too. Arguably he’s gotten a pretty good introduction to crafts.. I didn’t talk much about performance art with him.
Now I’m sitting alone in the Manina centre.. Next to the Tehdas-theatre.. I’ve been introduced to a assistant called Helmi who is here to “fetch coffee when need” but I have nothing for her to do. She’s just sitting.. Or doing the dishes at the theatre. I once heard someone play the piano indoors. This is a summer job for her. Turku city is promoting her presence. Having an assistant is work. She saved the situation a couple of times.. When a lot of kids came she helped them to drew with chalk on the pavement.
The sun is shining. Wonder if any kids will show up. It’s apparently difficult to be to lure kids to this workshop. This is likely the first performance festival which is offering program for kids. So nobody knows what to expect. Also my approach to performance art is so crossdisciplinary (Poikkitaiteellinen) that I don’t think it’s serving our mission. This workshop is great for learning how to do crafts but too far out for learning what performance art is about.
The day I’ve thought about for a couple of months is today.
A new form of art will emerge: “Art as workshops, workshops as art”. It makes perfect sense. Many performing groups are calling their pieces “exercises”.. Instead of making a show – they are making exercises. It serves marketing well as audiences participate and attend exercises more easily then “artworks”. Exercises also appeal for more active types of audiences. Also artists increasingly make lecture like performances.. With the focus of sharing inspirational knowledge. Avant-garde performance art is developing into a pedagogic practice.. Much like critical design. And performance art seems to be orientated in making workshops.
Rendering video into h.264 and opening a beer. Going watch Doctor Who again. I’ll get up at 8:00 tomorrow.. I still got some issues to solve for the stage performance. In a panic I bought some “History” magazines to use as ammunition.. But thinking back they are tacky. The “Taide” (Art) magazines I bought with me are tacky too. A phonebook would be the most neutral solution. Precarisation can happen to anyone of us…
The video is fun.. In one episode I ask a little girl if she knows what is a the Precariat and I can’t even answer the question my self. In an other episode I tell one child to “Always demand a written contract of employment” and to “Allways demand a fair salary”. The talks are happening as we are working, drilling and sawing. I also talk about the benefits of mechanised labour to six year old kids. At times what I talk feels very strange and surreal.
The kid from last night joined the workshop after I compleated the Kuvataidekeskus part of the workshop.
Talked to Emmi, Helka and Okko over phone after the workshop. I tried to make Okko miss me more. I told him we will play video games when we see each other again. He didn’t indicate that he’s missing me at all. I tried to make him jealous by telling that we made stickhorses with the kids but he didn’t flinch. I’ll have to leave for Helsinki on Sunday and from there to Pinsiö Monday morning. I’ll see the family earlies in a week. I don’t miss them much.
When I was waiting for the workshop to begin today I talked to Kristiina about tomorrows performances. We are performing on the same stage and decided that I’ll be first. Her performance will end in an “art exhibition” outside the theatre and turn into a smooth after party scene. She had the idea of giving the people the possibility to sing karaoke too and I offered a karaoke video I’ve made (from an old video artwork). She seems swell and is up with jamming. If I had a more clear view on what I’m doing.. Then develloping something more collaboratory with her would be interesting.
As we where sitting in the theatre Leena jumped in.. I took a look at my watch. It was ten past twelve and I was late for the workshop.
Used an elevator to get down from the hotel room to the shopping center. There is a direct line from the coridor. Editing a video for tomorrow.. The edit was simple.. Pinched two full days down to six minutes but translating the speeches into English and subtitling is hard work. I’m working eyes crossed.
Can’t remember much of todays workshop. It was very similar to yeasterdays.. But we worked indoors as it was raining hard. The workrotation was more fluint as the kids where more used to me and the tasks.
We managed to manufacture some five stick horses and I got sine kids working on the crossbows parts too. They smoothened the handles and some used them for painting rehearsal. I tried to be fare to so that everyone. So that everyone would have had to opportunity to work with wood but at times I was biased. I payed more attention to the kind kids and ignored the challenging ones. I felt really sorry for the more silent ones. They suffered the most.
It was pretty chaotic at times. Five year olds hammering screws into concrete etc. But I do think that most of the participants got a good initiation to crafts.
Skipped breakfast and slept long but didn’t rest well. Even woke in the middle of the night thinking about the day. It’s raining. I’ll have to work indoors. There won’t likely be much festival kids after the Kuvataidekeskus kids have gone home. It’s not a bright summer rain. It’s gray and soggy sea rain. My shoes are still wet from last nights walk to the hotel.
Suddenly remembered: https://vimeo.com/59336505 I’m a tough dad.
Judging from the New Performance webpage and tonights presentation everyone is talking in their performances. These are narrative, text based pieces and the #notamoleskine project is extending them.
Anneliina Koskinen also made an interesting piece at the “Artist as Art” workshop presentation. She tried to cause her self a panic attack on stage. I can sympathise with her effort. Saying up late here in the hotel.. Feeling claustrophobic. Anxiety about tomorrows workshop continues. If it’ll be as intensive I wont have the energy to prepare for Saturdays presentation.
I’m in a pinch.. I want to give 100% for the workshops but as I do I’m taking effort away from the club performance.. Which the others see as the climax of my work for the festival. These durational pieces are hard. There is no climax.. Only a flow I experience it while shifting my attention smoothly from a situation to the next but people don’t possibly see that.
I have to put more effort in talking about crafts and labor issues with the kids.
Tomorrow my day starts at 12:00 so I’ll have to be at the Tehdas-theatre at 11:00. Hope it does not rain. Fuck.. There is lag in the wlan again.
Went to the Kutomo party. Came in on cue. People where standing and looking at the stage. There was cake, rosewine and performances by the “Artist as Art” workshop attendants. The workshop was hosted by Joshua Sofaer (http://newperformance.fi/artist-as-art-2/ ). Sofaer is also presenting a piece on the festival. The evening had two sets and the structure of the evening was smart.. There where provocative, sentimental, standard (performance vies), up- and downtempo pieces but they where presented in a perfect order. A particularly nice solution was that Jani Virta was performing in small pieces throughout the evening.. He made a small poetic gesture between every other show and this build a continuity to the event. He’s was making a parody of his own love life (and the lack of it). Or a parody of performance art (or germans).
My favourite individual performance was by Maija Raumanni (whom I’ve never met before). She’d made a written plot for her performance and executed it on stage like clockwork (while reciting the plot from a paper). She was saying what she was going to do and then did it or did something and then read from the paper what she did.
She lifted a blue mattress so that it leaned on the wall, stood on it and then read from the paper that “Maija wrestled with the mattress and placed it leaning on the wall, before standing on it..”. In the beginning I though that her piece was completely improvised and I was bored but as it developed it felt like a chess game where I was trying to figure out what she was going to do or would not do.
Met Alex Eisenberg whom I had looked up on twitter before coming Turku. Other #NOTAMOLESKINE workshop participants where present too. Talked to some and met with Tuuli again. Didn’t have much to say.. We talked about the new Vine video application. We didn’t get started on the subject of writing about performance art. I’ve not yet seen what they are actually doing. There was supposed to be something on the blog but I’m not seeing anything yet.
Walked to the hotel with Tero Nauha and Kristiina Junttila. Asked Tero about the PhD education at TAIK (he ended up talking about people I don’t know) and Kristiina about her approach on site specific art. The conversation seemed a bit forced as we where all tired. We walked really fast. I think Tero was to blame.. He has to move fast because he’s skinny.
It’s raining and I took the gear down. Ate some bread and sat down for the first time of the day.
I was a surrogate dad for random boys.
There where 11 kids in the http://kuvataidekeskus.fi/ group and I worked with them from 10:00 to 16:00. The group was dived into three. The division of the groups was made in terms of gender and age. Kids where 9-13 years old. The boys where more clingy. They challenged me constantly but when I showed care to their needs they softened immediately. The rudest boys softened when we used the electric coping saw. Kids where afraid of it.
One boy was particularly sweet. He replied: “JEAH JEAH I KNOW HOW TO DO IT” to any question I threw at him.
– “Have you used the electric coping saw before?”
– “JEAH JEAH I KNOW HOW TO DO IT”
– “Oh.. We’ll do you know how to hold it?”
– “JEAH JEAH I KNOW HOW TO DO IT.” He took the machine in his hand and turned it around. “I haven’t used this model before.. What does it do?”
– “It is a saw.. It cut wood into shape.”
– “JEAH JEAH I KNOW HOW TO DO IT”
The girls where eager to use the electric coping saw too, and handled it better then the boys. “It works similar to a sawing machine” a girl reasoned. She’s right! They told me that the “textile classes” they attend in their schools are boring and that they prefer crafts. We made stick-horses and I talked about peer-production and precariat issues with some of the kids. Took some video too.
Talked about performance art in the context build environments with the kids. I told them that every design object provokes a specific style of behaviour. “White sofas command you to not eat chocolate in their presence because you’ll stain them.. Which you don’t want to do. So you have to behave differently in the presence of a white sofa then you do next to this chair”. I told them that when they learn how to build environments (and that environments are constructions) they will have the opportunity to affect “the rules”.
The staff of the Kuvataidekeskus seemed quite pleased with my efforts. They celebrated that the kids finally “Got to do something manly.. Not many of them get to do.. You know.. Boys often live without their dads..” I was told. I took this notion quite seriously. It was at times a picturesque.. A man (with a mustache) and children doing crafts outdoors. An idyllically view. It was like a commercial. I begun to see the entire show as an attempt to reconstruct paternal relations. An unexpected turn.
After the Kuvataidekeskus groups left some festival audience kids came by. A woman called Tuuli Suhonen from the festivals “Notamoleskine” project came by with her three year old boy. The boy was tasked to document the workshop with a camera but as there weren’t any other attendants (as it started raining) the boy was in a mixed role. He took comfort in taking pictures and didn’t really want to work with crafts with a strange man. The only moment I connected with boy was when we chatted about Bob the Builder. He also seemed to like drilling. Tuuli and the boy left pretty quickly.
One boy came after this and we had a good time building a dragon head stick-horse. His mom was a performance artist too and was assisting in someones performance at Wäinö Aaltonen museum. The kid was cool but a tad tired.. He’d had a long day. He said he’d be back tomorrow. So I succeeded in having a “park for kids” (lapsiparkki) which served the festival artists too.
Now I’m waiting to go to the festival opening party in Kutomo.
I’ve spend all of my money. Have to take buns from the hotel with me for food.
Eating breakfast at the hotel. The hotel room would have been big enough to easily accommodate Emmi and the kids so it’s unfortunate that they could not come at all. Talking to Mimosa Pale. She looks as if she is pregnant but I’m not sure if she is. It could just be a performance. It would be a great show if she’d pop her belly with a needle on stage after a week of pretending to be pregnant for other festival artists.
An other artist meeting… Not a lot of artists present.. People seemed nervous. Perhaps it’s just me. All of the people are socially awkward. Watching Doctor Who on the hotel wlan. The wlan is slow and the http://ldezem.muistio.tieke.fi etherpad service is broken. I’m writing using text edit.
Argued with Antti about poverty and artist-life until ~03:30. We where competing which of us has had the poorest childhood. He’s great grandparents where refugees from Karjala.. This has an effect on his thinking. It effects how fortunate he things he is.
We woke up in good spirits made jokes about our argument and he drove me to Bauhaus. I bought some 30m of timber for the workshop. We made a trip to IKEA and ate meatballs – It felt like the bohemian thing to do. “Fuck the Bourgeoisie! We are shewing your fucking IKEA meetballs and loving their bad taste! And you can’t do shit about it cause we bought them legit! Bitch!”
Met with the http://kuvataidekeskus.fi/ staff again and chatted to some kids too. I’m optimistic about the project. One kid asked that could be bring a knife with him. I’ll teach him to make wooden birds. I think I’ll focus on chatting and talking to the kids about performance art.. Instead of attempting to force them into participating in something. Or trying to craft something über clever which would be in whitty realation to fractal economics.
Once I got to go with a project called Low2No to the design fair DMY in Berlin. Our task was to teach people ecological/green skills. Project participants taught DMY visitors how to do partisipatory media programming and how to do urban gardening things in the context of sustainable design etc. I taught people how to sharpen knifes – As I thought that design should be concerned about how things are maintained.. Owning a design knife is vain if one can’t keep it in good shape.
My workshop will begin tomorrow and I’ll be teaching kids how to do crafts. I will be enhancing the capability of kids to care for build environments. Crafts skills emancipate us from serially produced furniture and housing environments. Together we can do better then the machines. Kids will learn how to work together on a project. But peer-to-peer projects and “open workshop” models also weaken the workers identities. They will not become professionals: Generalist vs. Specialists. This is why the children’s efforts on the workshop will be transmuted into child labor. Saturday audiences in the Theatre Space will witness how this happens.. That what kind of economical utopias the Maker movement, P2P movement, patrisipatory design etc. manifest. utopia economic models.
Drinking beers with Antti. We are listening to his music. The meeting with the other New Performance artists and staff in Blue Angel went well. People were funny. During the dinner there where strange silent moments. Everybody paused for two or three minutes simultaneously. I tried to make funny jokes – Tried too much at times. People where whining about how long the service took.. But I think it was because people were so nervous about each others.
Met with the staff of http://kuvataidekeskus.fi/ and chatted about Thursdays program for the children’s workshop. I felt confident for a while. While talking the idea of making Stick-Horses came to mind and the Kuvataidekeskus people liked it. I said my ambition is that the Contemporary Art scene and Kids Culture scene would find common ground trough my project.. She told me that “sometimes kids draw is better art then what contemporary artists do” and I laughed with her – But I understood that we aren’t on the same page.
Came to a Kinopalatsi movie centre in the city to find a place to sit. Antti called and we are meeting at a Restaurant called Blue Angel. The New Performance staff and artists who have already arrived will come there too. I’m a tad nervous about meeting the others. I’m sweaty and underdressed. Antti is meeting me ant Blue Angel before the others arrive.. We’ll take beers.
My fancy tool-carrying device broke and I nearly lost it at the station. Wrote a description for a “Artist Portfolio & Artwork Cataloging Methods” course in hopes of getting some teaching work at the Fine Arts Academy in Helsinki.
Preparing to leave from home to Turku.
Fixed printer. I’m tired and angry. Emmi is doing the dishes manically and Helka has crapped her pants. Emmi want’s to do all of the ‘mandatory’ home chores before I leave. I think it’s passive agressive. I think she’s angry at me.
Printer is not working. This happens in key moments of every production. I should buy two printers. A red one for emergence. It would sit in a glass container and when chaos strikes I’d brake the glass and print.
Thinking about what I should build with the kids on the “Fractal Economy Now – Workshop”. A target for shooting would be nice.. A robot character called “Work-Robot”. The robot could be called ATA like with the 10huonetta performance robot (http://www.storijapan.net/10huonetta/ )
Emmi is in a meeting with her boss I’m stuck with the kids. She’ll start working full-time in the fall and is trying to catch up with work. I’m trying to pack my bags while avoiding Helka. She tries to sit in my lap all the time.
Just learned about the whistle blower (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden ).. I didn’t understand the significance of the leak untill now.
Watching Doctor Who. The night was fun.
I’m afraid of tomorrow.
Send an SMS fro Helena and Topi that they ought to not come as I’m putting Helka to sleep. Cut my hair and beard – Kept the moustache. There is new Doctor Who episode online. I’ll skip packing.
Waiting for Helena and Topi to come and celebrate Helkas birthday.
Drinking wine. Feeling stressed. Must keep notice that I don’t drink too much. Put an other wine to the cooler. Fixed a carriage for transporting tools and performance gear. Called Tehdas-Theatre and got confirmation that I can leave my stuff there for tomorrow night. Have to pack my tools tonight.
We where talking about where to spend the midsummer. Emmi wants to go to her family in Saarijärvi and is convincing Minttu that they should come with us. But I don’t want to go to Saarijärvi.
I’m thinking how stressed and angry I’ve been for the last week and complying to her wishes would be a token of appreciation.
My father called. Barely answered. Talked about his pension. I’m putting the white wine to the cooler. Leaving for Turku tomorrow at 14:02 from Helsinki.
Send an email to Tuuli Suhonen with a link to this etherpad. I’ve already broadcasted about this on twitter.
Got the crossbows from Topis studio. Still got some issues to solve but the basics are ok. I’d say 1 hour each and they are good to go. Now that they are ready I’m having trouble remembering what they where for. Carrying the devices and tools across the city on a bike was a horrible experience.
It’s Helkas birthday. She’s 1 year old today, walking around the flat nude. Leaving to studio.
Emmi has went somewhere. I’m alone at home with the kids.
Uploading videos on youtube. I feel fat but my hands feel strong.
Managed to make 4 functional crossbow/slingshots. Here is proof that they work: “How to: Keep the German Curator Away.” http://youtu.be/nWVZie3Qbrk
Came home to get scissors. Tonight is gonna be an all nighter BUT I finally did manage to build a crossbow capable of shooting a magazine 6 meters! I’ll try to make 4 crossbows today.
~13:00-17:00: PVC – Crossbow for New Performance: Day 2 http://youtu.be/jrOa3AGjVtA
Aleksis dad came to pick him up. He brought a cake as a thank you. I accidently wore my “Free Pussy Riot” t-skirt. The skirt has a pussy symbol in the front.
Before falling asleep I had two ideas.
1. Thinking looks like a forest. Individual thoughts are like trees but only when one defines are region of trees it becomes a forest. Thinking is a process of grouping thoughts.
2. I should come on stage Saturday surrounded by recorded applauds and laughs. Like a talkshow host. Then I should welcome everyone, talk about my week in an easygoing manner and begin the performance after the introduction. The introduction would be over the top parodic and it would also create a sort of alienation effect.
This writing I’m doing here is related to the self-analysis that participants of the “Swapping the Practice” made of their creative practice. “Swapping the P..” was organized by Alkovi Gallery curators Miina Hujala and Arttu Merimaa 2011. https://vimeo.com/43216572
Emmi is feeding Okko, Aleksi and Helka in the kitchen. She’s really tired. The boys woke up at seven. Okko hasn’t slept enough and is crying all the time. The stress of having a friend over the night is taking it’s toll. Emmi is saying: “I’m so tired of you Okko. I hate it when I have to hear you cry like that. I’ve treated you equal with your guest and you show no appreciation for my efforts. I hate it that you do so. Stop it. Stop it.” I think she can hear me at the keyboard and this sound is provoking her even more.
Still thinking about the crossbow system. The technical thinking is resonating into random assosiations. I’m also thinking how to glue glitter to a clampshell etc. The night had a happy ending.
Thinking about the bow structure non-stop. I wonder if that is beneficial for the conceptual structure of the work. Is the bow a metaphor for something? No.. Sometimes a crossbow made for shooting magazines or books is just a crossbow shooting literature and news.
Okko and Aleksi are asleep. I might have figured out what was wrong with my design. I’ll try to fix one of the bows accordingly and if I fail I’ll turn them into slingshots. Got confimation from Antti that I can come to his place on Thuesday in Turku. I’ll stay at his place for a night.
Okko and Aleksi are running around like crazy.
Went skateboarding with Okko and Aleksi. I’m the skateboard star of this hood. Barely standing and can’t even do an ollie. I started skatebording 26 years old as an art project. Other dads look at me enviously because they’d like to provide their boys with street-cred too .
The day was not a complete failure. Middle way I lost faith in the project. I quickly recovered by as it came to mind that I honestly need only one working crossbow. I bended the PVC-Pipes to shape but I guess I have to look at the tutorials again.. The 50mm PVC seems too strong. It does not bend at all. I can’t string it. The quality of the PVC might be different too. After work I tried to reach the hardware store but it closed at 18:00 so I could not find the necessary trigger for the device.
~12:00-18:00: PVC – Crossbow for New Performance: Day 1 http://youtu.be/0tERLYrC4pI
“Live as you preach” I come to think. What’s the point of building a performance project which tries to tackle processes and positions the current economical regime forces us in – If I have to sacrifice my families wellbeing. Is this piece really an attempt to crucify myself. Perhaps the audience should shoot me with “The economist” magazines. Emmi is cleaning the kids room. Fearsome vacuuming.
Packed everything I image I’ll need to build a PCV-Pipe crossbow. I’m going by bike.. It’s not far but I got 30+ kilos of shit to carry. Cases, wood and pipes. I’m stressed about the Turku sceme as I’ll have to transport even more stuff there. Should I take my bike with me?
I try to sleep late but I feel too guilty and am up right after her. Okkos friend Aleksi is coming for a sleepover tonight and Okko is exited.
Emmi tells me me she’s not coming to Turku for the performance.. She’s bored about the idea of being stuck at the hotel with the kids. Jesse&Minttu are not going to Masku and so Emmi is planning to go to her mom’s in Saarijärvi. She’s angry but says she’s not.. She says I’m too stressed.. I complain all the time how tired I am. She’ll be with the kids for the next week and the week after that (when I go to work for the Strata – Project with Pekka in Pinsiö). I invited her to join me in Pinsiö a while back. But now she says they are not coming. I thought that bringing the the family to Pinsiö would be nice but as I have to do heavy labor and she’d be stuck with the kids – It now seems like a dump idea. She wants confirmation that I’d be relaxed and would not work too late. I don’t know what she wants to do for Midsummers day. She’s angry I stay up too late. She feels like she does not have the “right” to sleep late. We are arguing. I’m angry. We sleep in far ends of the bed.
They are standing in the entry hall and leaning on the walls, talking about Saaras shedulles, when she’ll move and where she’ll go. She plans to paint the walls of her new flat. She says bye and hugs Emmi as she leaves.
I wish Saara would go already. I want to go to bed.
The name of this performance should be “Self-Inflicted Burnout”. This has been a rough week. It’s Friday today.. Emmi has been teaching every weekday at Kaapelitehdas. She’s been running a workshop called “Repeat-pause-edit” for teenagers. Because she’s been occupied I’ve taken care of Okko and Helka. Okko is four so he’s easy but Helka.. 1 year old this Tuesday – And keeping be occupied. Today I wanted to do stuff. To think.. To spare energy so that I could go to Topi’s studio after Emmi returns. I wanted to select tools for the kids part of the workshop and to THINK but I failed. Helka tangled in my feet for 8 hours straight.
I was also really tired about the barbecue party. Frankly a tad hangover. I tried to work with art and kept ignoring the kids. Mid-day I begun feeling guilty and went in to a do-gooder type passive aggressive rage. I pushed the kids to the grocery shop.. Bought minced meat and other do-gooder groceries (like various fresh salads), came home and tried to perform like the perfect stay-a-home-dad. Cooked meatballs and spaghetti, made the table and prepared a do-gooder family lunch. Everyone believed the show for the 20min it lasted. After sitting down Okko said that he did’t want to eat the meatballs because they looked “un-tasty” and Helka threw the spaghetti in her lap. I threw a fit.
I spat meatball mash from my mouth shouting: “How dare You! How dare You!! After all the hard work I’ve done. I prepared the food! I made the table. The hell with You! With your puny whining on the food!”. Both kids started crying. I felt like a psychopath. I hit my head and tried to express how sorry I am. “I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean that you are puny Okko.. I was just angry but you do understand why? Do you? You didn’t show any appreciation to the work I’ve done!”. Okko cried. Helka continued playing with the spaghetti.
Now Emmi is sitting in the kitchen with Saara who just broke a long relationship. It’s been two or three days. Saara and Emmi are thinking about how she should organise her new flat. I guess this is a way to deal with the trauma. “The bookshelf forms a perfect plane next to the loft bed”. I don’t feel awkward eavesdropping on them. Saara knows I can hear what they are speaking. She’s has found a new flat and is moving out soon. They are talking about which buss lines travel to the site and that she need a mobile internet connection for work.
At my moms. She’s talking non-stop. Sitting right in front of me. She’s talking about work. I helped her design a flyer for her work at SOL. She’s in charge of “worker safety”. During the 1990 recession she lost her job as a illustrator for Helsinki City… Or rather she lost her freelance commisions. In her time she also made children’s programs for YLE and books. Late 90ties she had to take a job as a cleaning lady in SOL. In time she’s learned to handle the change well. She was too proud. She’s talking about how successful and loved she’s been as the worker safety supervisor.
Talking about anti-wrinkle cream. Smoking non-stop. She beat cancer two years back. There is an election at SOL on who’s going to be the next person in charge of worker safety. She’s hoping that her bosses will fix the election. She’s making illustrations for the company. Postcard and flyers.
It’s raining. I’m stuck in Malminkartano. I’m behind the laptop. She’s asking about the kids and booking a visit for herself for Tuesday for Helkas birthday. Now she’s drawing doodles on an A4 and talking about some asshole at work again.
Emmi borrows my computer for the workshops she’s running.
Watching Doctor Who in the night. Everyone else is asleep.
I wan’t to drink three cold beers. It’s +26C outdoors and my back is hurting. Working madly on the computer. 50% Fractal Economy Now 30%. Pixelversity workshop (I had to re-render the “Copper Scavenging – Helsinki: How to Peel Electric Wires” video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTdrz6C5phg ). 15% Strata project . 4% http://www.heimo.fi/ related mails. 1% Helsinki City Grant-Application. At the same time I’m feeding kinds, changing Helka’s diaper (oh’ boy she pisses a lot) and keeping Okko&Eeli occupied so that they don’t bother Minttu who’s writing a grant application in the other room.
The Fractal Economy Now – Is based on a previous piece I made for “Breathing – POP UP” organised by Antti Manninen 2012. He got an office space from Turku City he could use for a month and as a part of a changin program I organised a day-care for children there.. People could drop their kids and I’d entertain them for the day.. So that the parents could do their work. It was called “P-Lapsiparkki” (Precariat-Children park). Leena Kela visited the site too.. I guess this is how I ended up coming to New Performance.
As there was only one child visiting the “P-Lapsiparkki” I had some free time and wrote about the experience. I wrote on a public online etherpad (like here) and virtual audiences could follow it. The text is found here: https://eero.storijapan.net/logfolio/suomi/performanssitaide/fi-performanssitaltiointi-ala-ole-lapsellinen-2012/ (Finnish). In the text I claimed that working with kids in critical art projects is considered bad taste. This is because children’s culture is politically saturated – It’s tainted with myths concerning “brainwashing”. This is why kids are most often provided with soft normative culture products.
It’s difficult to bring kids to contemporary performance happenings. Because of this artist and audience members who have children are being marginalised. This is a paradox. Historically avant-garde artists are here to broaden our minds. Many todays contemporary artist often say they work to “enhance general understanding on marginal identities”. But for some reason the avant-garde has neglected the offspring – And only presents work for grownups, who have to leave their kids home to attend the events! The working conditions of artists are hostile to families.
In the highlight of the text I wrote: “The success of our revolutions can be evaluated by looking at how efficiently positive changes we initialise can be implemented by Others in the periphery.”. If we manage to construct social changes which have an impact in the life’s of people who occupy spaces outside our imminent social reality (and class) this change is noteworthy. But when we merely meet the ‘needs’ of our peer with revolutionary jabber our efforts go to waste. The needs of people (artists or audience) with children are seldom acknowledged in contemporary culture productions. This is a mistake! The first question of any revolutionist should ask is “Who will take care of the kids while we revolutionise?”
At Jesse & Minttu Sipolas home in Lauttasaari.. We are gonna go for barbecue. All day was spend in a meeting with Pekka Ruuska. We discussed details of the http://www.strataproject.org over with conservers specialising in public art from the Helsinki City Museum and Kiasma. I was able to concentrate and the meeting was good.
Topi called and told me he dropped his studio keys trough our mailbox. I’ll start again with the crossbows tomorrow.
Got an “invitation letter” from New Performance production crew. I read it in the tram on my way to the meeting. I noticed that we’ve schedulled the workshop activitites so that I’ll spend 8 hours a day teaching people how to craft stuff. This is ok. But unfortenately I’ll miss the opportunity to meet other artists and see their work. There are group meetings for artists planned everyday at 17:00 in a restaurant. Too bad. What’s the sense of doing the piece there if I can’t meet other artists. I could just as easily do it in Helsinki streets.
Watching Doctor Who in the night. Everyone else is asleep.
Had to take time off from Fractal economy now to edit this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTdrz6C5phg and to write “METAL SCAVENGING IS ALCHEMY WITH ORE.E REFINERIES” http://www.pixelache.ac/blog/2013/copper-scavaging-waste-expedition-with-ore-e-refineries-26-28-6/ for Pixelversity. I have to confirm the details with Jesse Sipola before we can publish it online.
Payed the 600€ I owned from the wedding to Emmi. Felt good but I was left with less then I would like. Not enough safety marginal for Turku. If I have to buy something un-expected I’ll be in trouble.
Bought new perfect 50mm PVC pipes from ETRA–Megacenter. Their walls are not that think but I’m optimistic.
Fees from Kone Foundation have arrived. Payed rents I owned to Emmi.
Catcing up on the HBO series True Blood. Will go to ETRA–Megacenter in Herttoniemi tomorrow for PVC-pipe. I gotta take 6 meters of it. Hope the money from Kone Foundation has arrived. I’m becoming soft. I don’t want children to know about violence.
Yep. It’s confirmed. The 22mm PVC-Pipe (with 11mm PVC-Pipe inside) is too weak. It’s ok for a “summer bow for children” but too weak to shoot the economist. I’ll have to aquire 50mm PVC. Called Topi. He’ll let me use his studio come weekend for bending pipes.
Bending PVC-Pipe 22mm. Failed to make the bow straight. There is not enough room to work in the balcony. I have to call Topi Äikäs (http://www.topiaikas.com/ ) and ask him can I work at his studio for a night – I could compleat the PVC-Bow bendings in 3 hours if I had enough space around me. Also.. I think I need to by 50mm PVC-Pipe. The 22mm is too weak.
Didn’t sleep well cause I was thinking about how to build the crossbow stock. It has to enable a “barrel” to slide over it. I’ll have to make technical drawings of it before I begin building. I’m having doubts about the entire concept of the artwork. The fractal economy theme feels too naive. Also there is something logically wrong with the symbols. Why will people be shooting each others with “The Economist” magazines using crossbows build unawarely by children? Should the crossbows be shooting Winnie Pooh magazines – As to protect childhood from economic reality? Should the crossbow be shooting Zine magazines and artist publications?
I chatted to Jesse Sipola during the weekend and told him about the project. He remembered that “the crossbow shooting literature” was something we had talked about before. The roots of the project go back six years.
2007 Pasi Saarinen (http://www.taike.fi/fi/web/keski-suomi/pasi-saarinen-nuorten-kulttuuri )was visiting me in Tallinn. He got into a creative debate about books with Thomas Geiger (http://www.twgeiger.de/ ). Thomas works with books as an artistic medium. Pasi and I learned that he does not like hard-cover books and we got outraged! “Only hardcover books are BOOKS. Paperbacks aren’t BOOK at all!”. I was being provocative but Pasi took it serious, I don’t know about Thomas. We where drunk and the debate lasted for hours. In the heat of the debate Pasi shouted: “Yes! But You have Hitler!”.
Thomas laughed.. Pasi turned red. It was a joke but he was serious. I guess there was some sense in his cry. The debate had turned into an argument about “How seriously Finns and Germans take their books”. Finland has been poorer and we’ve historically had less books – But the books we love are hard-covers, which we’ve taken good care of. The German culture with all of it’s literary revelations, innovations and stories treats book badly (by making soft-cover copies of classics). Our argument was that they have less appreciation for individual books. I guess Pasi’s Hitler argument could be translated into: “Hitler burned books – Not even our dictators would burn books, because we love them so dearly.” or something like that. It does not make sense but we where drunk.
Years back in the university I noticed that a large part of our art theory and even concepts, used in evaluating art are based on on German sources. Some of our contemporary art even feels like it’s copied from Germany. To understand Finnish contemporary art one need’s to know about German contemporary art. Many of the books and theories we use to build our thinking are translated from Germany (or English). We are turning mentally into Germans. Which isn’t all that bad..
But I had the experience that art theory was streaming from Berlin, London and New York. These centres stream literature, ideas and art to the periphery. Sending “a message” up-stream feels nearly impossible. The art produced here is in relation to the stream – But it does not affect it. We have to battle, market, and be whitty to get heard – Which takes emphasis away from the message. Germans like our art (and philosophy) when it’s in correspondence with their thinking or exotic and naive. We are not equal. This issue has been noticed in an article called “International Art English” found in Triple Canoply (2012). [Link below].
So.. When talking about this with Jesse.. The idea of building a “Crossbow which shoots books” arose. Shooting a curator from Berlin with a hard-cover copy of Nietzsche’s writing sends the message better then any artist statement. I’d also like to shoot a gallerist from London with a copy of Art&Language-Catalogue. Hardcovers could be lethal! This is where the idea came from.
But anyway.. Logically we should be shooting at a dummy-model of an economist with the “The Economis” rather then each others.
Emmi Vainio is concerned about me using children in manufacturing weapons. I explain that they are not really weapons.. The crossbow only shoots “The Economist” (etc) magazine. And they wont actually know what they are building. What they work on will be assembled during the performance and they’ll not know what it is. I hope the weapon causes symbolic damage, when it hits business people.. But yeah.. She’s right symbolic damage is still damage. They are tools made for hurting peoples ideas on economics. Or to manifest the hurt that fractal economics produce. She says she is not really concerned.
I went shopping and got nearly all of the nessesary equiptment. If I’m lucky I can build the first prototype tomorrow.
Writing down ideas.
Workshop: Make a video of children working. A chant for kids when they work. Create statistics on what the kids are doing. How many screws, how much timber, times, schedulles. I accurate detail.
Stage: Beginning of performance present pie-charts of the “Statistics on kids”.
Process: Document the proces here publicly as text.
Sit in front of people.
– Write on this pad in computer about the performance. Show the URL. Show the “developtment of the text” animation (screen left). Show “rendering video” still photo. Introduce my self.. What happened during workshop. First row five of audience are taken behind the screen and adviced to manufacture ammunition from the phonebook. Run video showing this text being written. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMZhJj4EjDw T he kids chant something about work (Ain laulain työtäs tee?). Video can be up to 10 min. But the beginning is more important. ALT 1 (LOUD MUSIC?) 1. Devide audience into two. Select crossbow construction leaders. 2 crossbows per side. Leaders will organize teams to build the crossbows. 2. Devide audience into four. Each team should build the crossbow from the material I provide. 1 Crossbow per team. ALT 1.1 1. Capture the flag. After the flag is captured winning team is devided into two and new “Capture the flag begins”. Something fun. Winner gets a crossbow for free. Announce – Crossbows cost 35€ you can have one.. Or you can have one for free is you beat someone in armwrestling.
Build guns. Play video from the workshop: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6E71Q3lpMs of kids working with the “mystery machine” pieces during workship. Make someone responsible for teaching others how to use the gun. Shooting practice (For practice)
2. People shoot me with the economist magazines the winner gets a prize.
ALT 2 Steal all of the good ideas from the “Artist as Art” workshop presentation and build a performance using their elements. ALT 3 People who have no children are adviced to leave the theatre. I fix the bow to the crossbow. A shooting demo begins. I’ll shoot the history magazine, the “Art” magazien and some philosophy book. When the ammunition is ready the audience will be guilded to shoot at the MacBook light shape apple logo. (Which will be revealed dramatically. The video still plays on the device. People will go in a row and shoot.. Who’s the first to the apple wins the bow.
People (Not performing in Turku)
Thomas Geiger http://www.twgeiger.de/
Topi Äikäs http://www.topiaikas.com/
Jesse Sipola http://oshipala.com/
Pekka Ruuska http://www.pekkaruuska.com/
Emmi Vainio http://m2hz.net/tekijat/emmi-vainio
Antti Manninen https://twitter.com/anttijuhhani
Arttu Merimaa http://arttu.linnake.net/
Miina Hujala http://miina.linnake.net/
International Art English (IAE) http://canopycanopycanopy.com/16/international_art_english
Art Info’s comment on the IAE article: http://www.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/910746/martha-rosler-others-reply-to-the-international-art-english “The main official rule for standard English art writing is…never offend anyone more powerful than yourself. This rule is followed perfectly in the IAE essay, which ridicules the fictive Balkan art student who aggregates hapless bits of jargon in the hopes of attracting interest from curators.” But, she writes, “It’s such a cheap shot.”
Related the subject of documenting performances with text: http://tillheilmann.info/mediatransatlantic.php
Quote: “…writing was the first medium that allowed human culture to store, transmit and process data. And since its beginnings over 3000 years ago, it has been the basis for every complex form of social organization and technology”.
Swapping The Practices: Helsinki https://vimeo.com/43216572
“A video documentation of a project called Swapping The Practices where artists “swap” their practices with each other during one weekend-workshop. This documentation was filmed in October 2011 in Helsinki.”
Personal related (or referenced) art, videos and writing
Text in Finnish about Contemporary Art and Childrens culture: https://eero.storijapan.net/logfolio/suomi/performanssitaide/fi-performanssitaltiointi-ala-ole-lapsellinen-2012/
Artwork with Guns: 1.Crafted guns as community builders for Hirvitalo. 2. A Gun we designed for IKEA with the xxx_group: https://eero.storijapan.net/logfolio/soon-if-2011/
Customer service robot ATA by 10huonetta for Ateneum – Museum: [Fi] http://www.storijapan.net/10huonetta/